Lady Fighting Tigers grind out 37-34 win
The schedule said it was the final regular season game, but the game said it was something even bigger.
The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers stepped into the future early as they rallied to beat the Boyd County Lady Lions 37-34 on senior night Thursday.
Ironton struggled with its shooting in the physical, defensive battle and trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before rallying to win.
“I told the girls that was a tournament-type game where you grind it out and every possession is magnified by ten and offensive rebounds that you give and you get are magnified by ten,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.
“It was a grind it out game against a quality team. They score 70, 80 points on a given night. We only scored 37, but my key thing is holding teams. Put pressure on them so that every time they get the ball that the possession is that much more important.”
Boyd County (16-10) was averaging 60 points a game and had scored less than 50 points only twice all season.
But the Lady Fighting Tigers’ defense limited the Lady Lions to 14-of-41 shooting for 34 percent and 5-of-17 from behind the 3-point line.
“Points are very sparse to come by, and when you make it that way defensively, the pressure gets on them,” said Graham.
Ironton (17-5) had its own shooting woes. The Lady Tigers were 7-of-37 from the field over three quarters for 19 percent and a mere 1-of-14 from the arc for the game.
However, they shot 6-of-7 in the fourth quarter.
Ironton took its biggest lead at 7-2 on a layup by Jordan Hannan but Boyd County got within 10-9 at the end of the quarter.
Two free throws by Barrier and a steal and layup by Lexi Wise put Ironton up 14-9, but Boyd County got back-to-back triples by Logan Fraley and a layup by Wheeler and the Lady Lions led 21-17 at the break.
Two foul shots by Hannan got Ironton within 23-22. The Lady Lions then went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter and it was 29-22.
A 3-poiner by Fraley to begin the fourth quarter gave Boyd County its largest lead at 32-22.
But Barrier found her shot and hit back-to-back baskets. Wise got a steal and layup and Ironton trailed 32-28 with 5:04 to play.
A layup by Savannah Wheeler pushed the Lady Lions’ lead to 34-28, but D’Layne Keith made a layup and Barrier drained a 3-ball with 2:03 left.
Cheyenne Scott had a steal and Wise found Barrier for a reverse layup with 1:08 to play and Ironton led 35-34.
Boyd County missed a 3-point attempt and was forced to foul. Barrier hit the front end of a one-and-one with 18 seconds to play and another Lions’ turnover led to a foul shot by Scott with six seconds to go.
Fraley’s long 3-point attempt missed and Ironton had the win.
“Barrier made a big 3, but there were so many things going on defensively on the perimeter. Cheyenne, Jordan (Hannan), Lexi Wise, Taylor Hannan guarding their dribble weave. They slowed it down with about four minutes to go so we had to come out and trap a little bit,” said Graham.
“Fortunately, we made enough shots and put enough pressure on them defensively to make it work.”
Barrier had 15 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists for Ironton. Scott added 11 points and six rebounds. Wise also had six rebounds.
Fraley had 17 points to lead Boyd County.
“It was emotional because it’s a good group of girls and we’ve been together since we were little, little, especially with my sister playing — it’s hard leaving her,” said Taylor Hannan.
“But it was a big win and it gets us ready for tournament. That was a tournament-like game and they’re a really good team, but we pulled through.”
Graham had nothing but praise for his lone senior.
“Taylor Hannan is a great kid to have around, number one. She’s respectful, comes to practice every day, great kid in the hallway, great kid in the classroom. I’m going to miss here when she leaves. She was here for four years and not too many girls put up with me for four years,” said Graham.
Ironton now plays Lucasville Valley at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Div. III sectional tournament at Rock Hill.
Boyd County 9 12 8 5 = 34
Ironton 10 7 5 15 = 37
BOYD COUNTY (16-10): Hunter Reeves 0 1 00 3, Savannah Wheeler 2 0 0-0 4, Logan Fraley 2 4 1-2 14, Alexis Lunsford 3 0 0-0 6, Destin Goins 1 0 0-2 2, Houston Reeves 0 0 0-0 0, Payton Shears 1 0 0-2 2. Totals: 14-41 1-6 34. 3-point goals: 5-17. Rebounds: 11-off. 20-def. = 31 (Hu. Reeves 8). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 3 (Hu. Reeves 2). Steals: 4. Turnovers: 11. Blocked shots: 2 (Fraley 2). Fouls: 15. Fouled out: Goins (4th 0:25).
IRONTON (17-5): Lexi Wise 2 0 0-0 4, Taylor Hannan 0 0 2-2 2, Lexie Barrier 4 1 4-7 15, Sydney Webb 0 0 0-0 0, Cheyenne Scott 4 0 3-4 11, Jordan Hannan 1 0 1-2 3, D’Layne Keith 1 0 0-0 2, Zakia Lee 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-44 10-15 37. 3-point goals: 1-14. Rebounds: 13-off. 17-def. = 30 (Wise 6, Scott 6, T. Hannan 5, Barrier 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 5 (Wise 2, Barrier 2, T. Hannan 1). Steals: 6 (Wise 3, Barrier 2, Scott 1). Turnovers: 9. Blocked shots: 4 (Barrier 2, Wise 1, J. Hannan 1). Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.