Pointers escape Ironton’s upset bid
Ironton may have muddied the water, but the South Point Pointers managed to find their way clear.
The Pointers dodged a major upset bullet Friday as they held on for a 42-38 win over the Fighting Tigers.
Ironton controlled the tempo with a strong defensive effort, but the Pointers built a 14-point lead early in the second half and held on for the win.
“That was a trap game, but we wanted to play,” said Pointers’ coach Chris Barnes. “Teams are going to try and muddy it up on us. (Ironton) tried to muddy it up and I don’t blame them.
“We wanted to play Ironton. We knew they would be a tough game going into the tournament and it was a tournament atmosphere. They play hard.”
South Point (12-6) won its seventh straight as John Johnson had 11 points, five assists and three steals. Brandon Barnes had 10 points including a steal and layup with six seconds left that sealed the win.
Ironton (1-20) was led by Tristan Cox with 16 points and six rebounds.
Joe Bowling had nine points, six rebounds and two assists. Phillip Kratzenberg added eight points.
“That was our best defensive effort of the year. It’s hard to hold a team down like that when they are that athletic,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“Our kids played hard. I was very proud of (senior) Nate Garred. He played four quarters hard. He battled and played defense. He played like a senior.”
South Point led 24-10 at the half thanks in part to Ironton shooting 4-of-19 from the field for 21 percent. The Fighting Tigers failed to score from the 2:51 mark of the first quarter until 3:55 was left in the half.
“We had good looks and a lot of open shots, we just didn’t make them,” said LaFon.
“The second half we were taking the same shots and we were making them. But give South Point credit. They make it tough with their length.”
A trifecta by Kratzenberg and a layup by Cox got Ironton with 33-26 with 1:23 on the third quarter clock. The Pointers’ Marquise Foley had a putback just before the buzzer sounded and the lead was 35-26.
Desmond Young had a layup and a foul shot and Bowling and Cox hit back-to-back jumpers as Ironton got within 39-35 with 52 seconds to go.
After a missed free throw by the Pointers, Cox drove the baseline for a layup and was fouled. He sank the free throw with 18 seconds left and it was 39-38.
Johnson hit the front end of a one-and-one moments later for a 40-38 lead and Ironton had the rebound.
Ironton was playing for the last shot, but Barnes came up with a steal and layup with six seconds left.
The Fighting Tigers were playing without starting center Isaac Sherman for the second straight game.
The teams begin sectional tournament play next week at Jackson. South Point faces Wellston at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday and Ironton plays Federal Hocking at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
South Point 11 13 11 7 = 42
Ironton 6 4 16 12 = 38
SOUTH POINT (12-6): John Johnson 3 1 2-4 11, Audric Harlow 0 1 0-0 3, Brandon Barnes 2 1 3-4 10, Eli Ketron 2 0 2-5 6, Brandon Boggs 2 0 0-0 4, Marquise Foley 2 0 0-0 4, Brady Rickard 2 0 0-0 4. Totals: 16-42 7-12 42. 3-point goals: 3-12. Rebounds: 11-O, 18-D = 29 (Ketron 9, Foley 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 5 (Johnson 5). Steals: 5 (Johnson 3). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (1-20): Tristan Cox 5 1 3-4 16, Joe Bowling 4 0 1-2 9, Phillip Kratzenberg 2 1 1-2 8, Desmond Young 2 0 1-2 5, Nate Garred 0 0 0-0 0, Marques Davis 0 0 0-0 0, Richard Crockrel 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Klaiber 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-37 6-10 38. 3-point goals: 2-6. Rebounds: 6-O, 19-D = 25 (Cox 8, Bowling 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 3 (Bowling 2, Crockrel 1). Steals: 4 (Young 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Garred (4th 0:17).