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Lady Dragons use defense to reach district title game

WAVERLY — The bad news for the Fairland Lady Dragons is they didn’t play a great game.
The good news is they still won handily.

Despite some struggles on offense, the Lady Dragons used a smothering defense to beat the Piketon Lady Red Streaks 53-33 on Saturday in the Division III district semifinals.

“I feel good to win a district game by 20 and really not play well. That tells me we still have something left in the tank,” said Fairland coach Jon Buchanan.

Fairland (19-5) shot a respectable 22-of-53 from the floor but was guilty of 17 turnovers.

However, the defense limited Piketon to 10-of-43 shooting — just 3-of-16 from behind the arc — and forced the Lady Red Streaks into 23 turnovers.
“Offensively we’re better than that. We turned the ball over too much,” said Buchanan. “I thought we defended great. We were worried about their offensive rebound but we did a good job with that.”

Fairland will play Alexander at 6:15 p.m. Friday in the district finals at the Waverly Downtown Arena.

Caitlin Stone scored 16 points including four 3-pointers to lead the Fairland offense. Kelsey Riley got 14 points and Mackenzie Riley added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Ashlee Lawhorn had 12 points and Kara Blanton grabbed 16 rebounds for Piketon (14-10).

The Lady Dragons took a 15-9 first quarter lead as Piketon had seven turnovers. However, Buchanan said his team got caught up in the fast-pace on offense and had six miscues themselves.

Piketon led 6-5 at the 3:04 mark on a foul shot by Faith Pack and tied the game 7-7 on a free throw by Blanton.

But Stone lit up the nets with three trifectas including two straight to end the quarter.

“We turned them over and then we wanted to play fast on offense and we told them to slow it down. We have a tendency to do that at times,” said Buchanan.
Early foul trouble forced Fairland to back off with its press, but Kelsey Riley scored 8 points and Stone hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer as Fairland went up 36-21 at the half.
The scoring slowed considerably in the second half as Fairland outscored Piketon 17-12.

“When we did get in foul trouble, our bench did a great job. Alesha Simpson had her best game and Emily Chapman did a good job on defense and running the offense,” said Buchanan.

Piketon 9 12 8 4 = 33
Fairland 15 21 8 9 = 53

PIKETON (14-10): Ashlee Lawhorn 1 2 4-5 12, Kara Blanton 3 0 1-2 7, Avery Reuter 0 0 3-4 3, Faith Pack 1 0 1-2 5, Whitlee Crabtree 2 1 1-4 8, Kalesie Henderson 0 0 0-0 0, Gracie Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Courtright 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-43 10-16 33. 3-point goals: 3-16. Rebound: 12-off. 19-def. = 31 (Blanton 16). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 2. Steals: 7 (Pack 2, Henderson 2). Turnovers: 23. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: Pack (4th 4:04).

FAIRLAND (19-5): Taylor Staten 0 0 0-0 0, Mackenzie Riley 4 0 3-4 11, Kelsey Riley 6 0 2-5 14, Caitlin Stone 2 4 0-0 16, Jenna Fulks 3 0 0-1 6, Emily Chapman 1 0 0-0 2, Maddy Kazee 0 0 0-0 0, Alesha Simpson 2 0 0-0 4, Sarah Warnock 0 0 0-1 0, Whitney Huff 0 0 0-0 0, Donyele Edwards 0 0 0-0 0, Nicole Wagner 0 0 0-0 0, Morgan Fridley 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-53 5-11 53. 3-point goals: 4-17. Rebounds: 12-off. 27-def. = 39 (M. Riley 7, Simpson 6, Fulks 4). Team rebounds: 13. Assists: 8 (Staten 2, Chapman 2). Steals: 5 (five with one each). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.