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Ironton scripts another victory

VINCENT — TV shows are virtually the same. There’s a different plot each week, but in the end the good guys win.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers have been using TV series-like scripts this season. A different player might be one of the heroes each game, but in the end they still win.

Ironton had another winning script Friday as they beat the Warren Warriors 55-53 in a key Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.

Tim Kochendoerfer got a nomination for best scorer in a sports drama as he hit several key baskets and led Ironton with a game-high 23 points. But the rest of the team was nominated for best supporting cast with their clutch play.

“With every game we have someone step up in a different way. That’s what it takes to have a successful season,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“I thought we played well. We played well in this gym and this place is loud. I repeated myself a lot of times. But we handled it well.”

Ironton opened the game with six straight points before Warren came back to take its only lead of the half at 7-6 on a 15-footer by Clay Ellenwood with 3:33 on the clock.

A trey by Kochendoerfer gave Ironton the lead back at the 3:20 mark and the Fighting Tigers were up 15-11 when the quarter ended thanks to a 19-footer by J.P. Taylor.

Ironton opened up a 19-11 lead on a pair of free throws by Travis Elliott and a 13-footer by Kochendoerfer at the 6:40 mark.

Grant Venham’s layup snapped Ironton’s streak only to have Taylor get a layup with 5:23 left in the half.

Warren came back to tie the game at 21-21 on two free throws by Venham as Ironton went scoreless until Kochendoerfer followed up his own missed shot with four seconds left to put the Fighting Tigers up 23-21 at the break.

“They made a point to make it tough on Timmy and there were times he tried to force some shots because he tries to put so much on his shoulders. We need him to score and he made some big shots for us,” said LaFon.

The Warriors came out strong in the second half and took a 29-23 lead on a 3-pointer by Andrew Lang.

The Fighting Tigers finally drew even on a 3-point play by Elliott and a layup by Trey Fletcher with 1:12 on the clock.

Lang hit a foul shot to put Warren back on top only to have Elliott get a layup off a pass from Kochendoerfer. Ironton led 40-36 at the end of the quarter when Kochendoerfer buried a trey with three seconds on the clock.

“We were missing shots and then we forced some shots. We started to slow it down and that’s not our game, that’s their game. We had to do that to get things going right for us. It was a scary time for me,” LaFon said of the third quarter.

Two foul shots by Elliott and a layup by Taylor gave Ironton a 44-36 lead to begin the fourth quarter.

But Warren came right back and cut the deficit to 46-45 on a 3-pointer by Lang and two free throws by Branden Fivecoait.

Kochendoerfer answered yet again with a layup and two foul shots to put the lead at 50-45. Fivecoait’s two free throws sliced the Ironton lead to 50-47 with 2:30 to go.

Malcolm Morton then turned clutch as he hit a 12-footer with 1:05 left to put Ironton up 52-47. After a layup by Venham, he converted two free throws with 21 seconds on the clock to make it 54-49.

Fivecoait made a layup and Warren immediately fouled Taylor who hit the second of two shots with eight seconds to go and put the Warriors in a two-possession hole and no timeouts.

Fivecoait had a put-back just before the buzzer to set the final score.

The win gave Ironton an 11th straight win and their success story this season shows a 12-2 record and a league-leading 9-0 record.

Warren (11-4, 5-4) had its seven-game winning streak snapped. Fivecoait had 15 points, Lang 12 and Venham 13 points — but only four in the second half.

Ironton 15 8 17 15 = 55

Warren 11 10 15 17 = 53

IRONTON (12-2, 9-0): Malcolm Morton 1 0 4-4 6, Travis Elliott 2 0 4-6 8, J.P. Taylor 3 0 1-4 7, Tim Kochendoerfer 7 2 3-3 23, Zac Carter 2 1 0-0 7, Erin Edens 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Murphy 0 0 0-0 0, Trey Fletcher 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 20-42 12-19 55. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 3-8. Rebounds: 10 offense, 14 defense = 24 (Elliott 5, Kochendoerfer 4, Taylor 4, Carter 4). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 5(Kochendoerfer 2, Morton 2). Steals: 10 (Morton 4, Taylor 2, Carter 2). Turnovers: 14.

WARREN (11-4, 5-4): Grant Venham 5 0 3-3 13, Andrew Lang 1 3 1-2 12, Clay Ellenwood 2 0 0-0 4, Branden Fivecoait 4 0 7-9 15, Jace Knost 2 0 5-7 9, Jeremy Hastie 0 0 0-0 0, Austin Henthorne 0 0 0-0 0, Justin Hilverding 0 0 0-0 0, Josh Wendlin 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-43 16-21 53. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Lang (4th 3:34). 3-point goals: 3-13. Rebounds: 14 offense, 17 defense = 31 (Venham 10, Fivecoait 6, Knost 5). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 1. Steals: 3. Turnovers: 16.