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Stone’s shooting ignites sluggish Lady Dragons to D-III sectional title

Fairland Lady Dragons’ senior point guard Taylor Staten (4) brings the ball up the court against Minford in Sunday’s Division III sectional tournament game. Fairland won 51-39. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Fairland Lady Dragons’ senior point guard Taylor Staten (4) brings the ball up the court against Minford in Sunday’s Division III sectional tournament game. Fairland won 51-39. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

PEDRO — Sometimes you need some lighter fluid to help start the barbeque. Caitlin Stone proved to be the Fairland Lady Dragons’ lighter fluid.

Stone ignited the offense at the start of each half as the Lady Dragons beat the stubborn Minford Lady Falcons 51-39 on Sunday to win their fourth straight Division III sectional tournament.

“This is one of my better games. I wasn’t doing very good for awhile, but I felt we needed shots tonight so I’m glad I started making them,” said Stone.

“It was important to play well because if we lose, we’re done. We played sluggish for awhile, but it doesn’t matter as long as we win.”

Stone had 21 points and Kelsey Riley 15 to lead Fairland (18-5).

Minford (11-12) was led by Erin Daniels with 12 points and Emma Shepherd had 9 points.

Stone had two 3-pointers and scored 8 points as Fairland blanked Minford in the first quarter 11-0.

But Stone and Mackenzie Riley both went to the bench during the second quarter with two fouls each and Minford took advantage to get within 19-15 on a 3-pointer by Ali Hammond with 1:09 left in the half.

But two foul shots by Kelsey Riley and a 15-foot bank shot by Maddy Kazee just before the buzzer put Fairland ahead 24-17 at the half.

Erin Daniels scored to get Minford within 24-19 to begin the second half, but Stone hit back-to-back 3-pointers and it was 30-19.

After a layup by Emily Chapman gave the Lady Dragons a 10-point, Abby Grasso hit a layup and Minford was down 39-31 at the end of the quarter.

Mary Pica’s layup to start the fourth quarter cut the spread to 39-33, but a free throw and layup by Riley opened up a 45-35 lead with 3:29 left.

Pica’s steal and layup made it 45-39, but Taylor Staten made two straight layups and Chapman a layup over the final minute as Fairland pulled away to the win.

Fairland coach Jon Buchanan said the team showed the effects of a 10-day layup since their last game, but he was happy with the end results.

“It doesn’t matter how you play as long as you win,” said Buchanan whose team went to the Final Four last season.

“We were sluggish at times and showed the effects of the layoff, but we made the plays when we needed and Caitlyn gave us a boost with her shooting and we won and that’s all that matters in the tournament.”

Fairland will play Piketon at noon on Saturday in the Waverly Downtown Arena in the district tournament.

Minford 0 17 14 8 = 39

Fairland 11 13 15 12 = 51

MINFORD (11-12): Erin Daniels 5 0 2-2 12, Ali Hammond 0 1 0-0 3, Emma Shepherd 2 0 55 9, Mary Pica 2 0 0-0 4, Abby Grasso 1 1 0-1 5, Kyleigh Phillips 3 0 0-0 6, Marissa Risner 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-39 7-8 39. 3-point goals: 2-10. Rebounds: 9-off. 18-def. = 27 (Phillips 7, Daniels 5). Assists: 3 (three with 1). Steals: 7 (Shepherd 2). Turnovers: 21. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Grasso (4th 5:05).

FAIRLAND (18-5): Taylor Staten 2 0 0-0 4, Mackenzie Riley 0 0 2-6 2, Kelsey Riley 5 0 5-6 15, Caitlin Stone 3 5 0-0 21, Jenna Fulks 1 0 0-2 2, Maddy Kazee 1 0 0-0 2, Emily Chapman 2 0 0-0 4, Alysha Simpson 0 0 1-2 1. Totals: 19-39 8-16 51. 3-point goals: 5-15. Rebounds: 9-off. 14-def. = 23 (Chapman 5, M. Riley 4, K. Riley 4). Assists: 7 (Chapman 3). Steals: 13 (Stone 4, M. Riley 2, Chapman 2, Fulks 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.