Lady Tigers expect tough game in rematch with Spartans
There’s some good news and some bad news for the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers.
The good news is Ironton is playing in the Division III regional semifinals at Logan High School on Wednesday, the same location as last year’s regionals.
“It definitely helps us to have played there,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham. “The majority of my team played on that court and played in that atmosphere.”
The Lady Tigers are also playing the Albany Alexander Lady Spartans, a team they beat a month ago 67-33.
Now for the bad news.
The Lady Spartans are coached by two-year head coach Cory McKnight who was an assistant at Ironton prior to being hired by Alexander.
Graham said McKnight knows his players well and — after playing them – he knows what to expect from the Lady Tigers.
“It will be a completely different ball game. If my girls think they’re just going to walk onto that floor and win, they’ve got another thing coming. We’ve got to get mentally focused. Cory will have them ready. They’ll game plan and scheme to stop what we did the last time,” said Graham.
Ironton (25-0) and Alexander (16-8) will meet at 6:15 p.m. in the first game. The Associated Press No. 2-ranked Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs (24-1) face the West Lafayette Ridgewood Lady Generals (19-7) in the 8 p.m. game.
Ridgewood beat No. 3-ranked Sugarcreek Garaway 57-41 in the district finals while Lynchburg beat Fairland 48-33.
Winners will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Logan in the regional finals with a berth in the state tournament at stake.
Ironton beat North Adams 49-36 to win the district title on Saturday while Alexander rallied from 11 points down to beat Wheelersburg 39-36 in overtime.
Alexander (16-8) is led by sisters Leah and Rachel Richardson.
Leah is a 5-foot-9 junior who averages 18.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game and is the program’s all-time leading scorer.
Rachel is a 5-6 freshman who is second on the team with a 15.5 scoring average, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
Also among the starters are 5-11 junior Jala Mace, 5-6 junior Nicole Hudnall and 5-11 Kendall Meeks, the team’s lone senior.
“Alexander is a good basketball team,” said Graham. “We got an easy win the first time in terms of points, but we played really well. It was one of those games where everything just fell together.
“They have some really good players and Cory does a great job. When you get to this level every team is good and you’d better bring you’re A game.”
Graham is looking forward to going against McKnight but it doesn’t change the fact winning supersedes their friendship.
“We’re playing against a good friend of mine. We’ve been through a lot together, ups and downs, wins and losses, and all kinds of good stuff. It’ll be exciting. I’m looking forward to it but I still want to beat him,” said Graham.
Tickets for the game are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Ironton receives only a small percentage of the presale.
Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers (25-0)
No. Player Pos. Ht. Gr.
4 Jordan Hannan G 5-07 Sr.
5 Lexie Wise PG 5-09 So.
15 Lexie Barrier F 5-11 Sr.
23 Sydney Webb G 5-07 Jr.
44 Cheyenne Scott C 5-09 Sr.
10 D’Laynie Keith F 5-09 Jr.
11 Zakia Lee C 6-00 Jr.
24 Alyssa Lewis G 5-06 Jr.
Head coach: Doug Graham
Alexander Lady Spartans (16-8)
No. Player Pos. Ht. Gr.
2 Jala Mace F 5-11 Jr.
4 Leah Richardson F 5-11 Jr.
10 Nicole Hudnall G 5-06 Jr.
15 Rachel Richardson G 5-07 Fr.
33 Kendall Meeks C 5-11 Sr.
5 McKena Rice F-G 5-09 Fr.
20 Alexis Mohler F 5-09 Jr.
Head coach: Cory McKnight
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