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Ironton sinks Valley, 66-39

PEDRO — *NSYNC couldn’t have played it better.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers played the first half with a lot of players in tune with each other as they rolled past the Lucasville Valley Indians 66-39 Saturday afternoon to win the Division III sectional championship.

Ironton (16-5) forced 14 first half turnovers and held the Indians to 4 of 19 shooting from the field as they bolted to a 41-15 lead.

“We rotated a lot of guys in the first half, but even with so many guys we were in sync and that’s what impressed me,” Ironton coach Mark LaFon said.

LaFon said he knew his team was “in sync” after an early morning shoot around in which he went over a certain offensive set the Indians would run.

“We only talked about this one set this morning and when they ran it, Alstan (Carter) stepped in and stole the ball. When you only do it one time, you know you’re really locked in,” LaFon said.

The Fighting Tigers will now play at 7:45 p.m. next Saturday at Ohio University in the district tournament against the winner of the Adena and Peebles game. A total of six games will be played beginning at 11 a.m.

It was another balanced performance for Ironton. Alstan Carter had 12 points, Marc Carter 10, Chad Miller 9, T.J. Keith 7 and Andy Colegrove, Tyler Shoemaker, Zach Christensen and Dustin Green had 6 each.

One of the keys for Ironton was its rebounding. Not only did Ironton outrebound Valley 48-25, the Fighting Tigers had 18 offensive rebounds. LaFon said the rebounding of Ironton’s guards were impressive as Miller, who led everyone with 9, Green and the Carters combined for 26.

“We felt this would be our biggest mismatch on the offensive boards,” LaFon said. “We wrote on the blackboard one of the last keys to the game was crash the boards.”

Valley started the game with a layup by Chuck Gregory for a 2-0 lead, but Ironton went on a 10-0 run and finished the quarter with a 24-8 lead.

The second quarter was almost the same as Zach Call made a foul shot for the Indians only to have Ironton score 10 unanswered points en route to a 41-15 halftime lead.

Ironton backed off from its pressure in the second half but still built as much as a 28-point lead when Alstan Carter made a layup with 5:24 left in the third quarter and it was 48-20.

Call had 15 points and Gregory 10 to lead Valley (7-15).

Tickets for Ironton’s district tournament game will be sold through Friday during business hours at Bob Linn Sporting Goods and until 2 p.m. Saturday, and during school hours in the high school princpal’s office through Friday.