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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.

RECRUITING ROUNDUP: Spring Valley baseball standout Hunter Bellomy committed to Davis & Elkins College. ... Cabell Midland center Logan Osburn committed to play football at Marshall University. ... Huntington High football standout Christian Hanna received a scholarship offer from Concord University. ... University High School wide receiver Amir Richardson committed to Marshall on Saturday. Richardson originally committed to West Virginia. ... Boyd County softball infielder/pitcher Bailey Conley signed with Shawnee State University. ... Spring Valley fullback Isaac Howard was offered by West Virginia Wesleyan. Howard and his teammate, defensive end Cody Stanley, picked up offers from the University of Virginia-Wise. Stanley also received one from Garden City (Kansas) Junior College. Stanley and Timberwolves defensive back Tyson Hall were offered by West Virginia State University. Hall also was offered by Capital University and Grove City College. ...

A trio of Wheelersburg football stars earned offers last week - tight end Avery Donini from Muskingum University, wide receiver Chase Stidham from Wittenberg University and defensive end Kevin Meadows from Siena Heights University. Stidham also picked up an offer from Ohio Wesleyan University. ... Portsmouth offensive lineman Colin Boehm was offered by Muskingum, but committed to West Virginia State on Friday. ... Coal Grove quarterback Nate Harmon and Meigs wide receiver Zach Bartrum received offers from Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. Harmon also was offered by Georgetown College. ... Ironton’s Haylee Stevens committed to play softball at Glenville State College. ... Fairland track and cross country star McKenna Pannell has offers from Marshall University, Morehead State University, Kentucky Christian University, Marietta College, Shawnee State University and the University of Charleston. Her teammate Haleigh Fuller has offers from Shawnee State and Kentucky Christian. Fairland runner Deanna Hall signed with Shawnee State. ...

Wheelersburg tennis standout Drew Jackson signed with Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. ... Huntington High offensive lineman Max Howell visited and committed to East Tennessee State University, which also offered Lawrence County quarterback Noah West. ... Capital defensive back Breece Hoff committed to the University of New Hampshire. ... Raceland wide receiver Dalton Adkins picked up an offer from Georgetown College. ... Wheelersburg’s Christen Risner signed to play softball and soccer at the University of Rio Grande. ... Belfry offensive lineman Dagen Rash committed to the University of Kentucky. ... Gallia Academy basketball star Zach Loveday was offered by Indiana University. ... Hurricane baseball standout Chandler Kelley committed to Patrick Henry Junior College.

ROUNDING UP: Ed Belville resigned as Ashland’s boys soccer coach and was replaced by Preston Freeman. ... Hannan basketball player Dalton Coleman and Ohio Valley Christian’s Justin Beaver each scored their 1,000th career point last week in the same game. ... Parkersburg Catholic scored 66 consecutive points in an 88-13 girls basketball victory over Wirt County last week. ...

Former Huntington High defensive back Brandon Morrison, now playing at West Liberty University, was named NCAA Division II Academic all-American. ... Raceland hired Bill Farley as its new volleyball coach, replacing Ryan Biederman, who resigned after one season. ... Phelps girls basketball star Danielle Prater scored her 1,600th career point last week. ... Ashland boys basketball standout Devaunte Robinson scored his 1,000th career point last week. ... Ironton St. Joe’s boys basketball team made a school-record 18 3-point shots Friday in a 91-38 victory at Ohio Valley Christian. ... Boyd County junior guard Blake Stewart scored his 1,000th career point last week.

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