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Harmon, Fry spark Ironton

Coal Grove – If practice makes perfect, imagine what another month will do for Josh Harmon and Roman Fry.

Wednesday, December 08, 1999

Coal Grove – If practice makes perfect, imagine what another month will do for Josh Harmon and Roman Fry.

Harmon, a defensive back, and Fry, an offensive tackle, were starters Saturday in the Division IV state championship football game between Ironton and Sandusky Perkins.

The two decided not to take a break offered the other football players before starting basketball and dressed for Tuesday night’s opener against the Coal Grove Hornets.

Harmon practiced all of one day but scored 19 points while Fry practiced two days and scored 9 points including the clinching foul shot as Ironton edged the Hornets 54-53.

"I wasn’t as winded as I thought I would be," Harmon said. "It was just a game to come back from. I was just out there playing and having fun."

Fry joked about his preparation but turned serious about making the clutch foul shot.

"I was good for one," said Fry. "I got two practices and Jason one. We didn’t think we’d play much. We were ready if they needed us."

First-year coach Chris Barnes didn’t wait long to call upon the two and their performances were key factors as he won his coaching debut with the Fighting Tigers.

"College was different. High school (coaching) is a lot tougher," said Barnes who coached Ohio University Southern Campus the past two years.

"Josh practiced all of one day and Roman two. We told them we weren’t going to use them much. But (Ryan) McClellan cut his forehead and was out, so we went with them and I can’t say enough about what they did."

Ironton started two freshmen – Craig Lewis and Andrew Harvey – and a sophomore – Andy Brown – in the make-shift lineup. Lewis came through with 14 points and nine rebounds while Harvey had seven points.

Jason White also had nine rebounds and Fry five.

"Lewis and Harvey really stepped it up for a couple of freshmen," said Barnes.

Coal Grove, 0-3, continued to struggle with its offense. the Hornets were just 20 of 67 from the field for 29.8 percent.

"The kids play super hard, we’re just having trouble scoring right now," said Hornets coach Darrell Humphreys.

"We’ve played good defense the first couple of games, but we lost our defensive structure. We had no weakside help and Harmon was able to hit a few shots."

Jason Winters came off the bench to lead the Hornets with 15 points. Ryan Young added 9 points and six rebounds while Brandon Hicks had 9 points and five boards.

Ironton jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed.

Down 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, Coal Grove managed to tie the game on two occasions in the second quarter, but a layup by Harmon gave Ironton the lead for good at 18-16 with 5:08 on the clock.

Harmon scored 8 more points the rest of the quarter including two foul shots with 21 seconds left that gave the Fighting Tigers a 28-21 halftime lead.

Ironton extended the lead to 40-26 on a 3-pointer by Harmon at the 3:59 mark of the third quarter and it was 45-34 at the end of the quarter.

Coal Grove kept inching its way back and got within 53-50 on a 3-pointer by Dean Mader with five seconds left.

The Hornets were forced to foul and Fry sank the first of two shots for a 54-50 lead.

Winters hit an uncontested 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"That’s a testament to our kids that they battled back. It was just a case of too little, too late," said Humphreys.