Four local teams seek district titles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

ATHENS — The Division III district tournament has a strong local flavor.

Although the district tournament doesn’t have Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors, there are four local flavors as the Ironton Fighting Tigers, Chesapeake Panthers, Fairland Dragons and Wheelersburg Pirates are all in contention for regional berths.

The schedule begins with the Division II game at noon followed by Division IV at 2 p.m. The Div. III tripleheader gets underway at 4 p.m. as Fairland (12-10) and Wheelersburg (20-2) meet, thus guaranteeing one local team will advance to the regional semifinals.

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Chesapeake (20-2) will play the Adena Warriors (19-3) at 6 p.m. followed by the final game at 8 p.m. as Ironton (17-5) takes on the North Adams Green Devils (18-4).

All games are at Ohio University, the same site of the regional tournament schedule Wednesday and Saturday. The Fairland-Wheelersburg winner will play the Chesapeake-Adena winner at 6:15 p.m. in the regionals followed by the Ironton-North Adams winner against the eastern district champion which is expected to be unbeaten Bellaire and Nate Davis (37.8 points per game).

Fairland has been the Cinderella of the tournament. After a 10-10 regular season, the Dragons beat Northwest 57-52 in overtime and upset Alexander 57-48.

Chesapeake will have to rely on its defense to slow down the high-scoring Warriors. Nick Millken averages 14 points, Michael Hitchens 12.7 and Andrew Sowers 12.

Ironton has its own defensive headache. The run-and-gun Green Devils love the long-range shots led by Drew Copas (11.9) and Kyle Hughes (11.6).