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Lady Dragons’ defense key to sectional title

Fairland Lady Dragons’ Kelsey Riley (22) goes up strong inside as she tries to score against the Chesapeake Lady Panthers. Riley had 11 rebounds in a 47-26 sectional tournament win. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

JACKSON — When you lose your big cannon, switch to a bunch of six-shooters.

Things didn’t start well for the Fairland. Terra Stapleton — the 6-4 junior center who leads the team in scoring and rebounding — went to the bench at the 4:36 mark of the first quarter with two fouls.

But instead of pushing the panic button, the Lady Dragons stepped up their pressure both in a full-court mode and in a half-court setting.

The combination of pressure and scoring by the other Lady Dragons resulted in a 47-26 win over the Chesapeake Lady Panthers Saturday and the Division III sectional tournament title.

“Holding a team to 26 points shows we guarded well,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan. “Last week they out-rebounded us, so we made that a point of emphasis. We wanted to limit them to one shot.”

Caitlin Stone had the top gun offensively for Fairland with 17 points including three 3-point goals. Chandler Fulks scored 12 points and Kelsey Riley grabbed 11 rebounds.

“People look at Caitlin as our fifth starter and we don’t think of her that way. Defensively you see what she brings every night and she usually doesn’t score. Today she had both of them going,” said Buchanan.

Chesapeake (12-11) shot just 9 of 45 from the field and was guilty of 16 turnovers. Lady Panthers’ coach Chris Ball said Fairland’s rebounding played a key role.

“They killed us on the boards, and anytime you play a good team you have to keep them off the boards,” said Ball.

“Stone stepped up for them. We knew what was coming. We handled it last week. But in the half-court game we just shut down.”

Fairland (21-0) led just 10-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Chesapeake had just four turnovers in the second quarter but the Lady Panthers managed just six field goal attempts and failed to connect. Their only points came on 3 of 8 shooting from the foul line.

The Lady Dragons got a boost offensively from Stone who knocked down a pair of 3-point goals. The first came in a 9-0 run to begin the second quarter that made it 17-6.

Stone then stole the ball and fed Chandler Fulks for a layup and it was 19-8 with 6:09 on the clock. Fairland outscored Chesapeake 7-3 the rest of the half to lead 26-11.

Stapleton picked up her third foul less than two minutes into the second half and Chesapeake cut the gap to 31-18.

A basket by Jackie Nelson with 7:27 to play sliced the deficit to just 32-22.

But Stone converted a 3-point play and made two foul shots as Fairland went on a 10-0 run. Kayla Swiger’s layup with 5:05 left made it 42-22 and sealed the outcome.

Fairland plays Northwest at noon next Saturday in the district semifinals at Waverly’s downtown arena.

The game also marked the final appearance for seniors Anna Mayo, Kierra Kerns, Saundra White and Nelson.

“Thos girls will definitely be missed. We lost six seniors last year and we were in a transition year and they did a great job for us,” said Ball.

Chesapeake 8 3 7 8 = 26

Fairland 10 16 5 16 = 47

CHESAPEAKE (12-11): Atiya Spaulding 0 0 1-2 1, Kaylee Curry 4 0 1-6 9, Jackie Nelson 1 0 0-0 2, Anna Mayo 0 0 0-0 0, Sydnee Hall 2 0 2-2 6, Jordan Porter 1 0 4-8 6, Kelsey Curry 0 0 0-0 0, Taylor Martin 1 0 0-0 2, Kierra Kerns 0 0 0-0 0, Kara Bennett 0 0 0-0 0. Totals:9-4 8-18 26. 3-point goals: 0-7. Rebounds: 17 offense, 17 defense = 34 (Ka. Curry 8, Spaulding 6, Nelson 6). Tem rebounds: 4. Assists: 2. Steals: 8 (Ka. Curry 2, Mayo 2). Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Hall (4th 1:47).

FAIRLAND (21-0): Terra Stapelton 1 0 1-3 3, Chandler Fulks 5 0 2-2 12, Kelsey Riley 2 0 0-0 4, Caitlin Stone 1 3 6-9 17, Taylor Perry 1 0 0-1 2, Kayla Swiger 1 0 1-2 3, Mackenzie Riley 2 0 1-2 5, Jenna Fulks 0 0 0-0 0, Briana Dickess 0 0 0-2 0, Mollie Morris 0 0 1-2 1, Mariah Chaffin 0 0 0-0 0, Haley Woodall 0 0 0-0 0, Pieper Lewis 0 0 0-0 0, Taylor Staten 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-50 12-23 47. 3-point goals: 3-12. Rebounds: 24 offense, 22 defense = 46 (K. Riley 11, M. Riley 7, Stapleton 6). Assists: 3. Steals: 7 (Stone 3, M. Riley 2). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.