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Effort rallies Ironton by Chillicothe, 51-48

If Ironton coach Mark LaFon was grading his Fighting Tigers, he would have to give them an “A” for effort.

And that effort would give his team a “W.”

After a lackluster effort that left them with a loss last week to Manchester, Ironton battled back from a 16-point first half deficit to upset the Chillicothe Cavaliers 51-48 Friday in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

“Before the game I just wrote on the board “Effort.” That’s all I was looking for. They came out and gave me effort. It was an ugly game. They let us hang around and then in the second half we started making plays,” said LaFon.

The biggest defensive effort came from Josh Murphy and J.P. Taylor on Chillicothe’s 6-foot-8 center Malik London. While London had 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots, he was limited to 6 points.

“Josh Murphy and J.P. Taylor did a great job on London. They just battled him and kept him away from the basket,” said LaFon.

Chillicothe led 28-12 late in the first half and 28-19 at the break. Ironton made just three field goals in the first half and shot a mere 15 percent. The Fighting Tigers finished the game just 15 of 53 for 28 percent.

A layup by Travis Elliott and a 3-pointer by Tommy Waginger got Ironton started in the second half and it was 30-24. A layup by Elliott and two by Tim Kochendoerfer closed the gap to 41-37 at the end of the quarter.

Elliott had another layup to begin the fourth quarter, Waginger hit an 18-footer, then stole the ball and followed up his own missed shot to give Ironton a 43-41 lead.

Kochendoerfer’s 12-footer from the baseline opened up a 45-41 lead with 5:27 left.

A steal by Malcolm Morton led to a driving layup by Taylor as Ironton opened up its biggest lead at 49-43 with two minutes to play.

But Michael Turner hit a 3-pointer for Chillicothe, then got a steal and fed London for a layup to get within 49-48.

Kochendoerfer came up with a steal and made two foul shots with 18 seconds left to put the lead at 51-48. Chillicothe missed a 3-point goal attempt and Elliott grabbed the rebound as time ran out.

Kochendoerfer led Ironton (2-2, 1-0) with a game-high 23 points including 12 of 13 from the line as his aggressive play forced Chillicothe to foul. He also had 9 rebounds and 6 steals.

Waginger and Taylor added 9 points each and Elliott 8.

Chillicothe (1-2, 0-1) was paced by Jalen Ragland and Turner with 12 each.

Chillicothe 11 17 13 7 = 48

Ironton 3 16 18 14 = 51

CHILLICOTHE (1-2, 0-1): Isaac Beverly 2-4 0-0 0-0 4, Tyler Manion 2-30-0 0-0 4, Michael Turner 4-8 1-4 1-2 12, Jalen Ragland 6-14 0-5 0-0 12, Malik London 3-4 0-0 0-0 6, Cameron Lowe 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Timmy Dunbar 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Johnson 2-4 1-1 1-2 8, Marcus Dunn 1-1 0-0 0-0 2. Totals: 22-50 2-4 48. 3-point goals: 2-10. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: Manion (4th 0:18). Rebounds: 4 offense, 25 defense = 29 (London 10, Turner 6, Ragland 5). Assists: 10 (Johnson 2, London 2, Turner 2, Ragland 2). Steals: 4 (Ragland 2). Turnovers: 19.

IRONTON (2-2, 1-0): Malcolm Morton 0-6 0-1 0-0 0, Tommy Waginger 3-8 1-8 0-0 9, Travis Elliott 3-5 0-0 2-4 8, Josh Murphy 0-2 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Turner 0-0 0-0 2-2 2, J.P. Taylor 2-5 1-1 2-2 9, Tim Kochendoerfer 4-13 1-3 12-13 23, Erin Edens 0-0 0-0 0-1 0, Zac Carter 0-0 0-1 0-1 0. Totals: 15-53 18-23 51. 3-point goals: 3-14. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 9 offense, 18 defense = 27 (Kochendoerfer 9, Elliott 5, Edens 4, Taylor 4). Assists: 7 (Taylor 2, Waginger 2). Steals: 14 (Kochendoerfer 6, Elliott 2, Morton 2). Turnovers: 10.