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Ironton routs Warriors in regionals

ATHENS — Pick your poison.

Double up on leading scorer Timmy Kochendoerfer and watch his teammates go to work. Spread out and cover the others and see Kochendoerfer operate.

Ironton continued to play its team concept in every phase of the game and cruised past the Eastern Brown Warriors 78-48 in the Division III regional semifinals Wednesday at Ohio University.

Kochendoerfer — who scored 15 points in three of the last four games — erupted for 29 points as Ironton advanced to the regional finals against Chesapeake at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with a state tournament berth on the line.

“I think what happened is teams began adjusting their defenses to stop Timmy and the others began scoring. We’ve had different guys step up all season long,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

But Ironton (21-3) had more than Kochendoerfer’s scoring. Trey Fletcher hauled down 14 rebounds as the Fighting Tigers dominated the glass 43-23. Kochendoerfer had nine rebounds.

J.P. Taylor finished with 12 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists while Zac Carter added 11 points.

“It doesn’t matter who is scoring. As long as we were playing defense our offense was good.

Ironton led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter but Kochendoerfer drained a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine points in the second quarter as the Fighting Tigers held the Warriors to 4-of-14 shooting and built a 37-24 lead.

Kochendoerfer was 10-of-13 from the field and 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

“I’ve always had trouble shooting here. I worked on my shooting in practice and I didn’t think about it tonight,” said Kochendoerfer.

Ironton had five turnovers over the first two minutes of the third quarter and Taylor Little scored five points to get Eastern within 37-29.

But Kochendoerfer scored seven straight points, Carter made two foul shots and Erin Edens got a layup off a pass from Taylor and it was 48-29 with 3:28 on the clock.

Ironton led 55-35 at the end of the third quarter and continued to stretch its lead in the fourth quarter even with the backups in the lineup.

LaFon said Ironton won’t have an easy time against the Panthers.

Although Ironton won and earlier meeting 66-63 in overtime at home in the second game of the season, Chesapeake squandered a five-point lead with 30 seconds left in regulation.

“We’re a better team than the last time we played. Chesapeake is a better team. You can’t beat this. Two teams from Lawrence County going for a chance to go to the state,” said LaFon. “I’m excited for it. There’s a lot of history in there.”

E. Brown 14 10 11 13 = 48

Ironton 18 19 18 23 = 78

EASTERN BROWN (15-7): Jordan Payne 3 0 0-0 6, Austin Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Tyler Knabb 4 3 0-0 17, Taylor Little 6 1 1-2 16, Clay Garrett 0 0 1-2 1, Zach Downing 2 0 0-0 4, Tanner Dabe 0 0 0-0 0, Brett Stout 0 0 0-0 0, Conner Purdin 0 0 0-0 0, Blake Doss 2 0 0-0 4, Chase Lawson 0 0 0-0 0, Clint Black 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-65 2-4 48. 3-point goals: 4-24 (Payne 0-3, Knabb 3-11, Little 1-6, Dabe 0-1, Purdin 0-1, Doss 0-1, Lawson 0-1). Fouls: 22. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10 offense, 13 defense = 23 (Garrett 7). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 2 (Smith 2). Steals: 13 (Little 5, Smith 3). Turnovers: 15. Blocked shots: 2 (Garrett, Dabe).

IRONTON (21-3): Malcolm Morton 0 0 0-0 0, Travis Elliott 1 0 3-4 5, Timmy Kochendoerfer 5 5 4-7 29, Zac Carter 3 1 2-2 11, Trey Fletcher 1 0 0-0 2, J.P. Taylor 2 2 2-4 12, Erin Edens 2 0 1-1 5, Josh Murphy 0 0 1-2 1, Michael Turner 0 0 0-0 0, Charles Stewart 2 0 2-2 6, Nick Culbertson 2 0 2-2 6, Jonathan Norris 0 0 0-0 0, Nolan Johnson 0 0 1-2 1. Totals: 26-44 18-27 78. 3-point goals: 8-13 (Kochendoerfer 5-6, Carter 1-2, Taylor 2-5). Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 9 offense, 34 defense = 43 (Fletcher 14, Kochendoerfer 9, Taylor 5). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 10 (Elliott 3, Taylor 2, Morton 2, Edens 2). Steals: 7 (Morton 3, Taylor 2). Turnovers: 24. Blocked shots: 2 (Fletcher, Kochendoefer).