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No. 3 Lady Oaks escape Lady Tigers

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Alyssa Lewis is fouled from behind during Saturday’s game against Oak Hill. Ironton just missed a major upset before losing 42-40. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Alyssa Lewis is fouled from behind during Saturday’s game against Oak Hill. Ironton just missed a major upset before losing 42-40. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker



Not even the great writer Ernest Hemmingway could have penned a fish story like this one.

The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers won’t be lying when they talk about the one that got away after losing 42-40 on a last-second shot to the No. 3-ranked Oak Hill Lady Oaks on Saturday.

Ironton (9-12) had a six-point lead with 2:34 left after a 15-footer by Alyssa Lewis and a layup by Cheyenne Scott off a pass from Lewis to make it 39-33.

But the Lady Tigers were just 1-of-4 from the foul line over the final 1:20 — all three were one-and-one situations — which allowed the Lady Oaks to rally for the win.

“We were down in the first half and we battled back. We were up by six in the second half and we let some opportunities slip through our fingers. Hopefully, we can learn from that and get better,” said Graham.

Leanna Adkins — who scored 24 points including 17 in the first half — hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds to play that got Oak Hill within 39-38.

Lexie Barrier make the front end of a one-and-one with 32 seconds to play and Ironton lead 40-38.

Mckaile Cade made a layup with 19 seconds left as Oak Hill tied the game. She was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but Abby Haislop got the rebound and threw to Layne Roseberry who missed the shot.

Ironton’s Macy Wise grabbed the rebound but was tied up for a jump ball. The possession arrow favored the Lady Oaks and they had the ball with 12 seconds left.

Adkins got the ball on the inbounds and ran some clock, then drove right and was cut off. She bounced the ball toward the baseline where Macy Melvin caught pass and put up an 8-foot baseline shot that went in with only fractions of a second left.

Graham was disappointed in the loss, but he praised his players for their efforts against the heavily-favored Lady Oaks (17-1).

“Oak Hill is one of the premier programs in Southern Ohio. Ironton girls and Oak Hill girls is a rivalry. Our girls are always up to play for them no matter if they’re 17-1 or 1-17. It doesn’t matter. Oak Hill is going to come and battle and play hard just like we are, so it’s always a good game to play,” said Graham.

The lead changed hands four times in the first quarter with Ironton taking a 12-11 lead on a triple by Lewis.

Adkins scored 11 points in the second quarter including a 3-pointer with 1:48 left in the half that gave Oak Hill a 22-17 lead.

But Lewis hit another trifecta at the 1:24 mark and Ironton trailed 22-20 at the break.

A layup by Barrier got Ironton within 29-28 and she hit a free throw with two seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game.

Scott made a layup and then stole the ball and fed Barrier for a layup and Ironton took a 33-29 lead. Barrier then had a steal and layup to give Ironton its biggest lead wt 35-29 with 5:44 left.

Layups by Adkins and Melvin cut the deficit to 35-33 with 4:15 left, but Lewis made a 15-footer and then hit Scott for a layup with 2:34 left and it was 39-33.

A layup by Merrill Melvin left the Lady Oaks down 39-35 and set the stage for the thrilling finish.

Barrier had a strong all-around game with 14 points, five rebounds and five steals. Lewis scored 11 points and Scott had 10 points. Wise pulled down six rebounds.

Ironton was without inside player Karlie Rase, but Graham said the other players stepped up their game.

“Our rotation was a little bit off. This second half of the season Alyssa Lewis has been playing real well. Cheyenne has been looking for her game. That’s encouraging to see offense from those two girls,” said Graham.

Adkins was the only Oak Hill player in double figures. Haislop and Macy Melvin had six rebounds each.

Oak Hill 11 11 7 13 = 42

Ironton 12 8 9 11 = 40

OAK HILL (17-1): Layne Roseberry 1 0 0-0 2, Merrill Melvin 2 0 1-2 5, Abby Haislop 1 1 0-2 5, Leanna Adkins 3 4 6-6 24, Macy Melvin 2 0 0-0 4, Mckaile Cade 1 0 0-1 2. Totals: 15-37 7-11 42. 3-point goals: 5-13. Rebounds: 8-OR, 16-DR = 24 (Ma. Melvin 6, Haislop 6, Adkins 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 8 (Adkins 3, Haislop 2). Steals: 4 (Me. Melvin 2). Turnovers: 18. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Me. Melvin (4th 1:34).

IRONTON (9-12): Jordan Hannan 2 0 0-0 4, Taylor Hannan 0 0 1-2 1, Lexie Barrier 6 0 2-7 14, Macy Wise 0 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Scott 5 0 0-3 10, Alyssa Lewis 2 2 1-2 11, Saige Fields 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-38 4-14 40. 3-point goals: 2-9. Rebounds: 7-OR, 16-DR = 23 (Wise 6, Barrier 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 8 (Scott 3, T. Hannan 2). Steals: 14 (Barrier 6, Scott 4, T. Hannan 2). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.