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Ironton raises energy level in 75-57 win over Knights

Ironton Fighting Tigers' senior guard Malcolm Morton had four assists in a 75-57 win over Cabell Midland Thursday in the St. Joe Invitational Gold Brackett. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos.com)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Some people eat energy bars. Others drink those five-hour energy fluids.

Ironton coach Mark LaFon prefers fresh legs.

Using a more liberal substitution plan, the Ironton Fighting Tigers surged past the Cabell Midland Knights Thursday in the semifinals of the Huntington St. Joe Invitational Gold Division.

“I didn’t like the level of energy I’ve been seeing,” said LaFon. “We’ve won 75 percent of our games using a liberal substitution plan. It worked then and I’m going back to it. I saw a piece of that tonight.”

The energy level saw Ironton shoot 55 percent from the field as they connected on 31 of 56 attempts. Part of the improvement was due to the substitution policy, but it was also the result of being more selective with their shots and getting the ball inside.

Trey Fletcher was the beneficiary of the inside game as he scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Travis Elliott had 11 points and five rebounds while Josh Murphy added five points and seven rebounds.

Zac Carter finished with 12 points while Trevor White scored 10 and had three assists. Malcolm Morton had four assists.

“We’re going to get the ball inside one way or another,” said LaFon. “We have some good post players and they’re called post players for a reason.”

Ironton (7-4) will play Chesapeake at 9 p.m. Saturday in the Gold Division championship. The Panthers won an earlier meeting against Ironton 78-70.

Cabell Midland (2-9) stayed close in the first half behind the long-range shooting of Cole Shull and Trent Porter. Shull hit four of his six shots from behind the arc in the first half while Porter had one of his three bombs.

Porter finished with 24 points and Shull had 20.

Fletcher scored half of Ironton’s 16 points in the first quarter but Shull hit three triples and it was 16-11.

A 3-pointer by Porter got the Knights within 26-24 late in the half, but Fletcher made two foul shots and White scored two baskets inside over the final minute of the half and the lead was 32-25 at the break.

Carter drained a trifecta to begin the second half, Fletcher made a layup off a slick pass from Elliott and then Elliott scored to open up a 39-25 lead.

Ironton scored the final six points of the third quarter including a steal and layup by Carter that made it 50-35.

The Fighting Tigers led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter when LaFon emptied the bench.

Cabell Midland 11 14 10 22 = 57

Ironton 16 16 18 25 = 75

CABELL MIDLAND (2-9): Nicholas Gilkerson 0 0 0-0 0, Sawyer Beckett 0 1 0-0 3, Brian Lawhorn 0 0 2-2 2, Tyler Brown 1 0 2-3 4, Austin Trimboli 0 0 0-0 0, Stephen Matthews 0 0 0-0 0, Cole Shull 0 6 2-2 20, Steven Bennett 0 0 0-0 0, Dustin Scarberry0 0 0-0 0, Zach Hardman 0 0 0-0 0, Trent Porter 5 3 5-6 24, Niles Dailey 2 0 0-2 4. Totals: 18-53 11-15 57. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: Brown. 3-point goals: 10-25. Rebounds: 8 offensive, 14 defensive – 22 (Daily 5, Porter 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 5. Steals: 8 (Shull 3, Matthews 2). Turnovers: 9.

IRONTON (7-4): Josh Glover 2 0 2-2 6, Travis Elliott 4 0 3-4 11, Zac Carter 4 1 1-2 12, Josh Murphy 2 0 1-2 5, Trey Fletcher 10 0 2-2 22, Nick Culbertson 1 0 0-0 2, Malcolm Morton 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor White 5 0 0-0 10, Tanner Schweickart 0 0 0-0 0, Tanner Dutey 0 0 0-0 0, Geoff Delawder 0 0 0-0 0, Nolan Johnson 2 0 3-4 7. Totals: 31-56 12-16 75. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-5. Rebounds: 13 offensive, 29 defensive = 42 (Fletcher 8, Murphy 7, Elliott 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Assists: 16 (Morton 4, White 3). Steals: 4. Turnovers: 10.