• 45°

Lady Tigers slip by Lady Pirates

Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Lexie Arden (44) goes high into the air to block a shot by Wheelersburg Lady Pirates’ Alaina Keeney (20) during Monday’s game. Ironton beat the previously unbeaten Lady Pirates 46-43. (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Big games need big plays, and the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers proved to be giants.
The Lady Tigers needed plenty of big plays as they faced the unbeaten Wheelersburg Lady Pirates.
Ironton got those plays and came up with a huge 46-43 win over Wheelersburg on Monday.
“Elli Williams set the tone defensively. Kirsten Williams made some big plays tonight. Lexie (Arden) and Sam (LaFon) made plays on both sides of the ball all game long,” said Ironton coach Doug Graham.
Ironton (9-1) never trailed although the game was tied four times. Ironton’s biggest lead was 7 points on four different occasions.
Each team shot about the same from the field except from 3-point range. Ironton was 5-of-15 and Wheelersburg 3-f-20.
Ironton held a 35-26 rebound advantage.
The Lady Tigers took an 8-1 lead to start the game and was up 16-9 at the end of the quarter thanks to 3-pointers by Lexie Arden, Elli Williams and Kirsten Williams.
Ellie Kallner scored 9 points as she and Lani Irwin each hit 3-pointers to get Wheelersburg within 26-23 at the half.
Alaina Keeney, Kaylee Darnell and Kallner all had 4 points each as the Lady Pirates inched closer at 39-37 to end the third quarter.
Ironton could have put the game away with less stress but missed 4-of-5 free throw attempts over the final five minutes as Wheelersburg cut their 45-38 lead down to 45-42 with 3.4 seconds to play.
The Lady Pirates were looking for a 3-pointer to tie the game but Ironton fouled Darnell and sent her to the line for a one-and-one.
Darnell made the first and intentionally missed the second. But Arden got the rebound and was fouled with 2.1 seconds left. She missed the first of the double-bonus attempts but made the second for a 46-43 lead.
Kallner heaved a three-quarter shot at the buzzer that fell well short of the basket.
“It was two really good teams going back and forth,” said Graham. “In the second half, we did a better job of finishing defensive possessions by securing the rebound.”
LaFon had 13 points and 12 rebounds while Arden got 10 clutch points and 7 rebounds to lead the Lady Fighting Tigers (9-1).
Wheelersburg (8-1) was led by Kallner with 14 points and Keeney added 10. Leading scorer Darnell — who averages 16.4 points a game — finished with 8.
Ironton host Fairland on Monday.
Wheelersburg 9 14 14 6 = 43
Ironton 16 10 13 7 = 46
WHEELERSBURG (8-1): Lauren Jolly 1 0 1-2 3, Brittani Wolfenbarker 0 0 0-0 0, Lani Irwin 0 1 0-0 3, Alaina Keeney 4 0 2-2 10, Ellie Kallner 5 1 1-4 14, Kaylee Darnell 3 0 2-3 8, Makenna Walker 1 1 0-0 5, Macie Eaton 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-50 5-7 43. 3-pt goals: 3-20. Rebounds: 26 (Kenney 8, Kallner 7). Assists: 10 (Kallner 5). Steals: 4. Turnovers: 3. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (9-1): Samantha LaFon 5 0 3-4 13, Lydia Hannan 1 0 3-4 5, Elli Williams 1 1 0-0 5, Kameren Arden 0 0 0-0 0, Kirsten Williams 0 2 0-0 6, Evan Williams 2 1 0-1 7, Lexie Arden 2 1 3-5 10. Fouls: 16-44 9-14 46. 3-pt goals: 5-15. Rebounds: 35 (LaFon 12, Arden 7, Hannan 7, El. Williams 7). Assists: 9 (Ev. Williams 4). Steals: 2. Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.

37-37 54 second
3:12 8-1 run by Ironton