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Ironton sticks to game plan to pound Pirates

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ center Trey Fletcher (left) scores over Wheelersburg’s Andy Stegman during Tuesday’s game. Fletcher had 15 points as Ironton rolled to a 55-37 win. (The Ironton Tribune / Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

The Ironton Fighting Tigers stuck with the plan, and the plan worked.

Ironton wanted to slowdown 6-foot-6 Andy Stegman and use their speed and quickness to force turnovers.

With Stegman limited to 12 points and the defense coming up with eight steals, Ironton shot 50 percent from the field and rolled past the Wheelersburg Pirates 55-37 Tuesday.

“This was the best we’ve executed our game plan all season,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon. “It wasn’t that we never varied from it because we did at times to make plays which I understand, but we stuck with it for the most part and it worked.”

The game began with four ties in the first quarter and Ironton took a 10-9 lead on a layup by Trey Fletcher.

But Ironton asserted itself in the second quarter by limiting the Pirates to a 2 for 11 shooting including five missed shots from 3-point range.

Malcolm Morton and Zac Carter both converted steals into layups at the start of the second quarter as Ironton took the lead for good at 14-9.

Ironton closed the half with a 6-0 run with Morton converting another steal into a layup with 10 seconds left and it was 23-13 at the break.

Back-to-back 3-point plays by Trevor White and Carter opened up a 31-15 Ironton lead at the 4:58 mark of the third quarter.

Fletcher slammed down a dunk with 1:27 left in the quarter and the lead was 49-21.

Trailing 41-26 going into the fourth quarter, the Pirates (13-5) began fouling with five minutes to play. It worked temporarily as Ironton missed some free throws and Austin McBee and Brandon Schankweiler hit 3-pointers that cut the deficit to 10 points each time.

But Ironton converted 7 of 10 at the line over a two-minute span and it was 53-37 with 2:49 to play. Carter’s layup with 2:30 left make it 55-37 to settle the outcome.

Carter finished with 17 points — 14 in the second half — and Fletcher had 15 points and eight rebounds. Ironton (12-5) dominated the boards 36-21.

Stegman was the only Pirate in double figures with 12.

“Fletcher and (Josh) Murphy did a good job on Stegman. They made him work for everything he got,” said LaFon. “I though Malcolm did a great job. His motor never stops running and it runs 100 miles an hour, but he does what I want him to do.”

Morton finished with six assists and five steals.

Ironton travels to Manchester on Friday and hosts Huntington Prep next Tuesday.

Wheelersburg 9 4 13 11 = 37

Ironton 10 13 18 14 = 55

WHEELERSBURG (13-5): Austin McBee 1 2 1-2 9, Brandon Schankweiler 2 1 1-2 8, Webb Ballard 1 0 0- 2, Shane Ward 1 0 0-0 2, Andy Stegman 5 0 2-4 12, Clay Massie 2 0 0-0 4, Andy Sloan 0 0 0-0 0, Dylan Miller 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-46 4-10 37. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Ballard (3rd 0:37). 3-point goals: 3-19. Rebounds: 5 offense, 16 defense = 21 (Stegman 5, Ward 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 6 (McBee 3, Schankweiler 2). Steals: 2. Turnovers: 8.

IRONTON (12-5): Malcolm Morton 3 0 1-2 7, Travis Elliott 1 0 2-6 4, Zac Carter 6 0 5-7 17, Trevor White 3 0 1-1 7, Trey Fletcher 6 1 0-1 15, Josh Murphy 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Glover 0 0 1-2 1, Nick Culbertson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-44 10-20 55. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-4. Rebounds: 10 offense, 26 defense = 36 (White 11, Fletcher 8, Elliott 7). Assists: 8 (Morton 6). Steals: 8 (Morton 5). Turnovers: 10.