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Ironton steps up to beat Oaks for sectional title

Ironton's Josh Glover hits a baseline shot as he triggers a scoring surge in the third quarter that helped propel the Fighting Tigers to a 68-58 win over Oak Hill on Saturday in the Division III sectional finals. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos.com)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

JACKSON — Ironton’s stable had thrown a shoe and was a little lame, but the Fighting Tigers still managed to find some giddy-up.

Missing starter Dion Brown with a knee injury and starter Trey Fletcher playing on a bad ankle, Ironton limped into Saturday’s Division III sectional title game.

But Zac Carter scored 28 points, Josh Glover hit some key shots, Trevor White and Aaron Stephens got some needed board work, and some clutch foul shooting in the fourth quarter helped Ironton beat the Oak Hill Oaks 68-58.

“With Dion out, Trey hurt, to be outsized and for our kids to step up and get that win, that’s a big win,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“Beyond what it said on the scoreboard, just a big win of kids stepping out of their roles into something new against a big team that’s well-coached.”

The Oaks’s triangle-and-two defense slowed the Ironton offense early and it was just 31-30 at the half. But the Fighting Tigers finally got on track when Glover hit three big shots to begin the second half and started to pull away.

“(Glover’s shots) changed the game. That opened up the rebounding. That gave us another shooter they had to come out and guard,” said LaFon.

“It was a good defense and we got very frustrated early. Finally in the second half, the kids started stepping up and hitting shots that were available to them.”

Fletcher and White both had 10 points and Glover 9 as Ironton won its 26th sectional title overall.

Josh Kisor had 17 points and 7 rebounds while Nick Gaines added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Oaks (14-8).

Oak Hill used some strong shooting in the first half to stay close. The Oaks were 12 of 26 from the field including 5 of 11 from behind the arc. But they were 11 of 33 the second half and just 2 of 12 from 3-point range.

The lead changed hands three times in the first quarter and the Oaks tied the game twice in the second quarter before Carter hit a 3-pointer and Nolan Johnson a 10-footer to give Ironton the lead for good at 22-17 with 5:39 left in the half.

White’s layup had the lead at 31-24 but Luke Hammond and Kisor hit back-to-back triples and it was 31-30 at the break.

Glover’s steal and layup got the second half underway. He hit two more mid-range jumpers and it was 39-33.

Tanner Dutey and Carter had trifectas that gave Ironton a 47-37 lead before two three throws by Kisor made it 49-41 at the end of the quarter.

Oak Hill got within 62-56 with 32 seconds left on a layup by Drew Haislop, but Ironton used four free throws by Carter and two by Johnson to seal the win.

Ironton will play Wellston at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 5, at Ohio University in the district semifinals. Wellston beat Meigs 77-49.

Oak Hill 13 17 11 17 = 58

Ironton 15 16 18 19 = 68

OAK HILL (14-8): Chris Fairchild 2 0 1-4 5, Nick Gaines 4 2 0-0 14, Drew Haislop 1 2 0-0 8, Luke Hammond 0 1 0-0 3, Josh Kisor 5 1 4-7 17, Garrin Stiltner 0 1 0-0 3, Kyle Love 3 0 0-0 6. Totals: 23-59 5-11 58. 3-point goals: 7-23. Rebounds: 14-21=35 (Gaines 10, Kisor 7). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 9 (Gaines 4, Kisor 4). Steals: 3 (Haislop 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (16-5): Zac Carter 6 4 4-4 28, Trey Fletcher 4 0 2-3 10, Nolan Johnson 1 0 3-5 5, Josh Glover 4 0 1-2 9, Trevor White 2 0 6-6 10, Aaron Stephens 0 0 0-0 0, Tanner Dutey 0 1 0-0 3, Joe Bowling 0 0 0-0 0, Darrius Boykin 0 1 0-0 3. Totals: 23-47 16-20 68. 3-point goals: 6-15. Rebounds: 5-21=26 (Stephens 5, Fletcher 5, Carter 5, Johnson 4). Team rebounds: 1. Assists: 10 (Glover 3, Dutey 3, Carter 2). Steals: 10 (Carter 3, Fletcher 2). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.