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Ironton falls short in upset bid of Pirates

Jim Walker



WHEELERSBURG — A lot can happen in a short amount of time such as a three-minute egg, a two-minute warning, and a one-minute meltdown.

The last item affected the other 31 minutes as the Ironton Fighting Tigers fell short in their upset bid Tuesday as they lost 31-28 to the Wheelersburg Pirates.

The Pirates controlled the game’s tempo and it was reflected in the low-scoring affair. With every possession important, Ironton misplayed the final minute of the first half as Wheelersburg scored five points and took a 19-10 lead.

“We didn’t handle the last minute of the first half and gave up five points and that was big in a game like this,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“We dug ourselves a hole at the beginning. We gave them four offensive rebounds in the first two possessions. We just didn’t block out.”

Ironton (1-16) came back to tie the game 28-28 with 6:39 left on four free throws by Tristan Cox following a foul and a technical foul call on the play.

Wheelersburg (9-6) went up 29-28 on a foul shot by Tyler Claxon with 3:53 left. Ironton missed a shot and the Pirates ran 3:40 off the clock before Austin May made a layup with 11 seconds to play.

Ironton missed two 3-point attempts including a last-second shot by Phillip Kratzenberg whose attempt bounced up in the air and just missed coming back down in the basket.

“We were in the game and had a chance to win. We had a bad second quarter, but we battled in the second half and there were times when we frustrated them,” said LaFon.

The Fighting Tigers were just 9-of-41 from the field for 22 percent and missed all eight 3-point attempts.

Wheelersburg was 10-of-40 from the floor and 4-of-17 from behind the arc.

“I see us getting better. That’s a possession and execution game, not an up-and-down game. Our execution was good, we just didn’t shoot the ball well,” said LaFon.

Ironton led 4-3 on a baseline shot by Joe Bowling and 6-5 on a hook shot by Isaac Sherman, but a 3-point play by Camron Parsley put the Pirates up 8-6.

Two foul shots by Phillip Kratzenberg tied the game but Parsley had another 3-point play that gave Wheelersburg an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Bowling’s basket at the 7:43 mark got Ironton within 11-10 to begin the second quarter. However, it was Ironton’s only points of the quarter.

Jacob Spradlin’s 3-pointer at the 5:30 mark made it 14-10 and the Pirates didn’t score again until less than a minute to go in the half on a 3-pointer by Dylan Miller.

A steal and layup by Claxon gave the Pirates a 19-10 halftime lead.

Desmond Young made back-to-back shots inside to get Ironton with 21-18 with 3:26 left in the third quarter.

Miller hit a 3-pointer but layups by Kratzenberg and Nate Garred got Ironton within 25-22 at the end of the quarter.

Cox hit a 15-footer to start the fourth quarter only to have Spradlin convert a 3-point play.

Cox was fouled and made the four free throws to set up the finish.

Bowling, Young and Cox all scored six points for Ironton. Isaac Sherman had eight rebounds and Young grabbed six.

“Sherman played well,” said LaFon.

Miller had nine points for the Pirates.

Ironton 8 2 12 6 = 28

Wheelersburg 11 8 6 6 = 31

IRONTON (1-16): Tristan Cox 1 0 4-4 6, Joe Bowling 3 0 -0 6, Phillips Kratzenberg 1 0 2-3 4, Desmond Young 3 0 0-0 6, Isaac Sherman 2 0 0-3 4, Nate Garred 1 0 0-0 2, Richard Crockrel 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9-41 6-10 28. 3-point goals: 0-8. Rebounds: 11-OR, 21-DR = 32 (Sherman 8, Young 7, Cox 5, Bowling 5). Assists: 2 (Cox, Bowling). Steals: 6 (Bowling 2, Garred 2). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.

WHEELERSBURG (9-6): Tyler Claxon 1 0 4-5 6, Jacob Spradlin 1 1 1-1 6, J.D. Widding 1 0 0-0 2, Camron Parsley 2 0 2-2 6, Dylan Miller 0 3 0-0 9, Brandon Adams 0 0 0-0 0, Austin May 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 10-40 7-9 31. 3-point goals: 4-17. Rebounds: 12-OR, 20-DR = 32 (Parsley 8, Widdig 7). Assists: 3 (Claxon 3). Steals: 4. Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: Parsely (4th 6:39). Technical fouls: Parsely.