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Ironton, Fairland bidding for district championships

ATHENS, OH — It’s one more step to a return trip.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers and Fairland Dragons are one step away from a return trip to the Ohio University Convocation Center, only it will be for the regional tournament.

The Division III district finals are Saturday with Fairland playing Oak Hill and former Chesapeake coach Norm Persin at 5 p.m. After Wheelersburg plays Huntington Ross at 7 p.m., Ironton takes on North Adams at 9 p.m.

Saturday’s winners advance to the regional tournament Wednesday at the Convo. The Fairland-Oak Hill winner will play the Wheelersburg-Ross winner at 6:15 p.m. followed by the Ironton-North Adams winner vs. the Eastern district champion at 8 p.m.

Oak Hill’s Garland Stiltner is the team’s leading scorer at 14.5 points. The Oaks won just seven games over the past three years but are one step from the regionals under Persin who left Chesapeake to return to the school where he began his career.

Fairland reached the district finals last season only to lose to Wheelersburg.

Ironton (17-5) is bidding for a school record fourth straight district championship and 12th overall.

North Adams is led by Drew Copas who has a 17.5 scoring average and Kraig Unger with a 12.3 average.

The two teams met in the district semifinals last season with Ironton winning 80-66.