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Ironton tops Trojans

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Dion Brown (32) scores two of his 9 points in a 66-52 win over the Portsmouth Trojans on Saturday. (The Ironton Tribune / Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

When Ironton’s big two needed some help, Dion Brown came up big.

Brown had 9 points and played strong on the boards and defensively as he helped spark the Fighting Tigers to a 66-52 win over the Portsmouth Trojans on Saturday.

Leading scorer Zac Carter struggled with his outside shot most of the game and 6-foot-6 Trey Fletcher sat out most of the first half with foul trouble.

Enter Brown.

“When Dion does that and (Aaron) Stephens, too, that makes Trey even more effective. They did an excellent job playing their roles,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“Our guards as a whole stepped up and our big guys were active inside. They were strong and kept the ball alive.”

Carter led Ironton with 22 points with 12 in the second half including 10 of 10 from the foul line.

Trey Fletcher had 17 of his 19 points in the second half and grabbed 12 rebounds. Brown also had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and 2 blocked shots.

Wayne Evans had a game-high 23 points to lead Portsmouth (2-1). Dion McKinley had 8 points as he sat out part of the second quarter and most of the second half in foul trouble.

Ironton led the entire first half including 16-10 at the end of the first quarter on a 3-point goal by Tanner Dutey.

A foul shot by Carter put Ironton up 17-10 to begin the second quarter. Portsmouth closed to within 21-17 on two foul shots by Evans with 2:54 left in the half.

But Brown followed up his own missed shot, was fouled and hit the free throw to make it 24-17 at the 2:29 mark.

A foul shot by Seth Bratchett got the Trojans within 24-22 but a 3-point play by Carter made it 27-22 and Ironton ended the half up 28-22.

McKinley picked up two quick fouls to start the second half and went to the bench with four fouls.

A putback by Fletcher gave Ironton a 35-32 lead but Evans tied the game with his second 3-pointer of the quarter.

Fletcher hit a layup to give Ironton and he also followed up a missed shot moment later to make it 43-37 at the end of the quarter.

“We grew up tonight,” said LaFon. “Last year there were times when a team came back and we wouldn’t handle it. But when Portsmouth came back and tied the game, they didn’t back off. They kept attacking.”

Fletcher drained a trifecta to give Ironton its biggest lead at 46-37 to begin the fourth quarter only to have Evans hit another triple and then add a foul shot to make it 46-41.

A layup by Evans closed the gap to 52-47 but Darius Boykin hit a layup and Fletcher followed with a dunk and it was 56-47 with 3:27 to go in the game and he came right back with a followed up of his own miss and it was 58-47.

Carter then hit 4 of 4 from the line to make it 62-52 with 1:18 left and added a layup to seal the win.

Ironton plays at Waverly on Tuesday.

Portsmouth 10 12 15 15 = 52

Ironton 16 12 15 23 = 66

PORTSMOUTH (2-1): Wayne Evans 3 3 8-12 23, Dion McKinley 4 0 0-3 8, Zaide Whitley 1 1 1-2 6, Len Collins 0 0 0-0 0, Mason Jordan 2 0 0-0 4, Seth Bratchell 1 0 1-2 3, Jayllen Carter 0 1 0-0 3, Jovontae Edwards 1 0 3-4 5, L.J. Adams 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-53 13-23 52. 3-point goals: 5-24. Rebounds: 14-12=26 (Evans 7, McKinley 6). Assists: 7 (Evans 4). Steals: 5 (Evans 2). Turnovers: 78. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (2-0): Zac Carter 24 0 14-15 22, Trey Fletcher 7 1 2-2 19, Dion Brown 4 0 1-1 9, Tanner Dutey 1 1 0-1 5, Josh Glover 0 0 2-5 2, Nolan Johnson 2 0 3-4 7, Darius Boykin 1 0 0-0 2, Aaron Stephens 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-46 22-28 66. 3-point goals: 2-9. Rebounds: 15-20=35 (Fletcher 12, Carter 7, Johnson 9). Assists: 8 (Carter 4). Steals: 8 (Fletcher 3, Carter 2). Turnovers: 11.