Ironton grits out 32-24 victory over Chesapeake
IRONTON — Ironton must be a good high school girls basketball team.
“The sign of a good team is to be able to play multiple styles and still win,” Fighting Tigers coach Doug Graham said after his team defeated Chesapeake 32-24 Thursday at the Conley Center.
Graham said the triumph wasn’t pretty, but it still counts as a win in the standings. Ironton (5-1 overall, 4-1 Ohio Valley Conference) struggled to put away the Panthers, but led for all but 12 seconds of the contest.
Chesapeake (3-3, 2-2) was within 25-24 after sophomore Maddie Ward’s basket with 3:08 left in the game, but the Tigers scored the final seven points, beginning with a 3-pointer by Riley Schreck with 2:45 left. Lydia Hannan followed with a drive for a basket to make it 30-24 with 1:43 to play. Haylee Stevens swished two free throws with 40 seconds remaining to set the score.
Jada Rogers led Ironton with eight points, all coming in the first 3:03. Rogers didn’t score after that, but pulled down five rebounds as the Tigers built a 31-28 edge in that area. Schreck scored seven points. Sophie Caines came off the bench to score six points and grab five rebounds.
“Sophie came in and gave us a huge spark,” Graham said of the senior forward. “If you keep practicing and working, at some point you’ll get your moment and that’s what Sophie has done.”
Caines used a spin move to beat her defender and score the final basket of the first half to give the Tigers a 17-14 lead. She also scored the final basket of the third quarter to make it 21-18 and the first basket of the fourth quarter to push Ironton’s lead to five.
Chesapeake stayed close throughout, with the final score being the Panthers’ largest deficit. Freshman Blake Anderson made a pair of free throws with 3:35 to play in the third period to give Chesapeake an 18-17 lead. Schreck, though, responded with a driving layup to put the Tigers ahead 19-18 and they never trailed again.
“In the second half, we did a better job of rebounding,” Graham said. “When you play Chesapeake, sometimes you just have to grit it out and that’s what we did tonight. All the credit goes to those girls in (the locker room).”
Graham said Rogers’ early scoring was crucial.
“Jada played well,” Graham said. “She’s a great asset to our program. She’s going to be a good player.”
Ironton returns to the court at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Ashland. Chesapeake also plays again at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Grace Christian.
CHESAPEAKE 8 6 4 6 — 24: Anderson 5, Ward 11, Ervin 4, Davis 4.
IRONTON 11 6 4 11 — 32: Schreck 7, Hannan 4, K. Arden 2, Stevens 5, Rogers 8, Caines 6.