PDT Sports Writer
Despite losing four seniors off a district finalist team a year ago, the Ironton girls basketball team proved Friday the cupboard is far from bare.
The Fighting Tigers had nine players crack the scoring column, led by Lexie Barrier’s 24 points, and pulled away in the second half to post a 70-40 win at arch rival Portsmouth to start the season.
“The girls I have replacing (last year’s senior class) are every bit as talented as what we have have that left,” Ironton coach Doug Graham said. “Tremendous basketball IQ’s and basketball skills with this group of girls.”
The game had a slow first half as 25 personal fouls were called between the two teams, who went on to connect on 22 of the 32 free throws taken. After coming out of the locker room up 33-26, the Fighting Tigers pulled away in the third quarter.
At one point in the frame, Barrier had a string of nine-straight points and had 16 of Ironton’s 23 points in the period. She was 9-of-14 from the floor for the game.
“(Barrier’s) a talent, she works on her game all year round,” Graham said. “When she’s feeling it, she can stroke it.”
The Trojans, whose only lead of the game came when Justice Swords’ putback opened the scoring, were guilty of 30 turnovers and allowed 27 points off the miscues in coach Kristen Bradshaw’s debut.
“I think in the first half, we came out and we were fired up,” Bradshaw said. “Our energy, I think, took over them, that’s what we’ve got to have in the second half. We’ve got to somehow find it within all five of them on the court and I think we got a little bit relaxed in that second half.”
Portsmouth junior Peighton Williams tied for game high honors in points with 24 on 6-of-18 shooting from the floor. She also six rebounds while Wesleigh Jackson finished with nine.
“I think our game plan was to take it to them and get fouls on them,” Bradshaw said. “That’s what (Williams) did.”
The Trojans were without the services of Jada Jenkins for most of the game as she was hampered with a leg cramps.
Macy Wise added 14 points while Cheyenne Scott chipped in with 13 in the victory. Ironton has a week off until traveling Friday to Rock Hill.
Portsmouth has a shorter turnaround time between games as they hit the road Monday to take on Manchester. Bradshaw hopes the emphasis offensively will be being aggressive in the paint.
“For the team that we have, we’re quick and we have one or two big girls that can put it in,” Bradshaw said. “We’ve just got to somehow find a way to get it down low.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.
Ironton 16 17 23 14 — 70
Portsmouth 11 15 3 11 — 40
Ironton — Washington 1-0-2, J. Hannan 4-0-8, T. Hannan 1-1-3, Barrier 9-1-24, Wise 3-8-14, Rase 1-0-2, Arden 0-2-2, Alyssa Lewis 1-0-2, Scott 3-6-13, Totals 23-18-70.
Portmouth — Lee 1-0-3, Jackson 2-3-9, Williams 6-8-24, Swords 1-0-2, Parker 0-2-2, Totals 10-13-40.
3-Point Goals — Ironton 6 (Barrier 5, Scott); Portsmouth 7 (Williams 4, Jackson 2, Lee).
Records — Ironton 1-0; Portsmouth 0-1.