Fighting Tigers upset Jeeps

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

The plan to double team Dennis Gagai and make the other Ironton players beat them worked.

For Ironton, that is.

With Gagai drawing a blanket the whole game, the rest of the Fighting Tigers proved they weren’t a one-man show as they upset the previously unbeaten South Webster Jeeps 62-61 Saturday night before a near capacity crowd.

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“We knew that’s what they would do. That’s what everyone does. The impressive thing is how the other kids were stepping up and asking for the ball,” Ironton coach Mark LaFon said.

Sophomore point guard Marc Carter, who took over this year when former Ironton point guard Brigham Waginger moved to South Webser, stepped up and scored 19 points to lead the Fighting Tigers.

“I heard all the talk and we wanted to prove a point. People didn’t think we could win,” Carter said. “I want to prove I could step up and do the same kind of things Brigham did for us.”

Alstan Carter scored 16 points and Brandon Walker had 10 points and seven rebounds. Michael Phillips led all rebounders with 10.

Waginger had 13 points and seven rebounds in his return visit. Nick Aldridge led the Jeeps with 20 points and eight rebounds. Josh Campbell added 11 points and Jordan Lower scored 10.

However, Lower was fouled on the final play of the game throwing up a wild 3-pointer and went to the line with eight-tenths of second on the clock and the Jeeps down 62-60.

Lower missed the first, made the second but missed the third.

“We were playing the best defensive team we’ve faced other than Chesapeake and (Brigham) Waginger is one of the best in the state at defending the point when he locks down. But Marc really stepped up,” Lafon said.

“We wanted it to be a wash and he exploited it.”

There were seven lead changes in the first quarter and then Ironton got a 3-pointer form Trevor Allen and six points by Marc Carter to take a 25-16 lead.

The Jeeps came back to take a 31-29 halftime lead on a 3-pointer by Campbell.

The game was tied 35-35 when Ironton went on a 11-0 run to make it 46-35 in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Lower cut the deficit to 48-40 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Jeeps trailed 52-48 after a 3-pointer by Campbell, but Ironton opened up a 57-48 lead on a foul shot by Phillips with 3:43 left.

South Webster got a 3-pointer and layup by Waginger to get within 59-57. Walker hit two foul shots for a 61-57 lead.

Campbell’s 3-pointer made it a one-point game with 22 seconds left and Alstan Carter’s foul shot with 12 seconds to play put Ironton ahead 62-60 and set up the final play.

“I can’t question the heart of these kids,” LaFon said. “I’ve really pushed them. It says a lot about Ironton kids and their effort.”