Ironton does enough to get past Pointers

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

The rollercoaster continues. But so does the winning.

After an emotional win over Columbus DeSales on Saturday, the Ironton Fighting Tigers lacked the same fire Tuesday but still managed a 54-42 win over the South Point Pointers.

“We did enough to win,” Ironton coach Mark LaFon said. “We didn’t play with a lot of emotion or intensity, but we did play hard. We just seem to play up and down with our emotions.”

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Dennis Gagai did have some fire offensively as he lit up the scoreboard for 24 points including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. Brandon Walker added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“I was feeling a lot better. The shots were falling for me,” Gagai said. “Right now we have to get motivated. It’s hard trying to get up every night.”

J.T. Terry led the Pointers (6-7) with 15 points and Chase McWhorter had 10. Jeremiah Taylor grabbed seven rebounds and had three blocked shots but was held to four points.

Ironton, now 10-4, held a 27-19 rebounding advantage and shot 20 of 47 from the field. The Pointers only manage to connect on 15 of 38 floor shots.

“We knew going in that South Point was very athletic and very physical. We screened the boards well and they still went up and got rebounds. We did a good job to hold Taylor to four points. Defensively we played well enough to win,” LaFon said.

A layup by McWhorter gave South Point a 10-9 lead with 16 seconds left in the first quarter, their only lead of the game. Trevor Allen’s layup off a pass from Gagai with two seconds on the clock put Ironton back on top for good at 11-10.

Walker hit a baseline jumper and followed up a missed shot to begin the second quarter while T.J. Keith had a layup to push Ironton’s lead to 17-10. A long 3-pointer by Gagai at the buzzer extended the lead to 28-20 at intermission.

Troy Allen came up with a steal that he turned into a three-point play to put Ironton ahead 38-22 with 4:02 left in the third quarter, the Fighting Tigers biggest lead of the game.

South Point closed the gap to 41-31 at the end of the quarter and trailed 41-33 on a 15-footer by Terry to open the fourth quarter.

But Gagai drained a 3-pointer to put the lead at 11 and his two foul shots and final 3-pointer of the night helped open up a 49-36 lead with just 2:33 to go.