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Defense rallies sluggish Ironton by Gallia

GALLIPOLIS – Don’t mistakes coach Mark LaFon for country singer Toby Keith, although he could help rewrite some of his lyrics.

“I wanna talk about me, wanna talk about I, wanna talk about No. 1, oh my me my.

“How we shoot, how we pass, how we’re flat and how we play ‘D,’ I like talking about my team. But occasionally, I just wanna scream.”

LaFon was talking only about his team following a 46-40 comeback win over the Gallipolis Blue Devils Friday, but it wasn’t very flattering.

Ironton had 15 turnovers, made only 12 of their 25 foul shots and shot a dismal 35.4 percent from the field.

“It was more about us than them,” LaFon said. “It was about us playing defense, blocking out and taking care of the ball. And we had no intensity. I’m just glad to get out of here with a win.”

Ironton did get away with a win and is now 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League. Gallipolis is 5-2 and 1-2.

The Fighting Tigers were only 6 of 19 from the field in the first half and 4 of 10 at the line. They led 7-2 before Gallipolis came back to take a 10-9 lead as they made 6 of 8 foul shots.

Each team managed only 7 points in the second quarter and it was 17-16 at the break.

But a steal and layup by Chad Miller ignited the Ironton defense and back-to-back baskets by Miller and Tyler Shoemaker tied the game at 24-24 with 2:33 left in the third quarter.

Alstan Carter came up with a steal and got the layup off a nice pass from Marc Carter as Ironton took a 28-26 lead.

“Their defense was the difference,” Gallipolis coach Jim Osborne said. “In the second half they made us do things we didn’t want to do and they did things we couldn’t stop.”

Gallipolis had 14 of its 24 turnovers in the second

half with 9 coming in the third quarter.

Shoemaker converted a 3-point play to put Ironton up for good at 33-30 with 5:23 to play.

He then scored 7 straight points including another 3-point play with 2:28 left that gave the Fighting Tigers their biggest lead at 42-32.

Gallipolis was forced to foul and Ironton managed to make only 4 of 10 attempts over the final 1:34. However, the Blue Devils scored just 5 points in the same span – all by David Rumley – with the final basket coming with three seconds left.

Shoemaker finished with 19 points, 15 in the second half. Miller had 13 points and 7 rebounds. T.J. Keith and Andy Colegrove grabbed 4 rebounds each.

“T.J. Keith did a nice job and he was as sick as a dog. He really gutted it out,” LaFon said.

Rumley topped Gallipolis with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Ironton971218=46

Gallipolis107914=40

IRONTON (5-2, 2-1): Marc Carter 0 0 4-6 4, Alstan Carter 2 0 0-2 4, Tyler Shoemaker 6 0 7-11 19, T.J. Keith 0 0 0-0 0, Andy Colegrove 2 0 0-0 4, Chad Miller 6 0 1-4 13, Zach Christensen 0 0 0-0 0, Dustin Green 1 0 0-2 2, Drew Kuehne 0 0 0-0 0, Shannon Hensley 0 0 0-0 0, Lukas Morris 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Schweickart 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-48

12-25

46. 3-point goals: 0-7. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 14-12=26 (Miller 7, Keith 4, Colegrove 4). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 5 (M. Carter 2). Steals: 9 (A. Carter 4, Miller 2, M. Carter 2). Turnovers: 15. Blocked shots: 2 (A. Carter 1, Shoemaker 1).

GALLIPOLIS (5-2, 1-2): Jaymes Haggerty 2 1 0-0 7, Jeff Golden 2 1 0-1 7, Cole Jones 1 0 4-4 6, Chris McCoy 1 0 0-2 2, David Rumley 5 0 5-9 15, Shawn Thompson 2 0 0-0 4, Rusty Ferguson 0 0 1-2 1. Totals: 14-34

10-18

40. 3-point goals: 2-7. Fouls: 25. Fouled out: McCoy (4th 0:21). Rebounds: 8-21=29 (Rumley 11, Thompson 6). Team rebounds; 2. Assists: 3. Steals: 7 (McCoy 3). Turnovers: 24. Blocked shots: 2 (Haggerty 1, Thompson 1).

RESERVES: Ironton 51, Gallipolis 48. Ironton scoring leaders: Cory McKnight 14, Jonathan Schweickart 13, Dustin Greene 9. Gallipolis leaders: Beau Whaley 8, Quint Nibert 7, Chris Armstrong 7, Tim Huffman 7.