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Sluggish Ironton pillages Pirates

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Joe Bowling drives for a layup while being fouled by two Wheelersburg defenders. Ironton beat Wheelersburg 59-49 on Tuesday. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Joe Bowling drives for a layup while being fouled by two Wheelersburg defenders. Ironton beat Wheelersburg 59-49 on Tuesday. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

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Listening to Ironton coach Mark LaFon after Tuesday’s game, it sounded like his Fighting Tigers had lost. But if you just watched the game, you would have seen a 59-49 Ironton win over the Wheelersburg Pirates.

However, the picture wasn’t exactly in hi-def.

“We won and that’s the best thing and most important thing you can say about this game,” said LaFon.

“But our kids all know we didn’t play very well. We’ve been playing well the last few weeks and we don’t want to take a step backwards. Hopefully, this is just a small blip on the radar.”

One sight that was good to see was Ironton’s Dylan Malone who had a double-double for Ironton. Malone came off the bench to score 22 points — 20 in the second half — and grab 11 rebounds. He also had three blocked shots.

Phillip Kratzenberg added 11 points and Tristan Cox scored 10 points for the Fighting Tigers (10-8) who won for the sixth time in their last seven games.

Wheelersburg (7-11) had three players in double figures led by Jacob Spradlin with 14 points off the bench. Kyle Davis scored 13 points and Brandan Adams added 10.

Kaden Coleman grabbed six rebounds and Chase Porter five.

“They’ve got three good shooters and we knew that, but we kept leaving them open. Defensively, we didn’t play very well,” said LaFon.

Wheelersburg opened the game by taking a 10-3 lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Davis. Cox answered with a trifecta of his own before the end of the quarter and it was 10-6.

A layup by Cox and a trey by Marques Davis put Ironton back on top to start the second quarter.

The Pirates regained the lead at 13-12 on a basket by Coleman but Raphael Glover made a layup and Marques Davis buried another triple as Ironton went up 16-12.

A layup by Malone off a pass from Cox pushed the lead to 18-13 but Spradlin’s 3-point play got the Pirates within18-16 at the break.

Kyle Davis made a 3-pointer with 5:30 left in the third quarter to give the Pirates their last lead at 27-25.

Joe Bowling had back-to-back baskets and a layup by Malone opened up a 37-31 lead before Adams 12-footer made it a 37-33 game at the end of the quarter.

Wheelersburg managed to get within two points twice early in the fourth quarter, but Ironton went up 51-43 with three minutes left on a 3-ball by Kratzenberg and a layup by Desmond Young.

The Pirates had to employ the “hack and jack” and began sending Ironton to the foul line while continuing to shoot 3-pointers.

Wheelersburg was 2-of-8 from behind the arc in the fourth quarter and 6-of-20 for the game.

Ironton took advantage of the free throw attempts by making 8-of-8 over the final 1:10 including 6-of-6 by Kratzenberg to seal the outcome.

The Fighting Tigers play at first place Chesapeake on Friday in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

Wheelersburg 10 6 17 16 = 49

Ironton 6 12 19 22 = 59

WHEELERSBURG (7-11): Brandan Adams 5 0 0-0 10, Kyle Davis 2 3 0-0 13, Austin May 1 0 1-1 3, Kaden Coleman 3 0 1-2 7, Chase Porter 1 0 0-0 2, Jacob Spradlin 2 3 1-1 14, Jacob Roe 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-49 3-4 49. 3-point goals: 6-20. Rebounds: 5-off. 18-def. = 23 (Coleman 6, Porter 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 3 (Adams 2). Steals: 3 (Adams, May, Spradlin). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (10-8): Phillip Kratzenberg 1 1 6-6 11, Joe Bowling 2 0 2-2 6, Tristan Cox 3 1 1-3 10, Marques Davis 0 2 0-1 6, Desmond Young 1 0 0-2 2, Tanner Price 0 0 0-0 0, Dylan Malone 9 0 4-9 22, Raphael Glover 1 0 0-2 2. Totals: 21-45 13-25 59. 3-point goals: 4-10. Rebounds: 10-off. 22-def. = 32 (Malone 11, Bowling 6). Assists: 8 (Cox 3, Bowling 3). Steals: 6 (Bowling 2). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None.