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Ironton deals crucial blow to Trojans’ OVC title hopes, 57-46

 

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

Game No. 13 for the Ironton Fighting Tigers might have been in reality Game No. 1.

In what might be a turning point in the season, the Fighting Tigers stunned the Portsmouth Trojans 57-46 on Tuesday in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

“Tonight was a marker game for us,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon. “Portsmouth is one of the top teams not only in the league but in the region. To play that well against them is a big step in the right direction for us.”

Ironton is now 6-7 overall and 3-3 in the OVC. The loss was crucial to the Trojans who are 9-4 overall and 5-2 in the league, now a game and a half behind leader Chesapeake.

Ironton exhibited team play, solid defense and good shot selection to help avenge a 41-36 loss earlier this season at Portsmouth. Ironton was 19 of 36 from the field for 53 percent, its best effort of the season.

LaFon said team discipline was a key to the win.

“We’re starting to use that word a little bit around here lately. We did at the end of the game and that was the difference,” said LaFon.

Tristan Cox scored 17 points and had three steals and three assists for Ironton. Dylan Malone had 13 points and nine rebounds, Phillip Kratzenberg 13 points and Joe Bowling seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in the win.

Sky Oliver scored 15 points and Cole Lowery 10 points for the Trojans who shot 20 of 56 for 36 percent including a dismal 6 of 34 from behind the 3-point line.

Oliver hit a 3-pointer with 1:48 left in the first quarter to give Portsmouth its biggest lead of the game at 11-7.

But Kratzenberg knocked down a 3-ball at the buzzer and it was 11-10.

Cox drained a trifecta to begin the second quarter and the lead changed hands three times before another triple by Cox put Ironton up 23-20 with 1:05 to go in the half.

A putback by Ky’re Allison cut the deficit to 23-22 but a layup by Malone off a pass from Bowling made it 25-22 at the break.

Portsmouth tied the game at 29 on a 3-pointer by Oliver with 5:47 on the third quarter clock, but a 3-point play by Malone put Ironton ahead 32-29 at the 5:29 mark and the Fighting Tigers had the lead for good.

A steal by Bowling who fed Malone for a layup put Ironton ahead 39-32 to end the quarter.

Kratzenberg’s 3-point play and a layup by Malone made it 44-32 to start the fourth quarter.

Layups by Kratzenberg and Bowling gave Ironton its biggest lead at 50-36 with 2:45 left. Two free throws by Desmond Young and three by Cox helped seal the outcome.

Ironton hosts Fairland on Friday in an OVC game. Also on Friday, members of the 2004-05 boys’ and girls’ Final Four basketball teams will be recognized.

Ironton plays at Rock Hill on Saturday in a league game.

Portsmouth 11 11 10 14 = 46

Ironton 10 15 14 18 = 57

PORTSMOUTH (9-4, 5-2): Sky Oliver 3 3 0-0 15, Ky’re Allison 4 0 0-3 8, Alex Dickerson 1 2 0-0 8, Kendall Reynolds 1 0 0-0 2, Cole Lowery 5 0 0-0 10, Hunter Gibson 0 0 0-0 0, Ethan Leonard 0 1 0-0 3, Luke Purdy 0 0 0-0 0, Zach Delotell 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-56 0-3 46. 3-point goals: 6-34. Rebounds: 12-O, 21-D = 33 (Dickerson 8, Allison 8). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 2 (Reynolds 2). Steals: 2. Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Reynolds (4th 5:25).

IRONTON (6-7, 3-3): Phillip Kratzenberg 2 2 3-6 13, Joe Bowling 2 0 1-4 5, Tristan Cox 4 2 3-8 17, Marques Davis 2 0 0-0 4, Desmond Young 0 0 5-6 5, Tanner Price 0 0 0-0 0, Dylan Malone 5 0 3-3 13, Raphael Glover 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-36 15-27 57. 3-point goals: 4-9. Rebounds: 4-O, 25-D = 29 (Malone 9, Bowling 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 13 (Bowling 4, Cox 3). Steals: 5 (Cox 3, Bowling 2). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.