Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Trey Fletcher (44) scores inside against Wheelersburg as he gets two of his 18 points. Ironton beat Wheelersburg 49-39 Friday to win the Division III sectional tournament. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)
Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Trey Fletcher (44) scores inside against Wheelersburg as he gets two of his 18 points. Ironton beat Wheelersburg 49-39 Friday to win the Division III sectional tournament. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Archived Story

11 Straight: Fighting Tigers win another sectional tourney

Published 10:31pm Saturday, February 23, 2013

Jim Walker


JACKSON — Since both teams play each other every year, sometimes again in the tournament and also scout each other several times, Ironton knows Wheelersburg and the Pirates know the Fighting Tigers.

On Friday, the Ironton Fighting Tigers knew too much.

Ironton relied on its knowledge of what to expect from Wheelersburg as the Fighting Tigers beat the Pirates 49-39 to win the Division III sectional finals.

Wheelersburg controlled the tempo of the game in the first half and trailed just 16-14. But Ironton inflicted its will in the second half and led by as many as 12 points en route to the win.

“They did exactly the same thing they did at our place, they just did it better,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon referring to Ironton’s 57-35 win earlier this season.

“We didn’t get where we needed to be. We did a better job of that in the second half.”

Ironton (19-2) won its 13th game in a row and claimed its 11th sectional in a row. The Fighting Tigers will play North Adams at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ohio University.

“It’s always an honor to get (to the district tournament),” said LaFon.

Trey Fletcher triggered the win for Ironton with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead both teams in those categories. Zac Carter had 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals.

“(Fletcher) kept battling, tipping and keeping the ball alive. He forced two and three guys to have to come and block him out. When he does that, we are hard to deal with,” LaFon said.

Dylan Miller had 11 points and Aaron Cowgill 9 points to lead Wheelersburg (9-14).

The Fighting Tigers shot 18-of-38 from the field overall, but just 5-of-17 in the first half including 0–for-8 in the second quarter when they scored just four points from the foul line.

However, Ironton shot a blistering 13-of-21 in the second half with Fletcher making 5-of-6 shots.

Wheelersburg hit 14-of-36 including 5-of-11 from the 3-point line.

“When it’s one of those grind it out games, statistics aren’t going to look that good, period. That’s what kind of game it was,” said LaFon.

Fletcher and Carter hit back-to-back trifectas to begin the game for a 6-0 lead, and they made consecutive layups to end the quarter and give Ironton a 12-7 lead.

The Pirates failed to score from the 3:40 mark of the first quarter until 3:12 was left in the half, but a 7-0 run capped by Eddie Miller’s layup at the 1:10 mark tied the game at 14.

Fletcher made two free throws with 19 seconds on the clock and Ironton led 16-14 at the break.

Ironton came out more aggressive in the second half and a layup by Aaron Stephens off a pass from Carter made it 26-15 with 4:37 to go in the third quarter.

Josh Glover — who had five assists — hit Carter for a layup and Ironton led 30-20 at the end of the quarter.

“The way they play defense they leave people open. We weren’t finding them in the first half,” said LaFon.

“Zac didn’t force anything. I knew I had him in my pocket. We could give him the ball 10 straight times and turn him loose.”

Ironton led 35-23 on a layup by Fletcher with 6:26 to play and the Fighting Tigers opened up their biggest lead with 1:03 to go when Darrius Boykin followed up his own shot and it was 49-36.

Wheelersburg 7 7 6 19 = 39

Ironton 12 4 14 19 = 49

WHEELERSBURG (9-14): Eddie Miller 4 0 0-0 8, Aaron Cowgill 2 0 5-7 9, Clay Massie 0 2 0-0 6, Dylan Miller 1 3 0-0 11, Derek Moore 2 0 1-2 5, Tyler Claxson 0 0 0-0 0, Austin May 0 0 0-0 0, Brandon Adams 0 0 0-0 0, J.D. Widdig 0 0 0-0 0, Jacob Spradlin 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-36 6-9 39. 3-point goals: 5-11. Rebounds: 7 offense, 16 defense = 23 (Moore 5). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 3. Steals: 2. Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (19-2): Zac Carter 4 1 4-5 15, Josh Glover 1 0 0-0 2, Trevor White 2 0 2-2 6, Trey Fletcher 6 1 3-5 18, Aaron Stephens 1 0 0-0 2, Darrius Boykin 1 0 1-2 3, Joe Bowling 0 0 0-0 0, Tristan Cox 0 1 0-0 3, Nate Garred 0 0 0-0 0, Jalen Schweickart 0 0 0-0 0, Jake Long 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor Easterling 0 0 0-0 0, Isaac Sherman 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-38 10-14 49. 3-point goals: 3-6. Rebounds: 6 offense, 18 defense = 24 (Fletcher 10, Carter 5). Assists: 10 (Glover 5, Carter 2, Fletcher 2). Steals: 5 (Carter 3). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.

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