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Ironton falls to Africentric in Div. III state semifinals

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ seniors Cheyenne Scott (44), Lexie Barrier (15) and Jordan Hannan converge on Africentric’s Zharia Lenoir (1) during the Division III state semifinal game on Thursday. Ironton suffered its first loss of the season, 63-34. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ seniors Cheyenne Scott (44), Lexie Barrier (15) and Jordan Hannan converge on Africentric’s Zharia Lenoir (1) during the Division III state semifinal game on Thursday. Ironton suffered its first loss of the season, 63-34. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

COLUMBUS — This is one time the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers didn’t want to be “in the zone.”

Ironton came out fast and jumped on the favored Columbus Africentric Lady Nubians. But a switch from man-to-man defense to a zone changed the control of the game against the Lady Tigers.

That defensive changed led the Lady Nubians to a 63-34 win over Ironton in the Division III state semifinals on Thursday at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

“I figured (Nubians’ coach Will McKinney) would go to some zone. When he played us last year he played some man the first half a lot. The second half they went to a zone and with their speed it caused us some problems,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.

Ironton took a 12-7 first quarter lead thanks in part to a pair of trifectas by Sydney Webb and layups by D’Laynie Keith and Lexie Wise to end the quarter.

But once Africentric went to a zone, Ironton shot just 2-of-9 from the field in the second quarter and a meager 1-of-11 in the third quarter.

“They were a lot better on the offensive end,” McKinney said of Ironton.

“Fortunately for us we were able to go to some zone stuff that we haven’t done at all during the playoffs. So I thought that our zone kind of tripped them up because they were really good on the man-to-man situation.”

Ironton got a layup from Cheyenne Scott and two foul shots by Lexie Barrier to go up 16-11 with 6:01 left in the half. But six turnovers and helped ignite the Lady Nubians’ offense as they rallied to take a 25-18 lead.

Barrier made two foul shots to stop the 14-2 run before Jordan Horston made a layup to give Africentric a 27-20 halftime lead.

Leah Morrow scored 12 of her 22 points in the quarter for Africentric.

“Their pressure definitely bothered us. We’ve not seen something like that from all five girls. They’re long and athletic and they make you do things that you’re not comfortable doing,” said Graham.

Four Ironton turnovers and a six straight points by the Lady Nubians made it a 33-20 game at the 5:06 mark of the third quarter.

A foul shot by Scott and three points by Wise cut the deficit to 35-24 with 2:58 left in the quarter, but a layup by Amari Grace gave Africentric a 37-24 lead to end the quarter.

Another layup by Wise to start the fourth quarter left Ironton down 37-26, but the Lady Fighting Tigers would get no closer as they made only 3-of-9 shots in the quarter.

Besides Morrow, Zharia Lenoir added 14 points and Horston 12 points for the Lady Nubians.

“I don’t know that match-ups were a problem. They had some girls step up. (Morrow) played really well for them. (Lenoir) got free for a 3 (pointer) in the first half and she got some rhythm.”

Africentric (23-5) was 25-of-52 from the field for 48 percent that led to 38 points in the paint. Ironton finished 11-of-42 from the field for 26 percent.

“Whenever you come out and extend on Africentric, you’re going to give up some baskets. You want to make it more of a controlled, half-court game,” said Graham.

Wise had 11 points while Barrier had 10 points and racked in 17 rebounds for the Lady Fighting Tigers.

“It wasn’t as good (an offensive game) as against other teams, but they’re good and their defense is good. It’s not as easy scoring against them,” said Barrier.

Despite the loss, Graham only had praise for his team who had the girls’ first-ever unbeaten regular season and finished the year 27-1 and gave the program its fourth trip to the Final Four.

“Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we expected it. Africentric is a really good team. They came out and played well. They did the things they had to do to control the game. Unfortunately, a lot of it went their way,” said Graham.

“My girls never quit. They battled all the way through to the end. I’m very proud of these girls.”

Africentric will play Marion Pleasant at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday in the Div. III championship game.

Girls’ Division III State Semifinals

At Jerome Schottenstein Center

Ohio State University, Columbus

Africentric 63, Irontn 34

IRONTON (27-1) FG 3-PT FT REB. A St Pts.

M-A M-A M-A O-D

Jordan Hannan 0-4 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Lexie Wise 4-7 0-0 3-4 3-0 0 0 11

Lexie Barrier 2-9 0-0 6-6 3-14 1 3 10

Sydney Webb 2-10 2-6 0-0 0-0 1 2 6

Cheyenne Scott 2-5 0-0 1-2 3-1 0 2 5

D’Laynie Keith 1-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Alyssa Lewis 0-6 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Zakia Lee 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Kaylin Easterling 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Haylee Stevens 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Katelynn Boyer 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

TOTALS 11-42 2-7 10-12 12-19 3 7 34

 

Team rebounds: 6. Turnovers: 22. Blocked shots: 3 (Wise 2, Barrier 1). Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.

 

Africentric (23-5) FG 3-PT FT REB. A St Pts.

M-A M-A M-A O-D

Chyna Chambers 0-3 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

Amari Grace 1-2 0-0 0-0 1-3 1 0 2

Kynnedy Azubike 2-3 0-0 4-4 1-1 1 0 8

Jordan Horston 5-11 0-0 2-3 2-7 6 1 12

Leah Morrow 11-20 0-2 0-2 2-4 1 2 22

Zharia Lenoir 4-7 2-4 4-4 0-1 0 2 14

Antoinette Williams 1-2 1-1 0-0 1-0 1 0 3

Kayanna Hopson 1-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 2

Dejae Denham 0-2 0-1 0-0 1-2 2 2 0

Iyana Hairston 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

K. Smith-Hopgood 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

TOTALS 25-52 3-9 10-13 10-21 13 9 63

 

Team rebounds: 4. Turnovers: 11. Blocked shots: 2 (Lenoir 1, Smith-Hopgoood 1). Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.

 

Africentric 7 20 10 26 = 63

Ironton 12 8 4 10 = 34