Ironton knocks off Gallipolis
By JIM WALKER
Tribune Sports Editor
GALLIPOLIS — Getting focused was the biggest task facing the Ironton Fighting Tigers.
Ironton had trouble getting focused for three quarters, but once they zeroed in on their target it proved to be a bull’s-eye as they pulled away in the fourth quarter to a 56-33 win over the Gallipolis Blue Devils Tuesday.
“We didn’t play with any passion or aggressiveness. Coming into the game we weren’t mentally ready to play. We have to do a better job of focusing in on the opponent at hand,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“Give Gallipolis some credit. They try to break you down and take the shot and they did a good job with that in the first half.”
Trey Fletcher scored 24 points — 16 in the second half —led Ironton (5-2). Travis Elliott scored 13 and Zac Carter finished with 11.
Ethan Moore had 10 to pace Gallipolis (3-6).
Gallipolis went up 4-0 at the start of the game before two free throws by Elliott put Ironton up 6-4 with 4:53 on the clock.
The Blue Devils tied the game at 6-6 before Nick Culbertson hit back-to-back field goals to give Ironton the lead for good at 10-6 with 2:10 left in the quarter.
Carter’s basket with five second left put Ironton up 16-12 at the end of the quarter.
Carter converted two of three foul shots with 1:45 left in the half to give Ironton a 26-20 lead only to have Joe Jenkins answer for Gallipolis.
Malcolm Morton’s steal and layup put the lead back at six before Jenkins made a layup off a pass from Tyler Eastman and it was 28-24 at the break.
Neither team scored for more than three minutes to begin the second half before a free throw by Carter. Jared Golden hit a baseline jumper to cut the lead to 29-26, but Elliott and Fletcher made layups to open up a 33-26 lead.
Eastman hit a 3-pointer and it was 33-29 but Elliott’s steal and layup gave Ironton a 35-29 lead. Fletcher sank the first of two free throws and it was 36-29 with six seconds left in the quarter.
Ethan Moore scored to start the fourth quarter for Gallipolis only to have Fletcher come right back and convert a 3-point play and the lead was 39-31 with 7:09 to go.
Fletcher’s putback with 5:58 to play gave Ironton a 41-31 lead. Carter then fed Fletcher for another layup and he then hit both ends of a one-and-one to open up a 45-31 lead.
“Fletcher did a nice job in the second half,” said LaFon. “He was much more aggressive in the fourth quarter which allowed us to open up some breathing room.”
Carter’s 18-footer, a spinning layup by Elliott and two free throws by Fletcher put Ironton up comfortably at 52-33.
The Fighting Tigers finished the game with an 11-0 run.
Ironton plays Saturday and Sunday in the Wellston National Hoops Classic.
Ironton 16 12 8 20 = 56
Gallipolis 12 12 5 4 = 33
IRONTON (5-2): Malcolm Morton 1 0 2-2 4, Travis Elliott 5 0 3-7 13, Zac Carter 4 0 3-5 11, Josh Murphy 0 0 0-2 0, Trey Fletcher 9 0 6-9 24, Nick Culbertson 2 0 0-0 4. Totals: 21-37 14-25 56. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 0. Turnovers: 16.
GALLIPOLIS (3-7): Ethan Moore 3 1 1-2 10, Joe Jenkins 3 0 0-2 6, Jared Golden 2 0 2-2 6, Tyler Eastman 1 1 0-2 5, Cody Billings 0 2 0-0 6, Austin Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Ben Robinson 0 0 0-0 0, Nick Saunders 0 0 0-0 0, Drew Young 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-41 3-8 33. Fouled out: Golden (4th 3:41). 3-point goals: 4. Turnovers: 18.