Valley takes advantage of Fighting Tigers’ inexperience

Published 2:17 am Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Jim Walker


LUCASVILLE — Uh-oh, Dorothy. We’re not in Kansas any more.

The young and inexperience Ironton Fighting Tigers got introduced quickly to varsity basketball as they fell to the Lucasville Valley Indians 69-39 Tuesday in their season opener.

Ironton reached the Final Four last season but lost all five starters and seven of their top nine players. And it didn’t help the Fighting Tigers who opened against one of the region’s top teams.

“There weren’t a lot of expectations. Valley is on of the best teams in the region. There’s no secret,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“We didn’t take care of the ball. If you’re going to play at a high-level you have to take care of the basketball.”

Valley (2-0) used its size and experience to force eight Ironton turnovers in the first quarter and grab a 14-4 lead.

The Indians were up 20-6 when Ironton began a comeback.

Joe Bowling made a layup, Phillip Kratzenberg converted a three-point play and Tristan Cox hit a layup with 1:20 left in the half to get the Fighting Tigers within 27-20.

But Chris Flowers hit a 3-pointer and Jordan West banked in another triple just before the buzzer and it was 33-20 at the break.

The Indians then opened the second half with a 7-0 run before Bowling’s layup with just under five minutes left in the third quarter and it was 40-22.

Valley led 52-32 at the end of the quarter.

“You can’t dig yourself a hole like that when you don’t have a lot of offense,” said LaFon.

West had 18 points and Flowers 13 to lead the Indians.

Cox scored 12 points and Bowling 11 to pace Ironton.

“This is going to take some time. The kids played hard to the end. We guarded hard for a long time. We just had too many turnovers that led to easy points,” said LaFon.

“I was concerned with their size, but (Isaac) Sherman, (Desmond) Young and (Lucas) Campbell competed and battled with their big kids. I was happy with that.”


Ironton hosts Portsmouth Saturday. The freshmen will play at 5 p.m. followed by the jayvees and varsity.

Ironton 4 16 12 7 = 39

Lucasville 14 19 19 17 = 69

IRONTON (0-1): Tristan Cox 5 0 2-6 12, Joe Bowling 4 0 3-4 11, Phillip Kratzenberg 1 0 3-3 5, Nate Garred 1 0 0-0 2, Isaac Sherman 0 0 0-0 0, Lucas Campbell 1 0 1-2 3, Richard Crockrel 0 0 0-0 0, Desmond Young 3 0 0-0 6, Isaiah Brickey-Scott 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Klaiber 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 0 9-15 39. Fouled out: Campbell (4th 4:59).

LUCASVILLE VALLEY (2-0): Caleb Miller 2, Kyle Miller 8, Jordan West 18, Bryan Rolfe 8, Hayden Dunn 8, Chris Flowers 13, Ethan Clark-Holbrook 6, Zach Shope 2, Ryan Brown 4, Benji Justice 0, Blake Howard 0, Dakota Baker 0. Totals: 19 6 13-22 69. Fouled out: Rolfe (4th 5:00).