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Ironton shocks Ashland

Ironton’s Zac Carter goes to the basket against a host of Ashland defenders. The Ironton Fighting Tigers beat the Ashland Tomcats Saturday, 69-68. (The Ironton Tribune / Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By Ryan Walker

For The Tribune

ASHLAND, Ky. — Key defensive plays and a late run in the final minutes would be the difference as the Ironton Fighting Tigers defeated the Ashland Tomcats 69-68 in front of a nearly full Anderson Gymnasium Saturday night.

Ironton struggled at times to get the ball in the basket with many missed point-blank shots. Meanwhile, Ashland and Corey Gregg were able to find the basket with several acrobatic shots in the early going.

“Their players made a lot off balanced or flat footed shots and we were playing good defense,” said Ironton head coach Mark Lafon. “That can be demoralizing, but our kids didn’t let it affect us and we fought back.”

Ironton would use a 9-4 scoring run to end the opening quarter to hold a 17-13 lead. But that lead wouldn’t hold for long as the Fighting Tigers began to struggle in find the basket.

As Ironton struggled to find points, Ashland capitalized by using a 17-6 scoring run to widen their lead.

A layup by Cody Withrow made it 37-27 with 1:15 remaining in the second period. That would be the largest lead for either team in the game.

Ashland would maintain the lead and go into halftime ahead 37-29.

“(Ashland) did a lot of things early on that ended up helping us comeback,” said Lafon. “We were able to start making more defensive plays and that helped get us back into the game.”

In the third quarter, the Fighting Tigers would make their own run to get back into the game as a Trey Fletcher layup would cap off a 14-2 run to give Ironton a 45-42 lead with 4:34 in the third quarter.

In that run, Zac Carter would score seven of his team-high 19 for the Fighting Tigers.

Fletcher finished the game with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

The lead didn’t last for long, as Gregg would give Ashland a 46-45 lead with 3:35 in the third. The Tomcats would keep that lead into the final period as Ashland led 54-51.

Gregg would score his final two points, for a game-high 24, on a jumper in the lane with 1:49 remaining to give Ashland a 66-62 lead.

But Ironton would make the final scoring run of the game.

The Fighting Tigers would go on a 7-2 scoring run to end the game.

After Ashland was unable to sink two free throws, Carter drove the lane and found a wide-open Trevor White underneath the basket for the game winning layup with just 15 seconds remaining.

White finished the night with 17 points, six rebounds and 4 steals.

A Gregg three-pointer missed with 4 seconds left to preserve the win for the Fighting Tigers.

Ironton 17 8 22 18 = 69

Ashland 13 24 17 14 = 68

IRONTON (9-1): Dion Brown 4 0 0-0 8, Darrius Boykin 0 2 0-0 6, Trey Fletcher 7 0 3-4 17, Zac Carter 5 2 2-5 19, Josh Glover 1 0 0-0 2, Trevor White 7 0 0-2 17, Aaron Stephens 0 0 0-2 0. Totals: 28-63 9-14 69. 3-point goals: 4-15. Rebounds 18-20=38 (Fletcher 13, Brown 9, White 6). Assists: 12 (Carter 7, Brown 2). Steals: 8 (White 4, Carter 2). Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: None.

ASHLAND (9-7): Logan Salow 2 2 2-2 12, Kyle Bush 1 0 0-1 2, Corey Gregg 10 1 1-4 24, Ryan Whetsel 3 1 2-3 11, Zach Hart 0 0 1-4 1, Cody Withrow 4 0 8-10 16, Steven Friley 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 25-56 14-21 68. 3-point goals: 4-18. Rebounds 5-13=18 (Withrow 6). Assists: 12 (Bush 3, Hart 3). Steals:5 (Bush 4).

Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.