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Ironton#8217;s bench keys win over Ashland

What Mark LaFon didn’t know hurt the Ashland Tomcats.

With only two starters back and a late start with some players due to the football playoffs, Ironton showed LaFon what they could do in a 61-44 win over the Tomcats Tuesday in the Fighting Tigers season opener.

“We put the keys to the game on the board and one key was our bench has to outplay their bench,” LaFon said. “To be honest I didn’t know what to expect.”

The bench produced 32 points, mostly due to Chad Miller who had a game-high 20 points to go with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Miller, who did not play last season but was the sixth man on the 2005 state runner-up team, joined newcomer Tyler Shoemaker to ignite Ironton.

Shoemaker, who played at Chesapeake last season, had 7 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocked shots.

“Chad and Tyler are athletes. I’m not even looking at the point totals. They grabbed all the rebounds and made the steals and played great defense,” LaFon said.

“We’re not in shape to play the way we want. That’s why we were running guys in and out. We played with a lot of aggression.”

Ashland (1-1) was coming off a season-opening 83-62 win over Rock Hill but ran into a physical Ironton team with a tenacious defense.

LaFon said another key to the win was the defense as well as holding down the Tomcats on the boards. Ironton held a 27-23 rebound advantage.

“Andy Colegrove and T.J. Keith battled them on the boards inside and made it tough. That’s why the guard got so many rebounds,” LaFon said.

Ironton went out to a 3-0 lead as Shoemaker made a foul shot and later turned a steal into a layup.

The Fighting Tigers never trailed.

The lead went to 11-4 at the end of the quarter and a layup by Miller with 1:14 left in the half opened up a 25-14 lead.

Ashland made four foul shots at the end of the half to get within 25-18. The Tomcats were 16 of 20 from the line for the game.

A 3-pointer by Ryan Bonner got the Tomcats within 27-23 with six minutes left in the third quarter, but they could get no closer.

Miller, Dustin Greene and Colegrove all scored at the end of the third quarter as the lead went to 43-31.

Back-to-back baskets by Greene — one off a steal and nifty pass by Marc Carter — opened up a 53-37 lead.

Ashland4141313=44

Ironton11141818=61

ASHLAND (1-1):

Drew McDavid 4 0 6-8 14, Matt Thomas 2 0 2-2 6, Robbie Wilcox 2 1 2-2 9, Ryan Bonner 1 1 3-4 8, Danny Coleman 1 0 2-2 4, Tyler Salyer 0 0 0-0 0, Shane Fairland 1 0 1-2 3, Cody Plank 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-42

16-20

44. 3-point goals: 2-14. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 9-14=23 (Bonner 7, McDavid 6). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 5. Steals: 3. Turnovers: 21.

IRONTON (1-0):

Marc Carter 2 0 2-2 6, Alstan Carter 4 0 0-0 8, Tyler Shoemaker 3 0 1-2 7, T.J. Keith 2 0 0-0 4, Andy Colegrove 2 0 0-0 4, Chad Miller 10

0

0-1

20, Zach Christensen 1 0 0-0 2, Shannon Hensley 0 0 0-0 0, Drew Kuehne 1 0 0-1 2, Dustin Greene 4 0 0-0 8,. Totals: 29-57 3-6

61. 3-point goals: 0-6. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10-17=27 (Shoemaker 9, Colegrove 7, Miller 5). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 14 (Shoemaker 5, M. Carter 4, Miller 3, A. Carter 2). Steals: 13 (Shoemaker 4, M. Carter 3, Miller 3, A. Carter 2, Christensen 1). Blocked shots: 3 (Shoemaker 3). Turnovers: 12.

Reserves: Ironton 39, Ashland 34 (OT). Ironton: Cory McKnight 9, Lukas Morris 5, Jonathan Schweickart 5).