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Graham has Ironton off to good start

December 17, 2018

One of the better early season coaching jobs in the Tri-State has been done by one of the region’s better coaches, Ironton High School girls basketball coach Doug Graham.

The Fighting Tigers enter Monday night’s game at Ashland with a 5-1 record despite playing all season with without star Lexie Arden (torn knee ligament) and the last two games minus Samantha Lafon (hip injury).

“Those are two good players,” Graham said. “Those are two college-caliber players. They’ll both go play college basketball.”

After a stunning start to the season, a 42-38 loss to Portsmouth at home, Ironton bounced back. The Fighting Tigers picked up a 50-41 victory at Fairland, beat Gallia Academy and held off Chesapeake in Ohio Valley Conference games. A variety of players have stepped up, with Glenville State softball commitment Haylee Stevens proving a capable scorer to go with Riley Schreck and Lydia Hannan. Sophie Caines has provided a boost inside from off the bench.

Lafon, a sophomore, is likely to return to the court in the next month. Arden, one of the premier players in the state, said she is out until AAU season. The torn anterior cruciate ligament is Arden’s second, one in each knee.

“It’s easier this time,” Arden said. “The rehab is going well and I know what to expect better than I did the first time.”

Arden injured her knee this time playing summer ball.

“I was bending down to pick up a ball and had my foot planted,” Arden said. “Another girl was going for the ball and hit my leg and it locked. I felt it and heard it pop and immediately I knew what had happened. I knew I tore my ACL.”

Arden returned to Ohio from the AAU tournament in Georgia and the next day went to Columbus for an examination, followed by surgery.

“It’s doing better,” Arden said. “I jogged a little (Thursday).”

FAIRLAND HALL INDUCTEES: Fairland High School inducted a stellar Hall of Fame class last week.

Those honored included late basketball and track coach and official Bob Cook, as well as former multi-sport players Scott Hutchison, Brent Mayo and Bernie Stanley. Mayo played football at Muskingum University, Hutchison at Marshall University and Stanley at Ohio State University.

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