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Ironton uses strong start, finish to win

It was a strong start and a strong finish. Things were a little weak in between.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers built a big lead in the first quarter, saw it whittled to 9 at one point, then had another surge in the fourth quarter en route to a 70-50 win over the Fairland Dragons Saturday.

Ironton (6-2) scored 50 of its points in the first and fourth quarters.

“The kids came out of the gate well and sometimes that’s good and sometimes that’s bad,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon. “We struggled a little in the second and third quarters, but they got it back together in the fourth quarter.”

Tim Kochendoerfer led Ironton with 21 points. J.P. Taylor had 13 points, Zac Carter 12, and Tommy Waginger and Travis Elliott had 9 each.

Matt Bloomfield had 25 points and Jon Baise added 9 for the Dragons (3-4).

Ironton raced out of the starting gate by taking a 21-2 lead as Taylor and Waginger drained 3-pointers and Elliott made a layup.

Bloomfield — who had all 7 Fairland points in the first quarter — hit a 3-pointer and a layup to make it 21-7, but Kochendoerfer knocked down a trifecta and it was 24-7.

Waginger made two foul shots for a 26-7 lead to start the second quarter, but Jonathan Holbrook hit a 15-footer and Bloomfield converted a 3-point play and it was 26-12.

Ironton went on another scoring spur as Kochendoerfer hit from 17 feet, Waginger made two more foul shots, Kochendoerfer scored on a baseline jumper and Erin Edens sank two free throws and it was 34-12.

Baise had a layup and Holbrook a 3-pointer to stop the run, but Edens had a layup and Elliott’s foul shot with four seconds left made it 37-19 at the break.

“We’re playing with more confidence and we played really hard on defense again. We’re doing a better job on the boards, but we didn’t take care of the ball very well in the second quarter and it was just things we were trying to do,” said LaFon.

Kochendoerfer buried another trey to start the second half for a 40-19 lead, but Bloomfield hit consecutive shots from the elbow, Baise had a layup and Eric Riley scored inside as the Dragons cut the deficit to 40-27.

Josh Murphy hit a short-range shot to stop the run and put Ironton up 42-27, but a runner by Bloomfield made it 42-29.

LaFon sent his starters back into the game and Elliott immediately drove for a layup off a screen by Taylor. Riley answered with an 18-footer and it was 44-31 at the end of the quarter.

Fairland got two quick baskets to start the fourth quarter and it was 44-35 only to have Taylor and Carter hit back-to-back 3-pointers and it was 50-35.

Evan Salyers’ got a layup for Fairland, but Kochendoerfer hit a foul shot, stole the ball and fed Carter for a layup, and Carter then converted a 3-point play and it was 56-37.

Chad Fisher’s triple cut the deficit to 56-40, but Kochendoerfer scored 6 straight points and the lead was 62-40.

“Right now we’re playing with confidence, we’re playing hard and we’re playing unselfish. But now we’re going on the road and we’ll see what kind of team we are when we have to play in a tough atmosphere,” said LaFon.

On Tuesday, Ironton plays at Gallipolis in a league game while Fairland hosts Tolsia, W.Va.

Fairland 7 12 12 19 = 50

Ironton 24 13 7 26 = 70

FAIRLAND (3-4): Chad Fisher 0 1 0-2 3, Matt Bloomfield 9 1 4-5 25, Evan Salyers 2 0 0-1 4, Jon Baise 3 1 0-0 9, Matt Campbell 0 0 0-1 0, Eric Riley 2 0 0-0 4, Jonathan Holbrook 1 1 0-0 5, Kyle Taubenheim 0 0 0-0 0, Blaine Fuller 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-56 4-10 50. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Fisher (4th). 3-point goals: 4-18. Rebounds: 8 offense, 18 defense = 26 (Baise 5, Salyers 5). Assists: 12 (Bloomfield 5). Steals: 4 (Fisher 2). Turnovers: 15. Blocked shots: Salyers 1.

IRONTON (6-2): Malcolm Morton 0 0 0-0 0, Tommy Waginger 1 1 4-4 9, J.P. Taylor 2 3 0-0 13, Travis Elliott 4 0 1-2 9, Tim Kochendoerfer 7 2 1-2 21, Erin Edens 1 0 2-2 4, Zac Carter 4 1 1-1 12, Josh Murphy 1 0 0-0 2, Jonathan Norris 0 0 0-0 0, Michael Turner 0 0 0-1 0, Charles Stewart 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-55 9-12 70. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 7-16. Rebounds: 9 offense, 28 defense = 37 (Morton 7, Kochendoerfer 6, Taylor 6, Edens 6). Assists: 16 (Carter 6, Morton 4, Kochendoerfer 3). Steals: 8 (Waginger 3, Morton 2). Turnovers: 16. Blocked shots: Carter 1.