Ironton finishes off Lancers in tourney
JACKSON — The Ironton Fighting Tigers didn’t play well from start to finish, but they did play well at the start and the finish.
Ironton outscored Federal Hocking a combined 42-12 in the first and fourth quarters en route to a 60-38 upset win over the Lancers Wednesday in the Division III sectional tournament semifinals.
Ironton got off to a 16-1 lead only to have the Lancers rally to take the lead early in the third quarter. But the Fighting Tigers regrouped and regained the lead and then blitzed the Lancers in the fourth quarter.
“It wasn’t the second quarter I was worried about, because we didn’t go bad in a hurry we just did it for eight straight minutes,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“What I worried about was when we got down. The crowd started hoping and hollering a bit. I thought, ‘how are we going to handle this?’ and the kids responded. That was a big growing period for us and (Phillip) Kratzenberg was a big part of that piece.”
Kratzenberg had a coming out party with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Tristan Cox — was sat out much of the second and third quarters with foul trouble — scored 18 points and had three key steals early. Joe Bowling finished with nine points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Winning for just the second time in 22 games, Ironton plays Chesapeake at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the finals. It was Ironton’s 17th straight sectional tournament win.
Delbert Crum had 15 points to lead Federal Hocking (13-9).
LaFon praised Kratzenberg who stepped up with Cox and Desmond Young saddled with fouls.
“They were up underneath him. Earlier in the year when people got up underneath him it was turnover city. It wasn’t in that game,” said LaFon.
“He stood up like a real leader at the point and did a tremendous job. That period when he kind of stood up in the second half was tremendous for us.”
Cox scored the first seven points of the game and Ironton led 16-1 at the 1:58 mark. It was 16-4 at the end of the quarter.
“With what they were doing scheming to take (Cox) away, I thought he had overall a pretty good game staying with it and being on the bench so long,” said LaFon.
A 3-pointer by Crum got the Lancers within 18-13 with 5:37 left in the half. Kratzenberg’s trifecta made it 21-13 but back-to-back basket by Crum and two free throws by Peyton Seel cut the deficit to 22-20.
A putback by Marques Davis at the buzzer gave Ironton a 24-20 lead at the break.
The Lancers went on an 8-0 run to begin the second half and it was 28-24 at the 5:45 mark.
Two foul shots by Hunter Klaiber and a baseline jumper by Cox tied the game and Nate Garred’s layup off a pass from Bowling gave Ironton a 30-28 lead.
Ivan Santiago’s layup tied the game again but Ironton took the lead for good on a layup by Klaiber thanks to another pass from Bowling who then made a layup of his own and it was 34-30 at the end of the quarter.
Bowling scored again on a 10-footer to start the fourth quarter. Garred’s steal led to a three-point play by Kratzenberg and it was 39-30.
Crum hit a 17-footer but Cox returned and hit two straight baskets and suddenly it was 43-32 with 6:23 left.
A triple by Bowling opened up a 49-35 lead with 3:57 to go and Ironton was in control.
“We took the wind out of them with our effort in the third and in the fourth quarter we took care of them,” said LaFon.
Not only did LaFon praise his starters, he gave credit to the bench for its contributions.
“We had to have guys step up. They all have to be ready to play. Somebody is giving us just enough down the stretch to make us a good defensive team,” said LaFon.
Ironton 16 8 10 26 = 60
Fed. Hocking 4 16 10 8 = 38
IRONTON (2-20): Tristan Cox 6 0 6-8 18, Joe Bowling 2 1 2-2 9, Phillip Kratzenberg 3 2 4-5 16, Nate Garred 1 0 0-0 2, Desmond Young 1 0 2-5 4, Richard Crockrel 0 0 0-0 0, Marques Davis 1 0 0-0 2, Hunter Klaiber 1 0 3-4 5, Lorgan Gleichauf 0 0 0-0 0, Joe Matkins 2 0 0-1 4, Chad Garris 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-47 17-25 60. 3-point goals: 3-11. Rebounds: 16-O, 23-D = 39 (Kratzenberg 9, Bowling 8, Cox 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Assists: 13 (Bowling 4, Kratzenberg 3, Garred 2, Crockrel 2). Steals: 10 (Garred 3, Cox 3). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.
FEDERAL HOCKING (13-9): Delbert Crum 4 2 1-2 15, Ivan Santiago 3 0 1-2 7, A.J. Cobb 0 0 1-2 1, Alex Nichols 2 1 2-2 9, Peyton Seel 1 0 2-2 4, Taylor Gates 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Snyder 1 0 0-0 2, Austin Mayle 0 0 0-0 0, Phillip Hoffman 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-54 7-10 38. 3-point goals: 3-22. Rebounds: 19-O, 15-D = 34 (Seel 7, Nichols 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Assists: 2. Steals: 6 (Nichols 3). Turnovers: 20. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Seel (4th 1:07).