Spring Valley girls rally
IRONTON -- Two minutes into the third quarter, Spring Valley girls basketball coach Bo Miller had seen enough. Three turnovers on three trips down the floor prompted Miller to bench the starting five and put in the second unit despite trailing Ironton by 11 points.
"If you don't play, you're sitting," Miller said. "I've done it before. I'm looking for five girls who will play. If I don't get it from the first five, I go down the line."
With the second unit in, the Lady Timberwolves held their own. Miller then inserted the starters with about two minutes left. The Lady Timberwolves then employed a pressing defense and rallied from 14 points down to edge the Lady Tigers, 61-60, in the Ironton Classic inside the warm Conley Center on a cold, snowy Friday.
"They got another chance," Miller said. "I said if there's no effort, you come out again. They got the message."
Ironton (5-3) led 38-24 with 2:48 remaining in the third period. That's when the Timberwolves (5-2) started chipping away at the deficit thanks to pressure defense.
Sophomore Madison Morris hit a bank shot in the lane with just over three minutes left to give the Timberwolves a 52-51 lead, their first advantage since early in the contest. Morris connected again with 1:10 on a folo off a rebound to push the lead to 60-56.
Freshman Lexie Barrier followed with four free throws, the second two coming with 33.5 seconds left, to tie the game at 60-60.
Morris then made a move to the basket, drew a foul and made the first of two free throws for a 61-60 lead with 26.3 seconds left. The Lady Tigers then turned the ball over, fouled Emily Butcher with 8.8 seconds left and she missed both attempts.
Ironton got the rebound, Barrier got free for a final shot just before the buzzer, but it went off the front of the rim.
"The press worked well," Miller said. "It could go either way. We got a couple of turnovers and got the momentum. Things snowballed our way."
On the flip side, Spring Valley struggled at the foul line. The Lady Timberwolves, who have yet to play a home game, made just 1 of 11 in the fourth period, meaning they couldn't put the hosts away. They made 12 of 27 for the game.
"I don't how we can shoot any more in practice," Miller said.
Morrison led all scorers with a career-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.
"We started out slow," she said. "We knew if we had trouble, he'd put the others in. We just wanted to get a second chance. It was please give us a second chance.
Morris said the press worked in the team's favor, but foul shooting has to change.
"We got in said we've got to prove ourselves," Morris said. "The press got them rattled. Foul shooting ... we do a lot in practice. I think we tense up. We've got to relax."
Barrier led the Lady Tigers with 22 points. Alicia Murphy added 15 and Ariel Schweickart 13. Barrier and Schweickart had 11 rebounds each.
Mackenzie Morris, Madison's older sister, guarded Barrier on the final shot.
"Good defense and don't foul," Madison said.
SPRING VALLEY 11 10 17 23 -- 61: Kelly 9, Adkins 4, Burke 3, Dingess 3, Mackenzie Morris 3, Heck 7, Butcher 2, Madison Morris 25, Ratcliff 5. Totals: 23-61 12-27 61.
IRONTON 13 15 14 18 -- 60: Washington 4, Barrier 22, Schweickart 13, McMackin 6, Murphy 15. Totals: 16-45 26-34 60.
3-point baskets: Spring Valley 3 (Kelly, Burke, Dingess). Ironton 2 (Barrier, Murphy).