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Ironton edges Coshocton 49-48 to reach D-3 regional finals

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Trey Fletcher (right) scores against the defensive pressure of Coshocton. Ironton won the regional semifinal 49-48. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

ATHENS — In the Sarah McLachlan song “Do What You Have To Do,” she sang the words:

“And fate has led you through it,

You do what you have to do.”

The Ironton Fighting Tigers will be humming it all the way to Saturday’s Division III regional championship game after a 49-48 come-from-behind win over the Coshocton Redskins on Wednesday at Ohio University.

Ironton finally did what they had to do in the second half after trailing by 11 points at halftime.

“What we needed to do was to do what we said we would from the beginning of the game. We were standing around, not attacking the glass. In the second half everyone was sprinting, running, diving. Everything you’d expect in a regional game,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

Ironton will now play Portsmouth at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in the regional finals. The winner advances to the state tournament against the Bowling Green regional winner.

One of the things Ironton had to do was take control of the boards. Trevor White had seven of his 10 rebounds in the second half and Aaron Stephens used his physical style to help shut down Coshocton’s Brandon Taylor.

“My job is to pin and rebound. When my chances (to score) come I make the most of them. My job is to rebound and be physical,” said Stephens.

Taylor had 17 points and 11 rebounds, but 11of his points came in the first half when Coshocton took a 27-16 halftime lead. He was just 2 of 4 from the field in the second half.

“We have a certain brand and style we want to play. It’s aggressive. It’s physical. I wish our kids would’ve done that for four quarters. Maybe I wouldn’t have been in such bad shape after the game,” said LaFon.

That “bad shape” came from the thrilling finish. Zac Carter — who sat out in the first half in foul trouble — scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half including the winning free throw with four seconds to play.

“Once Zac got in foul trouble we were hanging on for dear life at that point. I was thankful for it to be 11 (at the half),” said LaFon.

Brennan Bowman’s two foul shots tied the game with 41 seconds left. Carter then attempted a baseline jumper but was fouled. He made the first shot but missed the second.

Taylor got the rebound, dribbled up the court and passed across the court but the Redskins were unable to get off a shot before the buzzer.

“The second (free throw) felt good. It was a good thing it didn’t go in. They didn’t have any time to get off a shot. My heart’s still beating (fast),” said Carter.

Trey Fletcher hit a 3-pointer to start the game, but Coshocton took an 8-5 lead on a 3-pointer by Bowman at the 3:20 mark and didn’t trail again until Carter made two foul shots for a 42-40 lead with 5:52 to play.

“We came in the locker room and re-grouped. We went out and did what we were supposed to do,” said Carter.

The Fighting Tigers were down 36-31 at the end of the third quarter and then went on an 11-4 run at the start of the fourth quarter.

Taylor tied the game but White free throw and a put-back by Fletcher gave Ironton the lead at 45-42 with 4:26 left.

That set the stage for Bowman’s tying foul shots and Carter’s winning basket.

“They ran some nice sets,” said LaFon. “(Taylor) is not a selfish player. Stephens and Trevor and Trey wore him down.”

Fletcher had 13 points and seven rebounds for Ironton (19-5).

Coshocton — making its first regional appearance since 1983 — finished 18-6.

Coshocton 12 15 9 12 = 48

Ironton 9 7 15 18 = 49

COSHOCTON (18-6): Brennan Bowman 1 1 3-4 8, Clay Turner 2 0 0-1 4, Tanner Cognion 1 0 0-0 2, Drew Jarvis 2 1 2-2 9, Brandon Taylor 7 0 3-3 17, Curtis Blake 1 0 0-0 2, Evan Johnson 1 0 0-0 2, Brody Philabaun 2 0 0-0 4. Totals: 19-40 8-10 48. 3-point goals: 2-10. Rebounds: 5-18=23 (Taylor 11). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 13 (Bowman 6). Steals: 8 (Philabaun 2, Jarvis 2, Taylor 2). Turnovers: 11. Blocked shots: 1 (Taylor). Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Turner (4th 5:52).

IRONTON (19-5): Zac Carter 3 3 6-8 21, Trey Fletcher 4 1 2-3 13, Trevor White 4 0 1-2 9, Josh Glover 0 0 0-0 0, Aaron Stephens 3 0 0-0 6, Tanner Dutey 0 0 0-0 0, Nolan Johnson 0 0 0-0 0, Darrius Boykin 0 0 0-0 0, Joe Bowling 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-45 9-13 49. 3-point goals: 4-13. Rebounds: 10-17=27 (White 10, Fletcher 7, Stephens 5). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 9 (Carter 4, Fletcher 3). Steals: 8 (Carter 3, Fletcher 2, Dutey 2). Turnovers: 9. Blocked shots: 1 (Stephens). Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.