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Ironton to honor 1993-94 Final Four team

Members of the 1993-94 Ironton Fighting Tigers’ first-ever Final Four basketball team were: front row from left to right, J.J. King, Mike Freeman, Jermon Jackson, Marq Davis, Travis Wylie, Patrick Mahlmeister and Jason Click; second row from left to right, Cary Williams, Mark White, Sean Southers, Tom Kelley, Damon Pringle, Troy Sands and Ryan Guthrie. (File Photo)

Members of the 1993-94 Ironton Fighting Tigers’ first-ever Final Four basketball team were: front row from left to right, J.J. King, Mike Freeman, Jermon Jackson, Marq Davis, Travis Wylie, Patrick Mahlmeister and Jason Click; second row from left to right, Cary Williams, Mark White, Sean Southers, Tom Kelley, Damon Pringle, Troy Sands and Ryan Guthrie. (File Photo)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

What started unceremoniously finished as the most historic moment in Ironton basketball history.

Ironton began the postseason with a losing record but finished in the state tournament. The 1993-94 team will be honored prior to Friday’s game when Ironton hosts Peebles in a 20th anniversary celebration.

The jayvee game will begin at 4 p.m. with the team honored at the conclusion of the game.

The Fighting Tigers started the 1993-94 postseason sectional tournament with an 8-9 record.

Make that a deceptive 8-9 record.

Coming off a football playoff run that ended with a heartbreaking 13-10 overtime loss to Wauseon in the state championship game, Ironton’s basketball program started more than a month behind schedule.

In fact, eight members of the basketball team played football. All were vital members on both teams.

What ensued was a run through opponents at the next three levels as Ironton polished off Steubenville in the Class AA regional championship game to earn the programs’ first-ever berth in the Final Foul state tournament.

Ironton lost in the state semifinals at St. John Arena 65-62 to a familiar opponent: Wauseon.

Ironton was led by head coach Phil Rice who had guided the Fighting Tigers to six regional appearances. His assistant coaches were Paul Fugitt and Chris Barnes.

Team members were: Jermon Jackson, Tom Kelley, Sean Southers, Ryan Guthrie, J.J. King, Jason Click, Cary Williams, Damon Pringle, Mike Freeman, Marq Davis, Pat Mahlmeister, Mark White, Troy Sands and Travis Wylie.