Swanton rallies Dragons to win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2000

Aaron Swanton redeemed himself and in the process rallied the Fairland Dragons to a 50-47 win over the Ironton Fighting Tigers Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 05, 2000

Aaron Swanton redeemed himself and in the process rallied the Fairland Dragons to a 50-47 win over the Ironton Fighting Tigers Tuesday.

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After struggling with his game the first half, Swanton scored five key points including a 3-point goal that proved to be the winning basket.

"Aaron didn’t have one of his better games, but he showed a lot of character. A lot of kids would have hung their head, but he just kept coming back," Fairland coach Joey Thacker said.

Actually, Swanton wasn’t alone in his play. Thacker said a long layoff over the holiday break contributed to a sluggish performance by the entire team.

"I think part of the problem with everyone is because it has been 10 days since we’ve played and it’s hard to keep sharp. I thing we were a little rusty."

Ironton (2-5) had rallied in the third quarter to wipe out a 24-20 halftime deficit and take a 39-32 lead.

A follow-up shot by Michael Henry with 5:55 to play had the Fighting Tigers ahead 45-36, but they would not score again until Josh Harmon made a layup with 1:47 left that put the lead at 47-44.

Swanton then hit both ends of a one-and-one at the 1:42 mark and his 3-pointer with 50 seconds to play gave Fairland a 49-47 lead.

Ironton turned the ball over with 28 seconds left and was forced to foul. The Dragons missed two free throws and Henry rebounded. But a final shot by Ironton was blocked by Jay Capper and Josh Dunfee was fouled on the rebound.

Dunfee hit the second of his two shots with eight seconds left to set the final score.

Capper finished with a game-high 16 points and had six rebounds for the Dragons, 3-2. Swanton finished with 11 points and K. C. Jones grabbed 10 rebounds.

Jason Harmon led Ironton with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Chris Frazer came off the bench to score 11 points, Henry had 8 points and seven rebounds, and Roman Fry had seven rebounds.

Ironton was 22-of-47 from the field for 46.8 percent, but coach Chris Barnes lamented over just 5 points the first quarter and 8 the fourth.

"We can’t fault the defense, we just have to score more points," said Barnes. "We’re still struggling a bit. We gave this one away."

Fairland took a 10-5 first quarter lead as Buddy Massie hit a running jumper at the buzzer.

Ironton rallied to go up 18-16 on a layup by Drew Mains, but a 3-pointer by Massie made it 19-18 and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Dunfee had Fairland up 24-20 at the break.

Jason Harmon and Henry scored 6 points each and Josh Harmon 4 points the third quarter while the defense forced seven turnovers and Ironton outscored Fairland 19-8 to grab the lead.

"We came out the third quarter and played great. They changed defenses the fourth quarter and all we had to do was rotate the ball and the shots would have been there, but then we started throwing the ball away," said Barnes.

Capper scored 8 points the fourth quarter as he helped get the Dragons back in position to win the game.

"Jay was our focus the whole game. We told the players to sharpen up their game and get him the ball and we did. Jay did a good job of being aggressive," Thacker said.

Ironton hosts Boyd County, Ky., next Tuesday. Fairland travels to rival Chesapeake Friday for a key Ohio Valley Conference game.