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Teamwork triggers Fighting Tigers win

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

But I’ve got a blank space baby, and I’ll write your name.

With apologies to Taylor Swift, Ironton coach Mark LaFon never knows who the best player will be each game. In fact, there were plenty of them to go around in this particular game.

It took a team of names working together to give the Fighting Tigers a 55-49 win over the Fairland Dragons on Friday in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

Ironton (7-7, 4-3) had four players in double figures and another player with double-digit rebounding to produce the win.

“I was proud of our effort and I was proud of a lot of different guys,” said LaFon. “Joe Bowling did a great job guarding (Kollin) Van Horn and he still scored 17 points.

“It was a great game and we battled hard. We had Cox and Kratzenberg out most of the third quarter in foul trouble and we hung in there battled through it.”

Joe Bowling led Ironton with 17 points and three assists. He also went 6 of 6 from the foul line including four clutch shots in the fourth quarter.

Phillip Kratzenberg scored 12 points, Tristan Cox had 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals, Desmond Young added 10 points and six rebounds while Dylan Malone racked in 16 rebounds.

Isaiah Howell scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Fairland (10-4, 4-3). Gunner Short added eight points and Kollin Van Horn pulled down seven rebounds.

The Dragons struggled from the field as they hit only 16 of 49 shots including 9 of 36 from behind the 3-point arc.

“We didn’t attack the basket and fell in love with the outside shot,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed.

“On the other side of the coin, Ironton did a good job of attacking the basket and at the end of the game when we had to foul they made their free throws.”

Ironton led 12-7 after a shot by Bowling but a 3-pointer by Howell just before the buzzer got Fairland within 14-12.

Howell knocked down another triple to start the second quarter that gave Fairland its first lead. He had a 12-footer and yet another 3-pointer that put Fairland ahead 22-19 but Bowling’s layup and a foul shot by Young tied the game at 22.

Howell launched a 42-footer that found the bottom of the basket at the buzzer and the Dragons led 25-22 at the half.

After Ironton took a 33-31 lead on two foul shots by Bowling, 3-pointers by Gunner Short and Howell gave Fairland a 37-34 lead.

But Bowling hit a trey with 10 seconds left in the third quarter and Ironton was down 37-36.

“That was the key to the game. We had Cox and Kratzenberg out and we were able to stay in the game,” said LaFon.

Kratzenberg drained a 3-ball with 6:45 left to give Ironton the lead for good at 41-39. A 3-point play by Kratzenberg with two minutes left opened up a 50-43 lead.

Two foul shots by Bowling and a layup by Young made it 54-46 with under a minute to play and sealed the outcome.

Ironton played at Rock Hill Saturday and Fairland visits Coal Grove on Tuesday.

Fairland 12 13 12 12 = 49

Ironton 14 8 14 19 = 55

FAIRLAND (10-4, 4-3): Chance Short 1 1 2-2 7, Luke Thomas 0 1 0-0 3, Nathan Campbell 0 0 3-6 3, Tyler Campbell 0 0 0-0 0, Kollin Van Horn 2 0 2-4 6, Isaiah Howell 2 5 1-2 20, Gunner Short 1 2 0-0 8, Ty Staten 1 0 0-1 2. Totals: 16-49 8-15 49. 3-point goals: 9-36. Rebounds: 10-O, 17-D = 27 (Howell 8, Van Horn 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 2. Steals: 7 (Howell 3, Staten 2). Turnovers: 6. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (7-7, 4-3): Phillip Kratzenberg 3 1 3-3 12, Joe Bowling 4 1 6-6 17, Tristan Cox 1 2 2-2 10, Marques Davis 0 0 1-2 1, Desmond Young 3 0 4-6 10, Dylan Malone 3 0 1-3 7, Tanner Price 0 0 0-0 0, Raphael Glover 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-43 17-22 55. 3-point goals: 4-6. Rebounds: 10-O, 25-D = 35 (Malone 16, Cox 8, Young 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 1. Assists: 10 (Cox 3, Young 3, Bowling 3). Steals: 4 (Davis 2). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Kratzenberg (4th 1:02).