Zornes makes successful return home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 9, 2003

CANNONSBURG, Ky. -- Roger Zornes has always been the winning coach when the Ironton Fighting Tigers played at the Boyd County Lions home court.

He still is.

Zornes, who coached the Lions from 1983 until last season, never lost at home against Ironton. Zornes is now the head coach at Ironton and Saturday night he returned home for the first time with similar success.

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Ironton used its press and some solid offensive play to beat the Lions for the first-ever at Boyd County, 59-50.

Zornes and his oldest son, Tyler, were honored by Boyd County prior to the game in a halfcourt ceremony. Tyler's name was place among the top players

in school history while Roger's banner was unveiled on the outstanding coaches' wall.

"I hate to come over and beat these (Boyd County) kids. I love them all to death," Zornes said. "But I love my kids at Ironton. When the ball goes up, all bets are off."

The Ironton coach had to love the way his team played against the streaking Lions who came into the game riding a five-game winning streak including a victory at Ashland.

However, he probably wasn't happy with some of the officiating. His youngest son, Joe, was ejected during a big pileup for a loose ball, and then he was slapped with a technical foul in the fourth quarter.

But there were more highlights than lowlights.

Derique Bacon was 8 for 8 from the field as he scored 16 points and also had six rebounds for Ironton. Josh Sands had 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals while Dennis Gagai added 10 points and seven rebounds.

"We face a tough situation and we hung in there and battled. Our kids stepped up at the end and made our free throws," Zornes

said. "I thought Josh (Sands) hit some big shots and so did Nick (Collins). They play a man-to-man and that set up some mismatches and Derique was one of them."

J. K. Roberts led the Lions with 20 points and five rebounds. Joe Howard, who scored 33 points Friday night, finished with 16 points including 7 of 10 from the foul line.

Zornes said employing a diamond press and making some defensive adjustments was the key to slowing down the Lions one-two scoring punch.

"Our diamond press bothered them," Zornes said. "We wanted to make it a fullcourt ball game. Howard and Roberts can shoot and we forced them to take some bad shots. Our diamond press finally wore them down."

The Lions (8-11) took a 4-0 lead at the start of the game, but Ironton roared back to take the lead for good at 16-9 by the end of the quarter.

A layup by Joe Zornes and a follow up shot by Bacon put the lead at 20-11. But the Lions sank 8 of 9 from the line in the second quarter and Roberts hit a baseline jumper just before the buzzer to cut the deficit to 26-25 at the half.

Ironton (15-3) went on an 11-0 run to begin the second half and open up its biggest lead of 37-25 at the 4:02 mark. The Lions then got hot and used a steal and layup by Howard with 35 seconds left to make it 41-35 at the end of the quarter.

Gagai hit a 17-footer to open the fourth quarter, but Roberts drained a 3-pointer and it was 43-38.

Zornes was called for a technical and Howard made the first of two free throws, but Brigham Waginger answered for Ironton with a 3-pointer and it was 46-40.

Sands short runner with 3:14 to go gave Ironton a 48-44 lead, and a foul shot by Gagai and follow up shot by Bacon extended the lead to 51-44.

The Lions were forced to foul and the Fighting Tigers converted 8 of 8 from the line over the final 55 seconds.


Boyd Co.9161015--50

IRONTON (15-3):

Josh Sands 4-10 (1-5) 2-2 10, Brigham 2-9 (1-3) 4-4 9, Joe Zornes 4-5 (1-2) 0-0 9, Nick Collins 1-3 (0-0) 2-2 4, Derique Bacon 8-8 (0-0) 0-3 16, Dennis Gagai 3-9 (1-6) 3-4 10, Andrew Harvey 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Patrick Kouns 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0. Totals: 20-43



59. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 9-24=33 (Gagai 7, Waginger 7, Bacon 6, Collins 6). Assists: 12 (Sands 4, Waginger 4). Steals: 12 (Waginger 4, Sands 3, Gagai 2, Bacon 2). Turnovers: 19.


Joe Howard 4-13 (1-7) 7-10 16, J. K. Roberts 8-19 (3-6) 1-1 20, Brooke Williams 0-2 (0-0) 0-0 0, Isiah Everman 0-3 (0-1) 0-0 0, Marcus Adams 1-3 (0-0) 4-4 6, Jake Hughes 1-3 (0-0) 2-4 4, Ryan Meenach 1-3 (0-0) 2-2 4, Brandon Slone 0-1 (0-0) 0-0 0. Totals: 15-47



50. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 8-13=21 (Roberts 5, Meenach 5). Assists: 7 (Howard 3). Steals: 10 (Howard 5). Turnovers: 19.