Fairland girls escape with a 40-38 win over Ironton
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — It was one of those nights when defense made the difference for the Fairland girls basketball team.
“We had to hang our hat on it,” a relieved coach Jon Buchanan said after the Dragons held off a late Ironton charge to escape with a 40-38 victory Monday night in the Carl York Center. “The defense did a good job. I was proud of our effort.”
Fairland, once down by eight points (25-17) in the third period, came back to open a 40-33 advantage with just over a minute left in the game when 6-foot-1 junior Terra Stapleton converted two free throws.
Down the stretch, the Dragons (10-0) went cold at the foul line and the Lady Tigers (10-4) made a final run. Chandler Fulks missed the front end of a one-and-one with 36.5 seconds left. Then the Dragons had a turnover. After the miss and miscue, Alicia Murphy delivered for Ironton, a two-pointer, then a 3-pointer with 24.1 seconds to go to cut the deficit to 40-38.
Caitlin Stone drew a foul with 19 seconds to play and the woes at the foul line continued for Fairland as she missed the front end of the bonus.
Ironton set up for a chance to tie, or win it, and got the shot it wanted when freshman Lexie Barrier got free down the lane on a layup, but the ball rolled off the rim. Mackenzie Riley got the rebound, was fouled, missed both foul shots, but the Lady Tigers couldn’t get off a final attempt.
“Lexie’s a good decision maker,” Ironton coach Doug Graham said. “I’ll put the ball in her hands and take my chances. It wasn’t the layup only, though. We had so many other chances.”
Buchanan had words of encouragement for Barrier after the miss.
“I was thinking OT,” he said. “I told her she’ll have plenty of more opportunities to make that play. She’ll come through.”
Stapleton led Fairland with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Kelsey Riley added 11 points.
Lexie Washington paced Ironton with 12 points and Barrier finished with 11.
“We beat a good ball team,” Buchanan said of Ironton, which won twice in Florida, beat Vinton County and then Ashland before Monday’s encounter. “I feel they were playing their best. To hold a team like that to 38 points shows we guarded well.”
Taylor Perry’s layup with 4:12 to play put Fairland ahead to stay, 35-33. Fulks nailed a three-pointer with 2:30 to go to extend the lead to five (40-35) and Stapleton’s free throws got the margin to seven (40-33).
“Chandler had uncharacteristic poor shooting,” Buchanan said. “A couple of air balls. I told her we were going to need her to come through and she did. We make the free throws, we ice the game. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Graham said he liked the poise his team showed.
“We never felt rattled or flustered,” he said. “The girls were attentive. It was a great effort.”
Ironton’s next game is Thursday at home against Boyd County.
Fairland (4-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference), is home Thursday against Chesapeake and visits River Valley on Saturday.
IRONTON 8 11 10 0 — 38: Washington 6 0-0 12, Barrier 5 0-0 11, Hannan 0 1-2 1, Schweickart 2 0-0 5, Martin 1 0-0 2, McMackin 1 0-0 2, Murphy 2 0-0 5. Totals: 17 1-2 38.
FAIRLAND 10 7 14 9 — 40: Stapleton 5 2-2 12, Fulks 3 1-3 8, M. Riley 0 0-2 0, Chaffin 1 0-0 2, K. Riley 5 1-2 11, Stone 1 0-1 3, Perry 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 4-10 40.