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Lady Tigers beat Fairland to tie for 1st place in OVC

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Lexie Arden (44) blocks the shot by Fairland Lady Dragons’ Emily Chapman (4) during Monday’s Ohio Valley Conference showdown for first place. Ironton held on for a 47-40 win to tie Fairland for first place in the conference race. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Lexie Arden (44) blocks the shot by Fairland Lady Dragons’ Emily Chapman (4) during Monday’s Ohio Valley Conference showdown for first place. Ironton held on for a 47-40 win to tie Fairland for first place in the conference race. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

It was billed as a classic showdown for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference.
It lived up to its billing.
The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers needed a win to draw even with the Fairland Lady Dragons in the OVC race. The Lady Tigers jumped out to a big lead and held on to beat the Lady Dragons 47-40 on Monday.
“(Ironton’s girls) came out ready to play. It was a great atmosphere,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.
“Taiya Hamlet played unbelievable. She did things they won’t write about in the paper or talk about in the cafeteria. Lexie Arden did a great job battling inside. Riley Schreck is long and can shoot,” said Graham.
“Sydney Webb did a great job out there. She hit a big three and two big free throws. It’s hard to point out one girl. It was a great team effort. They played their guts out. We’re getting better.”
Known for their 3-point shooting, Fairland was held to 1-of-16 from beyond the arc and shot 12-of-43 from the field for 28 percent.
The key for Ironton was the defense led by Lexi Wise and Alyssa Lewis who took turns guarding Fairland’s leading scorer Emily Chapman.
With 55 3-pointers on the season and an 18-point scoring average, the Lady Tigers needed to slow Chapman in order to win.
“(Fairland) can score points in bunches and (Fairland coach) Jon (Buchanan) runs good stuff for them. They hit one three and that’s a testament to those girls in the orange jerseys. Lexi Wise and Alyssa Lewis chased Chapman all over the floor. That was a challenge to them,” said Graham.
Graham said Fairland’s size was a concern, especially with 6-footers Allie Marshall, Taylar Wilson, Alesha Simpson and Jackie Wagner. They also have 5-9 Kelsie Warnock.
“Marshall is long and smart and reads well. Wilson is on the elbow and Warnock is a good rebounder. Their length gives teams problems,” said Graham.
Ironton is now 12-4 overall and tied Fairland atop the league at 8-1. The Lady Dragons fell to 13-2.
Arden had 17 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals to lead the Lady Tigers. Webb cored 11 points with a pair of assists. Wise had five rebounds and three steals.
Chapman scored 13 points with fiver rebounds and three steals. Simpson added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Fairland took a 2-0 lead to start the game on a layup by Simpson, but it proved to be the only lead of the game for the Lady Dragons.
Ironton ran off 10 straight points as Webb and Arden scored four points each and Lewis added a layup.
A 3-pointer by Chapman ended the run but Arden answered with her own triple. A 12-footer by Arden and a layup by Wise to close the quarter put Ironton up 19-10.
Arden and Webb hit back-to-back trifectas and Arden added a foul shot as the lead went to 30-16. Fairland ended the half with three foul shots to trail 32-21 at the break.
Wilson made two foul shots to begin the second half and Fairland was within 32-23, but Lewis hit two foul shots and Webb made a layup off a steal and pass by Wise and it was 36-23.
Each team made just one field goal in the third quarter as Ironton took a 38-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
A free throw by Arden and two by Hamlet gave Ironton its biggest lead at 41-25, but Fairland wasn’t about to go away.
The Lady Dragons kept chipping away with Warnock getting four points and Simpson’s 15-footer cut the deficit to 43-33.
A layup by Schreck had Ironton up 45-33, but a layup and two foul shots by Chapman and three points by Karli Fuller off the bench got Fairland within 45-40 with 33 seconds left.
Fairland quickly fouled Webb who calmly went to the line and sank two clutch foul shots to make it 47-40 and seal the win.
Ironton was just 12-of-21 from the foul line and only 5-of-9 in the fourth quarter. Fairland was 15-of-21 at the line and 7-of-11 in the fourth quarter.
On Thursday, Ironton visits Gallipolis and Fairland goes to Coal Grove.
Fairland    10    11    4    15    =    40
Ironton       19    13    6    9    =    47
FAIRLAND (13-2, 8-1): Allie Marshall 0 0 0-0 0, Taylar Wilson 1 0 2-2 4, Emily Chapman 2 1 6-7 13, Kelsie Warnock 2 0 4-5 8, Alesha Simpson 4 0 2-5 10, Issy McKinney 1 0 0-0 2, Jackie Wagner 0 0 0-0 0, Jenna Stone 0 0 0-0 0, Karli Fuller 1 0 1-2 3. Totals: 12-43 15-21 40. 3-point goals: 1-16. Rebounds; 14-O, 17-D = 31 (Simpson 7, Chapman 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 9. Assists: 3. Steals: 5 (Chapman 3). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Warnock (4th 0:13).
IRONTON (12-4, 8-1): Sydney Webb 3 1 2-2 11, Lexi Wise 3 0 1-4 7, Alyssa Lewis 2 0 2-4 6, Taiya Hamlet 0 0 4-4 4, Lexie Arden 4 2 3-7 17, Riley Schreck 1 0 0-0 2, Katie Boyer 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-39 12-21 47. 3-point goals: 3-9. Assists: 5 (Webb 2). Steals: 6 (Wise 3, Arden 2). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Hamlet (4th 4:33).