Gagai#8217;s record effort helps Fighting Tigers beat Trojans, 60-52

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

PORTSMOUTH - Dennis Gagai figured what he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him, but it sure caused the Portsmouth Trojans a lot of pain.

Gagai, a 6-foot-3 senior, scored 29 points and set a new Ironton High School record for career points as the Fighting Tigers held off the Portsmouth Trojans in the final game played in their current gym 60-52 Tuesday night.

“I never knew anything about it “ Gagai said of the record. “I heard people talking about it around school and I knew I was close, but I had no clue where I was or what it was.

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“I felt good all night. I had some shots (early) that hit the back of the rim. I was getting any shot I wanted. I was getting two many wide open shots not to shoot.”

Portsmouth (4-14) moves into its new high school next fall and was looking to win the final game in its 41-year-old facility. The Trojans challenged Ironton by make nine 3-point goals, two more three-point plays along with a four-point play.

“We knew it would be tough. This was their last game in this gym and they shot the lights out,” Gagai said. “There was some missed communication where the shooters were.”

Even though Ironton won the first meeting 77-40, Ironton coach Mark LaFon said his team was not taking the Trojans lightly.

“We knew we’d have a tough game here. We kept telling the kids they’re going to come out and play,” LaFon said.

Neither team shot well in the first quarter as Ironton took an 8-2 lead. The Fighting Tigers were 3 of 17 from the field and Portsmouth 1 of 14 after missing its first 12 shots.

“We missed layups and wide-open shots. We had chances to jump all over them and we didn’t. The second quarter they came back,” LaFon said.

Gagai scored 11 points in the second quarter including three from behind the arc. His 3-pointer from the right corner with 4:40 left in the half gave Ironton a 19-11 lead and gave him 1,387 points to eclipse the mark of Lauren Triplett.

A 17-footer by Gagai and a layup by Brandon Walker pushed Ironton ahead 27-20 at the half.

The Trojans hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter - three by Antonio Johnson - but it was three-point plays by Jordan Carter and Nicholas Chabot over the final 55 seconds that cut Ironton’s lead to 44-41.

“We can’t do anything about them shooting 3s, but we can do something about them driving down the middle of the lane and we weren’t doing that,” LaFon said.

Portsmouth tied the game at 48-48 on a 15-footer by Michael Valentine with 3:07 to play. Ironton answered with seven straight points - all from the foul line - to lead 55-48 with 2:03 to play.

Ironton was running a stall offense in the fourth quarter that forced Portsmouth to foul. The strategy worked as Ironton converted 12 of 17 shots from the line.

Besides Gagai’s points and six rebounds, Walker added nine points, five rebounds and four assists.

Johnson had 17 points for Portsmouth which shot 9 of 29 from 3-point range.

Ironton8191716=60

South Point2182111=52

IRONTON (12-5): Dennis Gagai 10-19 (4-7) 5-6 29, Alstan Carter 2-5 (0-0) 4-6 8, Marc Carter 2-6 (1-2) 1-2 6, Brandon Walker 3-=7 (1-2) 2-4 9, Michael Phillips 0-2 (0-0) 0-0 0, T.J. Keith 0-0 (0-0) 2-2 2, Trevor Allen 0-1 (0-1) 0-0 0, Troy Allen 0-1 (0-0) 0-2 0, J.J. Johnson 1-2 (0-0) 2-3 4, Jared Murphy 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Andy Colegrove 1-1 (0-0) 0-0 2. Totals: 19-44

(6-12)

16-25

60. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10-21=31 (Gagai 6, Walker 5, Phillips 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 10 (Walker 4, A. Carter 3). Steals: 11 (Gagai 3, A. Carter 3). Turnovers: 16. Blocked shots: 5 (Gagai 2, Phillips, Trevor Allen Troy Allen.

PORTSMOUTH (4-14): Antonio Johnson 6-15 (5-12) 0-0 17, Michael Valentine 2-10 (1-5) 0-0 5, Charlie Doll 4-14 (1-9) 0-0 0, Nick Chabot 1-2 (1-1) 1-1 4, Cody Farney 4-4 (0-0) 0-0 8, Shane Porter 1-4 (0-0) 1-1 3, Troy Parker 1-4 (1-2) 0-1 3, Jordan Carter 1-1 (0-0) 1-1 3. Totals: 20-54

(9-29)

3-4

52. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Porter (4th 2:03), Doll (4th 1:23). Rebounds: 10-13=23

(Farney 10). Team/deadball rebounds: 3.Assists: 7 (Valentine 3). Steals: 3. Turnovers: 17.

RESERVES: Ironton 43, Portsmouth 26. Ironton scoring: Zach Christensen 11, Dustin Greene 11, Bubby Johnson 9, Seth Kuehne 6, Drew Kuehne 5. Portsmouth: Cadogan 14, Stevens 8, Carter 3, Walker 1.