Ironton#8217;s DeFense DeFeats DeSales

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

In the land of the giants, the Ironton Fighting Tigers showed how to play with a big heart.

Despite a decisive size advantage and two of the state’s premier junior players, Ironton came up big with a 69-54 stunner of the Columbus St. Francis DeSales Stallions Saturday night.

Ironton outrebounded the much taller Stallions 29-20 with Brandon Walker pulling down 13. Alstan Carter had six.

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DeSales was just 19 of 47 from the field while Ironton shot 26 of 57. The Fighting Tigers had just five turnovers to 12 for the Stallions.

“Defensively we played great and we did a great job on the boards,” Ironton coach Mark LaFon said. “They tried to take Dennis (Gagai) away and Marc Carter and Brandon Walker really picked up the scoring slack.

“Brandon did a great job on the boards again, Dennis did a great job getting the ball to the open man and Marc really stepped up and made some big plays. But everyone we had contributed something. It was a great team win.”

Carter and Walker each scored 20 points. Despite his usual defensive blanket by the opposition, Gagai still had 15 points and handed out seven assists.

DeSales tandem of 6-foot-7 Alex Kellogg, son of former Ohio State and NBA star Clark Kellogg, and 6-4 Elijah Allen both came into the game averaging 33 points a game. Kellogg finished with six points and Allen had nine.

DeSales got 3-pointers from 6-5 David Knapke and Dane Johnson to go up 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. Carter scored seven points and Gagai four.

Walker had a putback basket with 5:13 to go in the first half to tie the game at 19-19.

Carter’s 3-pointer at the 3:20 mark gave Ironton its first lead of the game at 24-22. Ironton led by as many as seven points before leading 32-27 at the half.

After a DeSales basket to start the second half, the Fighting Tigers went up by eight points one a 3-pointer by Carter with 6:38 on the clock.

The Stallions got a three-point play by Allen to cut the deficit to 37-32. Ironton answered when Walker followed up a missed shot and it was 39-32 and it was 43-37 at the end of the third quarter.

Michael Phillips scored off a pass from Walker with 4:41 left to push the lead to 47-39.

“That basket by Phillips was big. They were trying to make a run and that took away their momentum and got us back on track,” LaFon said.

Gagai had a three-point play and Walker made four foul shots in a 15-4 run to end the game as Ironton put the game out of reach.

Knapke led DeSales (6-5) with 19 points.