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Defense sparks Lady Tigers’ win

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Lexi Wise (5) makes a layup during a 63-29 rout of the Lucasville Valley Lady Indians on Sunday in the Division III sectional finals. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Lexi Wise (5) makes a layup during a 63-29 rout of the Lucasville Valley Lady Indians on Sunday in the Division III sectional finals. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

PEDRO — When trying to advance in tournament play, the key facet of a team’s chances is defense.

So it was no secret why the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers advanced Sunday with a 63-29 rout of the Lucasville Valley Lady Indians in the Division III sectional finals.

Ironton (18-5) forced 21 turnovers and held Valley to single digit scoring in three quarters to trigger the win.

“That’s the name of the game: defense. In tournament time, if you can’t stop people you’re not going to advance,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

“Tonight’s plan was fullcourt defense and we had tremendous effort coming off a 10-day break, so the effort defensively was there. I was really pleased with it.”

Ironton limited Valley to just 42 shots — 21 in each half. Ironton put up 78 attempts but missed dozens of layup opportunities.

“It’s something we’ll work on this week. I told the girls to take an extra half-second and focus in and hit it on the backboard and just get it over the rim. Don’t worry about getting the shot blocked, just get the two,” said Graham.

Lexie Barrier had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead a balanced attack. Sydney Webb had 13 points and six rebounds and Lexi Wise had 11 points and 11 rebounds plus six steals.

Cheyenne Scott had nine rebounds, Zakia Lee eight and Kenzie Ashley six as Ironton racked up 62 rebounds including 32 offensive boards.

Duduit scored 11 points and Kamryn Conaway had 8 points and six rebounds for Valley (12-11).

Ironton was just 5-of-25 in the first quarter but still took a 13-7 lead. Webb had 6 points and Barrier 5 as the lead grew to 27-13 at the break.

Ironton scored 13 unanswered points to begin the second half. Taylor Hannan drained a 3-ball, Wise scored three straight baskets, and Hannan and Barrier hit layups for a 40-13 lead.

“There were really no adjustments from halftime. We just wanted to keep up the pressure and intensity,” said Graham.

Valley finally scored on two foul shots by Megan Duduit with 5:11 on the clock. The Lady Indians didn’t make a field goal until Madison Osborne’s layup just before the buzzer.

But the lead was 48-17 and Ironton went on a 9-4 run to begin the fourth quarter and it was 57-21 with 4:443 left.

Graham said the team continued to play hard despite the big lead thanks in part to the crowd.

“We had a really good crowd for a Sunday night in these weather conditions. Our kids really appreciated that,” said Graham.

Ironton won its 18th sectional title and 11th in the past 12 years. The Lady Tigers will play Eastern Brown at 8 p.m. Monday, March 2, at 8 pm. in the Waverly Downtown Arena.

Tickets are available at the high school auto shop during school hours at $6.

Lucasville 7 6 4 1 = 29

Ironton 14 14 21 15 = 63

LUCASVILLE VALLEY (12-11): Megan Duduit 1 1 6-8 11, Maddie Wright 1 0 0-0 2, Madison Osborne 1 0 0-0 2, Lexie Doddridge 1 0 0-0 2, Kamryn Conaway 3 0 2-5 8, Summer Blair 1 0 0-0 2, Kacie Hickerson 1 0 0-0 2, Madi Ellis 0 0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Jenkins 0 0 0-0 0, Kaylynn Cline 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-42 8-13 29. 3-point goals: 1-12. Rebounds: 5-off. 23-def. = 28 (Conaway 6). Team rebounds: 7. Assists: 1 (Doddridge). Steals: 5 (Duduit 2). Turnovers: 22. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (18-5): Lexi Wise 5 0 1-5 11, Taylor Hannan 1 1 0-0 5, Lexie Barrier 5 2 2-3 18, Sydney Webb 4 1 2-4 13, Cheyenne Scott 2 0 0-0 4, Jordan Hannan 1 0 0-0 2, D’Laynie Keith 1 0 0-2 2, Zakia Lee 1 0 0-1 2, Kenzie Ashley 2 0 2-2 6. Totals: 26-78 7-17 63. 3-point goals: 4-12. Rebounds: 32-off. 30-def. = 62 (Barrier 13, Wise 11, Scott 9, Lee 8, Ashley 6). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 9 (Scott 2, J. Hannan 2, Barrier 2). Steals: 17 (Wise 6, Barrier 3, Scott 3). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.