Fighting Tigers, Panthers awaiting district semifinals

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

ATHENS — The tournament weekend has shifted.

Instead of Saturday and Sunday, the boys’ Division III district tournament semifinals being held this weekend at the Ohio University Convocation Center will be on Sunday and Monday.

Ironton and Chesapeake both have first round dates as they look to advance along the tournament trail.

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The Panthers (17-4) play a rare Sunday game as they meet the Piketon Red Streaks at 7:15 p.m. Zane Trace and McDermott Northwest meet in the first game at 5:30 p.m. The winners play in the district finals at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 13.

On Monday, Ironton (18-3) takes on Nelsonville-York at 8 p.m. in the second game on the schedule. Peebles (20-1) takes on Lucasville Valley in the first game at 6:15 p.m. The winners play in the district finals at 9 p.m. on March 13.

Piketon qualified for the state tournament last season for the first time. The Red Streaks are led by the trio of Evan Legg, James Lewis and Keenan Brush.

Legg, a 6-foot-2 junior, leads the team with a 21.2 scoring average. Other numbers include 4.4 assists, 3.8 steals, 50.8 percent shooting from the field and 82 percent from the foul line.

The 5-11 Lewis averages 10.4 points while the 6-6 Brush averages 8.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots.

“They’re a good team. I’m not sure if we match up with them very well,” said Chesapeake coach Ryan Davis.

The Panthers rely on a strong starting unit led by 6-2 Nathan Copley and 6-4 sophomore Austin McMaster. Copley averages 18.7 points a game and McMaster 15.4 points an outing.

Trent Saunders — a 6-2 senior center — is averaging nearly a double-double with 9.4 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Peter Hintz and 6-6 Colin Kennedy round out the starting unit.

The top player off the bench is senior Colton Lindsey.

Nelsonville-York upset Federal Hocking to earn its trip to the district tournament.

The Buckeyes main weapon is 6-2 senior Mychal Mitchell who averages 15.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game.

“Nelsonville-York is a dangerous team. They’ve got some athletes and they’re playing well at the right time of the year,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon. “If we don’t come to play and play hard, they’re more than capable of beating us.”

Ironton has utilized a team effort en route to its success. Although 6-3 senior Timmy Kochendoerfer averages 20.4 points a game, the Fighting Tigers use pressure defense and teamwork on offense in order to beat opponents.