Fighting Tigers quiet Russell, Vanhoose

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What do Ironton coach Mark LaFon and a badly beaten politician have in common? They’re both speechless.

LaFon was overwhelmed by the Fighting Tigers performance Tuesday as Ironton upset the Russell (Ky.) Red Devils 58-46.

“I didn’t have anything to say to them. If I started to tell them all the things they did right, we’d have been there for hours,” LaFon said. “I was so proud of them. They just battled.”

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Ironton (10-5) was facing a Russell team that was 18-3 coming into Tuesday’s game and featured high-scoring Jon Vanhoose, the school’s all-time leading scorer who is headed for the University of Evansville.

Not only that, but leading rebounder and second-leading scorer Tyler Shoemaker went down with 2:49 left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

“With all that was going against them, and to get down by 6 or 7 points, they didn’t quit. There were times when they could have folded but they just kept coming back,” LaFon said.

Leading the comeback win was Chad Miller who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter including a key 3-pointer and 7 of 8 at the foul line.

“The crowd got into it. We scored and that got the crowd going and that gets you motivated,” Miller said.

A key for the Fighting Tigers was the defensive effort of Alstan “The Clamp” Carter on Vanhoose who was coming off a 42-point performance last Friday.

Vanhoose was held to 15 points and just 4 in the second half. Carter said he didn’t deserve all the credit for the defensive effort.

“I had to watch three or four tapes to see what (Vanhoose) did,” Carter said. “They were running screens and we had to double team him and help until I got there. It was a team effort.”

Ironton led 6-5 with 3:57 left in the first quarter, but Russell got a layup and 3-poitners by Vanhoose to build a 16-10 lead at the end of the quarter.

A baseline jumper by Marcus Frazier gave Russell a 22-15 lead midway through the second quarter. A layup by Miller and two foul shots by Marcus Carter got Ironton within 26-23 at the break.

The Fighting Tigers finally regained the lead at 33-32 on two foul shots by Miller. After a trey by Vanhoose, ColeGrove connected on two foul shots and the game was 35-35 after three quarters.

Alstan Carter hit a layup off a nice pass from Miller to put Ironton up 38-37. Vannhoose made two foul shots but Miller drained a 3-pointer and Ironton had the lead for good at 41-39 with 4:46 left.

Russell began to foul with 2:38 to play and Ironton connected on 10 of 14 foul shots to preserve the win.

Miller also had 10 rebounds to go with his 20 points. Alstan Carter added 11 points.

Marcus Frazier had 13 points and Austin Robinson 11 for Russell.