Ironton upset bid falls short

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ guard Phillip Kratzenberg (4) drives to the basket against the Portsmouth defense in Friday’s game. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ guard Phillip Kratzenberg (4) drives to the basket against the Portsmouth defense in Friday’s game. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker


PORTSMOUTH — One small step for man, one giant leap for the Ironton Fighting Tigers.

After suffering a 41-36 heartbreaking loss to the heavily favored Portsmouth Trojans on Friday, Ironton head coach Mark LaFon was able to find plenty of silver linings.

“We finally took steps forward. We’re not happy we lost, but we proved to ourselves that if we play the way we need to play, we can be in any game,” said LaFon.

Ironton (2-5) trailed the entire game until drawing even with less than two minutes to play. Portsmouth then hit some clutch free throws to escape with the win.

Ironton’s biggest problem was missing shots in the paint, especially several layups.

“I have no issues with our effort. For the first time this season we had four straight quarter we played our guts out and fought to fulfill the game plan,” said LaFon.

“Portsmouth is athletic and they are one of the best teams in our region. But the bottom line is we missed a lot of point-blank shots. It came down to us just missing layups. We got the shots we needed and where we wanted and we missed them.”

Portsmouth (7-1) built an 11-3 lead to start the game but a 15-footer by Tristan Cox and two foul shots by Jake Isaac got Ironton within 11-7 at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter followed suit as Portsmouth went ahead 20-11 on a pair of free throws by Luke Purdy with 2:30 left in the half.

A layup by Raphael Glover with 1:14 to go cut thee deficit to 20-13 but a 3-point play by Sky Oliver with 30 seconds on the clock extended the Trojans lead to 23-13 at the half.

Joe Bowling began the second half with a layup and a baseline jumper as Ironton closed to within 23-17.

A 17-footer by Cox and a 3-point play by Desmond Young pulled the Fighting Tigers to within 25-22 with 5:38 on the clock.

The Trojans were up 29-24 after a 3-point play by Allison but a layup by Isaac seconds left had Ironton down 29-26 heading into the fourth quarter.

Portsmouth a putback by Alex Dickerson and a steal and layup by Allison to start the fourth quarter as the lead jumped to 33-26.

But Ironton fought back and tied the game 36-36 with 1:35 to play on a layup by Bowling off a pass from Phillip Kratzenberg.

Kendall Reynolds jumped up for a rebound and knocked a missed shot into the basket to give Portsmouth a 38-36 lead with 1:13 left.

Ironton was guilty of a turnover and then had to foul. Oliver hit two free throws with 20 seconds left and after a missed shot Allison hit the front end of a one-and-one with nine seconds to go that set the final score.

Cox had 10 points and Bowling 8 points and 7 rebounds for Ironton. Isaac added 8 points while Young and Glover had 5 rebounds each.

Allison scored 14 points and Oliver had 10 points for the Trojans.

Ironton hosts Rock Hill on Tuesday.

Ironton 7 6 13 10 = 36

Portsmouth 11 12 6 12 = 41

IRONTON (2-5): Joe Bowling 4 0 0-0 8, Tristan Cox 4 0 2-3 10, Marques Davis 1 0 0-0 2, Raphael Glover 1 0 1-2 3, Desmond Young 2 0 1-2 5, Phillip Kratzenberg 0 0 0-0 0, Jake Isaac 2 0 4-4 8. Totals: 14-32 8-11 36. 3-point goals: 0-2. Rebounds: 6-O, 21-D = 27 (Bowling 7, Young 5, Glover 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 7 (Kratzenberg 4). Steals: 1 (Cox). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.

PORTSMOUTH (7-1): Sky Oliver 2 1 3-3 10, Ky’re Allison 5 0 4-7 14, Alex Dickerson 2 1 2-2 9, Kendall Reynolds 2 0 0-0 4, Cole Lowry 1 0 0-0 2, Luke Purdy 0 0 2-2 2, Michael Sturgill 0 0 0-0 0, Ethan Leonard 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-44 11-14 41. 3-point goals: 2-19. Rebounds: 12-O, 14-D = 26 (Dickerson 9, Allison 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 3 (Allison 3). Steals: 5 (Oliver 2, Allison 2). Turnovers: 6. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.