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Working overtime: Tigers edge Peebles

ATHENS — Coach Mark LaFon told Malcolm Morton to create.

And, boy did he ever.

Trailing 68-66 with 11 seconds to play in the second overtime, Morton pushed the ball down the floor, stopped 30 feet from the basket and launched a 3-point attempt that found nothing but the bottom of the net.

The trifecta gave Ironton a 69-68 win over the fifth-ranked Peebles Indians and the Division III district championship Saturday night at Ohio University.

“I told J.P. (Taylor) I was going to hit one,” said Morton. “Coach called the play for me and I took it.”

LaFon said the shot by Morton exemplified the attitude of his team throughout the game.

“We never quit and just kept trying to make plays,” said LaFon. “I made a lot of calls for different players because no one was afraid.

“Not one guy was the key. Everyone made plays. J.P. had three steals in the first half that were big. Timmy hit some big shots. Travis Elliott and Trey Fletcher hit big shots. It was just everyone making plays.”

Elliott led Ironton’s balanced offense with 18 points. Timmy Kochendoerfer scored 15 while Morton and Fletcher had 11 each.

Blake Justice finished with 23 points but struggled from the perimeter. He hit two 3-pointers and his five two-point goals were all layups.

Andrew Seaman scored 20 points, Eric Collier 12 and Andy Countryman 11 for the Indians (23-2).

Ironton took an 8-2 lead to start the game before a layup by Collier got Peebles within 8-7.

The Fighting Tigers opened up a 16-9 lead on a putback by Kochendoerfer with 53 seconds left in the quarter. Another layup by Collier cut the deficit to 16-11.

A trifecta by Kochendoerfer staked Ironton to a 19-13 at the start of the second quarter, but he was whistled for his second foul moments later and sat out the rest of the half.

Fletcher made a layup to give Ironton a 23-17 lead and his layup with 1:56 in the half made it 25-19. But Seaman hit a 3-pointer with 1:43 on the clock and the Indians trailed 25-22 at the break.

Ironton took its biggest lead at 31-24 on a layup by Elliott with 5:53 in the third quarter only to have Peebles rally to tie the game at 31-31 on a layup by Seaman.

Seaman and Taylor traded 3-pointers before Countryman hit a trey for Peebles and Ironton led 44-41 at the end of the quarter.

Ironton maintained a slim led throughout the fourth quarter but a key play came early when a charge and blocking foul were called on the same play and Justice was still awarded the basket.

Kochendoerfer hit two keys shots including a layup with 47 seconds left that put Ironton up 58-53. But Seaman made a 12-footer and then hit a 3-pointer from the corner that tied the game with 11 seconds left.

Ironton missed two shots in the final four seconds and the game went to overtime.

Each team made a foul shot in overtime and the second extra period started at 59-59.

Peebles took a 66-61 lead in overtime with 1:52 left only to have Ironton battle back on a triple by Morton and two foul shots by Elliott with 1:11 left. Ironton forced a turnover but missed a shot and Justice scored on a runout layup with 11 seconds to go.

But then came Morton’s long 3-pointer with four seconds on the clock and Ironton had claimed the district championship.

Ironton will play Eastern Brown at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ohio University in the regional semifinals.

Ironton 16 9 19 14 1 10 = 69

Peebles 11 11 19 17 1 9 = 68

IRONTON (19-3): Malcolm Morton 2 2 1-2 11, Travis Elliot 7 0 4-5 18, Tim Kochendoerfer 4 1 4-6 15, Erin Edens 0 0 0-0 0, Trey Fletcher 5 0 1-1 11, Zac Carter 0 1 2-2 5, J.P. Taylor 2 1 2-4 9, Josh Murphy 0 0 0-0 0.Totals: 25-68 14-20 69. 3-point goals: 5-15. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 22 offense, 29 defense = 51 (Fletcher 10, Elliott 9, Edens 9). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 7 (Taylor 3, Morton 2). Steals: 13 (Taylor 4, Carter 4, Elliott 3). Blocked shots: 6 (Fletcher 2).

PEEBLES (21-1): Nathan Stephens 0 0 0-0 0, Blake Justice 5 2 7-8 23, Eric Collier 6 0 0-0 12, Andy Countrymen 1 2 3-5 11, Andrew Seaman 4 4 0-0 20, Tyler McFarland 0 0 0-0 0, Trent Arey 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 26-64 10-13 68. 3-point goals: 7-26. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10 offense, 23 defense = 33 (Seaman 11, Countryman 5, Collier 4). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 7 (Justice 2, Seaman 2). Steals: 11 (Justice 4, Seaman 3, Arey 2). Blocked shots: 3 (Seaman 2, Collier 1).