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Tomcats pull away from stubborn Fighting Tigers

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

ASHLAND, Ky. — Together again. Finally.

It had been 10 games since the Ironton Fighting Tigers had their entire starting lineup together.

With all the components in place Thursday, Ironton was applying the pressure on the heavily favored Ashland Tomcats.

But foul trouble, some costly turnovers and cold shooting in the second half prove too much to overcome as Ashland pulled away to a 61-41 wind Thursday.

“We played a pretty good team and we competed. We still had a chance going into the fourth quarter. The game was a lot closer than the score,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

Tristan Cox had 11 points and seven rebounds, Marques Davis 10 points, Bowling eight points and seven rebounds and Desmond Young seven rebounds for Ironton (0-13).

Ashland (12-3) won its fifth straight since being blown out 80-53 by Cincinnati Roger Bacon in the AIT championship.

The Tomcats had four players in double figures. Ross Thompson had 14, Nick Miller 13, Damantie Thornton 12 and Christian Villers 11. Steven Friley had 12 rebounds and Miller 11.

Ironton lead almost the entire first quarter except for a 2-2 tie. A layup by Lucas Campbell gave Ironton a 12-9 lead at the end of the quarter.

The lead changed hands five times in the second quarter. Ashland finally took the lead for good on a 3-pointere by Miller at the 4:48 mark and Villers hit a 15-footer and it was 20-16.

Ashland led 34-21 on two fouls shots by Thompson with 10 seconds left. But Davis sank two free throws, then got a steal and hit a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer and Ironton trailed 34-26 at the half.

Ironton had 15 turnovers, but nine came in the second quarter when Ashland scored 25 points.

“We missed some easy shots in the second half and we had some unforced turnovers. The turnovers in the second quarter really hurt us,” said LaFon.

Richard Crockrel and Bowling hit back-to-back 15-footers to start the second half and get Ironton within 34-30, but Ashland went on a 10-0 run to lead 46-33.

Cox stopped the bleeding with a 12-footer at the 1:11 mark and Ironton trailed 46-35.

But the Fighting Tigers were just 3-of-19 from the field in the fourth quarter as Ashland began to pull away.

On Saturday, Ironton hosts Huntington in a tripleheader starting with the freshman game at 4 p.m.

Ironton 12 14 9 6 = 41

Ashland 9 25 12 15 = 61

IRONTON (0-13): Tristan Cox 2 2 1-2 11, Joe Bowling 4 0 0-1 8, Phillip Kratzenberg 1 0 0-0 2, Desmond Young 0 0 0-0 0, Richard Crockrel 1 0 2-2 4, Marques Davis 2 1 3-4 10, Lucas Campbell 2 0 0-2 4, Isaac Sherman 1 0 0-0 2, Joe Matkins 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Klaiber 0 0 0-2 0, Logan Gleichauf 0 0 0-0 0, Chad Garris 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-51 6-13 41. 3-point goals: 3-12. Rebounds: 14-OR, 22-DR = 36 (Young 7, Cox 7, Bowling 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 8 (Bowling 3). Steals: 5 (Cox 2). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: None.

ASHLAND (12-3): Damantie Thornton 4 1 1-2 12, Nick Miller 3 1 4-4 13, Ross Thompson 2 1 7-7 14, Tyler Stewart 0 0 2-2 2, Steven Friley 2 0 2-2 6, Christian Villers 3 1 2-7 11, Robert Wesley 0 1 0-0 3, Josh Bradley 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-49 18-24 61. 3-point goals: 5-22. Rebounds: 12-OR, 25-DR = 37 (Friley 12, Miller 11). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 5 (Thompson 3). Steals: 11 (Thompson 3). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: Friley (4th 4:39).