IRONTON — How a Panther would fare against a Tiger in the jungle could be debated, but in the Ironton High School Conley Center the Fighting Tigers left little doubt.
Ironton, ranked No. 9 in Ohio's Division III Associated Press girls basketball poll, handed the Chesapeake Panthers a 62-27 defeat on the Fighting Tigers' home court.
The win helped the Fighting Tigers keep two games behind Ohio Valley Conference leader Coal Grove. Ironton is now 13-2 on the season and 7-2 in the OVC.
Samantha Lafon led Ironton with 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Lexi Arden scored 11 and nabbed six boards in the win.
Riley Schreck came off the bench for the Fighting Tigers and scored 10 points.
"On offense we did a really good job of moving the ball around," Lafon said. "Even when we missed shots, we took good shots."
Ironton grabbed its first lead of the game on LaFon's basket and free throw at 6:14 of the first quarter for a 3-2 lead over the Panthers. It never looked back.
It ended the first period with a 21-10 lead over Chesapeake, then scored the first six points of the second period en route to a 40-18 lead at halftime.
Chesapeake (6-8, 4-6) got a basket in the paint from Maddie Ward with 51 seconds to go in the first half to cut the Ironton lead to 38-18 at the time. However, it was also the last basket the Panthers would score until Blake Anderson knocked down the first of two foul shots with 3:47 remaining in the game.
By that time the Panthers were down by 35 points. Chesapeake didn't get another field goal until 3:06 to play.
Ironton forced Chesapeake into 14 turnovers while only committing five of its own and three of those five coming with its reserves in the game.
Chesapeake did well keeping pace with Ironton's rebounding, though Ironton did a much better job of grabbing boards on the offensive side and getting second-chance points.
The Panthers were led by Emily Duncan's eight points, with Anderson putting in seven.
Chesapeake's best option in matching up with LaFon, a junior, was Ward.
Ward was limited to four points and was whistled with four fouls.
"The last couple of games I've been trying to keep the ball high and not dribble so much," Lafon said of her success in the paint. "I've been trying to use my strength more around the rim."
Ironton will host Chillicothe on Monday in the Conley Center before it returns to OVC play Jan. 23 at South Point, with a rematch with the Hornets coming at the Conley Center on Jan. 27.
"We can only take care of what's in front of us," Ironton head coach Doug Graham said. "We've played some great defense and had good ball movement. I'm pleased with where we are. I've felt that way for the past several games."
Chesapeake will play on Saturday at Grace Christian.
CHESAPEAKE 10 8 0 9 -- 27: Dillon 2, Pauley 2, Anderson 7, McComas 4, Ward 4, Duncan 8.
IRONTON 21 19 15 7 -- 62: Schreck 10, Lafon 13, Hannan 5, Carpenter 3, El. Williams 8, Morgan 9, Ev. Williams 3, L. Arden 11.