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Lady Tigers rally to stun Huntington

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ freshman guard Lexie Barrier (11) scores over Huntington’s Dominique Gibson. Ironton upset the Highlanders 64-61 Thursday. (Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker



Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ head coach Doug Graham saw the last four years go by in 32 minutes.

In a Cliff Notes synopsis of the careers of Ironton’s senior players, the Lady Tigers rallied to upset the Huntington Lady Highlanders 64-61 on Thursday.

“What else could you ask from this group of girls? It was a great team effort,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“This game was symbolic of the high school careers of the seniors. They started out well, made the Final Four, had a bad period like last season was, but they persevered and performed well and got a win.”

While the game featured four seniors on each team, Ironton freshman Lexie Barrier led all scorers with 22 points and 6 rebounds.

Alicia Murphy had 13 points and 7 rebounds, Ariel Schweickart finished with 12 points and 3 steals, Karlee McMackin had 9 points and 7 rebounds, and Lexie Washington had 8 points and 5 rebounds for the Lady Tigers (17-5).

Kiana Evans scored 16 points to lead Huntington (16-4). Dazha Congleton had 13 points and Aleis Williams scored 11.

The Lady Highlanders controlled the boards 44-33 including 26 offensive rebounds. Eric Budd grtabbed 12 rebounds and Dominique Gibson 11.

“Ariel put together a complete game tonight. All the girls played well. You can’t single anyone out,” said Graham.

“It was a great atmosphere and the student section did a great job. Huntington is a good team. Evans is extremely talented. I look forward to seeing her play at Marshall.”

Barrier was a one-man offensive show in the first quarter with 9 points but a balanced offense enabled Huntington to take a 16-14 lead.

The lead changed hands four times early in the second quarter before Huntington went on a 9-0 run capped by Lexy Johnson’s 3-pointer and it was 33-21 with 4:19 left in the half.

Huntington was up 39-29 at the half but Ironton began to claw its way back into the game.

A trifecta by Schweickart, a 10-footer by McMackin and two foul shots by Murphy at the 3-minute mark got Ironton within 44-39.

Another triple by Schweickart cut the gap to 47-44, but a layup by Budd pushed Huntington’s lead to 51-44 at the end of the quarter.

Ironton continued it comeback and finally got even at 56 when McMackin hit an 8-footer with 2:35 to play.

Johnson made a foul shot but Barrier’s slick layup that resulted in the 3-point play put Ironton up for good at 59-57 with 1:50 to go.

Two free throws by Congleton cut the deficit to 60-59, but the Highlanders fouled Schweickart who made both shots with 27 seconds left.

Congleton made a layup with 15 seconds to go, but Ironton was able to play keep away until Schweickart was fouled with three seconds to play and converted both free throws.

A 3-point attempt by Gibson was off the mark as the buzzer sounder.

The Lady Highlanders were just 3 of 12 from the field in the fourth quarter and 4 of 7 from the line.

Ironton will play Meigs in the Division III sectional tournament at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday at Jackson High School.

Tickets are available in the high school auto shop office until 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Cost is $5 and the school receives only a percentage of the pre-sale.

Huntington 16 23 12 10 = 61

Ironton 14 15 15 20 = 64

HUNTINGTON (16-4): Alexis Williams 3 1 2-2 11, Dazha Congleton 4 1 2-4 13, Erica Budd 4 0 0-2 8, Kiana Evans 2 1 9-11 16, Dominique Gibson 3 0 2-5 8, Lexy Johnson 0 1 1-2 4, Cianna Crawford 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-60 16-27 61. 3-point goals: 4-16. Rebounds: 26 offense, 18 defense = 44 (Budd 12, Gibson 11). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 5. Steals: 3. Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (17-5): Lexie Barrier 7 2 2-5 22, Ariel Schweickart 1 2 4-6 12, Karlee McMackin 3 0 3-4 9, Alicia Murphy 2 1 6-8 13, Alana Martin 0 0 0-0 0, Jordan Hannan 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-54 15-23 64. 3-point goals: 5-12. Rebounds: 16 offense, 17 defense = 33 (McMackin 7, Murphy 7, Barrier 6, Washington 5). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 5 (Murphy 2, McMackin 2). Steals: 4 (Schweickart 3). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.