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Cold-shooting Lady Dragons fall to Oaks in regionals

Fairland Lady Dragons Kelsey Riley (22) battles Oak Hill’s Lakin Caudill (40) for the rebound. Fairland lost 50-33 to Oak Hill in the regional semifinals. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

ATHENS — Clang, clang.

Instead of the “swish” sound of the net, the sound of a missed shot kept echoing throughout the Ohio University Convocation Center for the Fairland Lady Dragons.

Suffering their worst shooting performance of the season, the Lady Dragons’ offensive struggles proved to be the decisive factor in their 50-33 loss to the Oak Hill Lady Oaks on Wednesday in the Division III regional semifinals.

Fairland — losing for the first time after 23 wins — could only connect on 15 of 48 floor shots for a cold 31.3 percent. The Lady Dragons were as bad at the foul line as they made only 2 of 7 attempts.

“One thing we talked about coming in was that we didn’t want to come in here and beat ourselves,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan. “Look at the first half and how many easy shots we missed in the paint.”

The poor shooting was the most evident by a scoring 9:53 scoring draught. Terra Stapleton made a layup with 28 seconds left in the half to get Fairland within 26-20, but the Lady Dragons didn’t score again until Stapleton’s layup with 6:35 to play.

By that time Oak Hill had built its biggest lead of the game at 42-20 with 6:47 remaining. The turning point came when the Lady Dragons missed all six field goal attempts and had four turnovers as they were outscored 12-0 in the third quarter.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well and, obviously, Oak Hill played great,” said Buchanan. “They were quicker to the ball. We didn’t play as well as we can. They out-rebounded us and that shouldn’t happen.”

Oak Hill had a 37-32 rebound advantage as Taylor Hale grabbed 13 and Leanna Adkins nine.

Breanna Butler and Lakin Caudill did the bulk of the offensive damage for the Lady Oaks (22-3). Butler had 21 points while Caudill scored 14 including 6 of 6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

Stapleton was the only Lady Dragon in double figures with 13 points to go with nine rebounds and four blocked shots.

Katie Fuller and Chandler Fulks scored to start the game and give Fairland its only lead at 4-0. The Lady Oaks then went on an 11-4 run the rest of the quarter and it was 11-8.

The lead was between 6 and 8 points in the second quarter before Stapleton’s shot before the end of the half.

Paige Roseberry had a layup off a pass from Caudill to start the second half, Butler scored 8 straight points and Roseberry’s short jumper in the lane closed the third quarter and it was 38-20.

“We had a couple of turnovers against their press that were silly stuff. I didn’t feel like we were in a whole lot of traps or anything, we just weren’t strong with the basketball,” said Buchanan.

After Butler’s layup gave Oak Hill its biggest lead at 42-20, Stapleton scored inside twice and Fuller turned a steal into a runout layup and it was 42-26 with 5:38 to play.

But the Lady Oaks went 6 of 6 over the final 1:52 to seal the win.

“Offensively (Oak Hill) is a tough matchup for us. We’re trying to keep Terra in the paint and they’re passing it around. In that situation we have to bring Terra out (from the basket),” said Buchanan.

Despite the loss, Buchanan said his team had an outstanding season and gained some valuable experience. It was the Lady Dragons’ first unbeaten regular season and only their second trip to the regionals.

“There’s crying in the locker room, but I’d rather have it at the Convo and not in some high school locker room. Hopefully our kids will improve,” said Buchanan.

Oak Hill plays Columbus Africentric in regional championship game is 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center. Africentric beat Fort Frye 66-54.

Fairland 8 12 0 13 = 33

Oak Hill 11 15 12 12 = 50

FAIRLAND (23-1): Terra Stapleton 6 0 1-4 13, Katie Fuller 3 0 1-3 7, Jaimie Phillips 0 0 0-0 0, Chandler Fulks 1 1 0-0 5, Kelsey Riley 2 0 0-0 4, Kayla Swiger 0 0 0-0 0, Brianna Dickess 0 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Riley 0 0 0-0 0, Lauren Poe 1 0 0-0 2, Haley Woodall 0 0 0-0 0, Kerie Napier 1 0 0-0 2, Alexis Wright 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-48 2-7 33. 3-point goals: 1-13. Rebounds: 15-17=32 (Stapleton 9, Philips 4, K. Riley 4). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 6 (K. Riley 3, Fulks 2). Steals: 4 (Fuller 3). Turnovers: 13. Blocked shots: 5 (Stapleton 4). Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.

OAK HILL (22-3): Taylor Hale 2 1 0-1 7, Breanna Butler 7 0 7-9 21, Paige Roseberry 2 0 0-2 4, Leanna Adkins 1 0 0-0 2, Lakin Caudill 4 0 6-6 14, Abby Haislop 1 0 0-0 2, Alex Kuhn 0 0 0-0 0, Macy Melvin 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-49 13-18 50. 3-point goals: 1-14. Rebounds: 16-21=37 (Hale 13, Adkins 9, Caudill 5). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 7 (Caudill 5). Steals: 7 (Butler 4). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.