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Kochendoerfer nets 34 but Ironton falls

ASHLAND, Ky. — Tim Kochendoerfer kept finding the basket, but the Ironton Fighting Tigers couldn’t find the right thing to do.

Ironton wasted a career-high 34-point scoring performance by Kochendoerfer as the Fighting Tigers committed 25 turnovers and dropped their season opener to the Ashland Tomcats 67-55 Saturday night.

“I can’t expect us to be in midseason form when we have so many players who haven’t been out here very long because of football, but it seemed like we kept finding ways to make mistakes,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“But we can’t use that as an excuse. We have to fight through those things.”

Kochendoerfer was a one-man scoring machine in the first quarter as he scored 17 of Ironton’s 20 points to give the Fighting Tigers a 20-12 lead.

“What Timmy did was no surprise because he’s worked for it in the off-season,” said LaFon.

The turning point came when as Ironton saw a 10-point lead disappear in the second quarter and become a 3-point halftime deficit, due mainly to the absence of Kochendoerfer.

Travis Elliott made two layups as Ironton took a 24-14 lead early in the second quarter, but Kochendoerfer was called for two offensive fouls and went to the bench after giving Ironton a 26-19 lead.

It was the only shot Kochendoerfer took in the quarter.

Ashland ran off 10 unanswered points to end the half and grab a 29-26 lead.

Turnovers were a problem for Ironton in their opener. The Fighting Tigers had 16 of their errors in the first half including one on each of their final six possessions of the half.

“When you start reaching that 20 mark (in turnovers), you’re not going to win too many games,” said LaFon.

Kochendoerfer went back in the lineup to start the second half and scored 9 including a 3-pointer to tie the game at 42-42.

Zac Carter had a layup at the 2:19 mark for his first career basket that got Ironton within 45-44, but a layup by Cody Withrow and a triple by Ryan Whetzel put Ashland up 50-44 at the end of the quarter.

Kochendoerfer hit two straight jumpers and a triple by J.P. Taylor sent Ironton on top 51-50 with just under six minutes to play.

Ashland went on a 10-4 run thanks to 3-pointers by Withrow and Dylan Delaney. The Tomcats had 11 field goals in the second half and seven were from behind the arc. They made one 3-poiner in the first half.

A layup by Malcolm Morton gave Ironton its last lead at 53-52. Delaney hit another triple and Withrow a layup and it was 57-53.

Kochendoerfer’s layup cut the deficit to two only to have Withrow hit a long 3-pointer and a layup for a 62-55 lead with 1:49 left. The Tomcats converted 5 of 7 from the line over the final minute to pad the lead.

Withrow had 21 points — all in the second half — to lead Ashland. Skaggs had 17 points and Whetsel 15.

Ironton hosts Chesapeake Tuesday. The Panthers beat Wheelersburg 62-53 Saturday.

Ironton 20 6 18 11 = 55

Ashland 12 17 21 17 = 67

IRONTON (0-1): Malcolm Morton 2 0 2-2 6, Tommy Waginger 0 1 0-0 3, Travis Elliott 3 0 1-2 7, Tim Kochendoerfer 11 4 0-0 34, Erin Edens 0 0 0-0 0, J.P. Taylor 0 1 0-2 3, Zac Carter 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Murphy 0 0 0-0 0, Michael Turner 0 0 0-0 0, Michael Lawless 0 0 0-0 0, Robbie Webb 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-54 3-6 55. 3-point goals: 6-17. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 11-29=40 (Taylor 10, Edens 8, Kochendoerfer 8). Assists: 7 (Waginger 3, Morton 2). Steals: 7 (Carter 3). Turnovers: 25.

ASHLAND (3-0): Will Skaggs 6 1 2-4 17, Dylan Delaney 1 1 0-0 5, Ryan Whetsel 1 3 4-4 15, Chris Johnson 3 0 0-0 6, Cody Withrow 3 3 6-7 21, Sam Hunter 0 0 1-2 1, Drew Royalty 0 0 0-0 0, Wes Griffith 0 0 0-0 0, Tyler Gibbs 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 23-61 13-17 67. 3-point goals: 8-21. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10-20=30 (Skaggs 9, Whetsel 6, Withrow 5). Assists: 8 (Skaggs 3). Steals: 5 (Johnson 2, Skaggs 2). Turnovers: 12.