Ironton cuts down Oaks in order to cut down nets
Fighting Tigers win D3 sectional title, 52-35
JACKSON — A living room recliner or a front porch swing are places to get comfortable, not the basketball court.
Ironton made things uncomfortable for Oak Hill most of the game as the Fighting Tigers pulled off the mild upset with a 52-35 win over the Oaks on Friday to take the Division III sectional title.
Ironton pressured the Oaks’ shooters as they went 12-of-42 from the field for 28.6 percent and disrupted their strong suit 3-point shooting that saw Oak Hill make only 4-of-20.
“I’m not saying we weren’t in the right spot all the time, but with a young group that has nothing to lose, you’ve got to get right up front and make them a little uncomfortable,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
Ironton (15-9) will now play Lucasville Valley at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at Ohio University in the district semifinals at Ohio University.
Valley edged Adena 46-44 in the closing seconds to set up a rematch of the season opener won by the Indians 47-44.
Ironton opened the game by building a 20-6 first quarter lead. But the Fighting Tigers were guilty of five turnovers in the second quarter after going without a miscue in the first quarter.
With the limited possessions, Ironton took just six shots in the second quarter as Joe Bowling had a putback at the 4:36 mark and Phillip Kratzenberg made a layup with 32 seconds to go for Ironton’s only points.
A layup with four seconds left in the half by Jonathon Harrison got Oak Hill within 24-14 at the break.
“Being up on them isn’t putting pressure on them. Being in a stance and then kind of bellying up and having a hand in their shooting path is,” said LaFon.
“We weren’t getting a hand up in their shooting path. That’s what helped them getting a little comfortable in the offense. What helped them get comfortable in the second quarter was us handing the ball back to them on turnovers.”
Landon Carroll’s 3-pointer and a layup by Harrison to begin the second half got the Oaks within 24-19.
Ironton had four more turnovers and took just four shots in the quarter. Oak Hill used a 17-footer by Nolan Carroll and two foul shots by Harrison with nine-tenths of a second on the clock to draw within 30-28 to end the quarter.
Kyle Cox hit a 3-pointer at the 7:28 mark of the fourth quarter as the Oaks took their first lead at 31-30.
But Ironton scored 18 unanswered points that began with four foul shots by Kratzenberg and a layup and 3-ball by Tristan Cox and ended with a pair of free throws by Marques Davis and a steal and layup by Kratzenberg.
The Fighting Tigers’ defense held the Oaks scoreless until a layup by Landon Carroll with 58 seconds left, a drought of six and a half minutes.
“For the most part our defense was good. Our defense was really good in that long stretch in the fourth quarter,” said LaFon.
Ironton dominated the glass as they our-rebounded the Oaks 35-15 and limited Oak Hill to just four offensive boards. Malone had 12 rebounds, Marques Davis six and Bowling five.
“We knew that rebounding was a key to the game. That was our number one key. We felt like we could take advantage of that and we did in the first quarter and the fourth quarter and that’s when we had our biggest leads,” said LaFon.
“The second and third quarters we didn’t do such a good job with that and that’s when the game got to where it did with a 31-30 lead they got on us.”
Kratzenberg scored 15 points and Tristan Cox had 12 points and three assists to lead a balanced Ironton offense. Bowling added 8 points and Davis 7.
Oak Hill (14-9) was led by Harrison with 14 points and five rebounds. Kyle Cox had 10 points.
Ironton 20 4 6 22 = 52
Oak Hill 6 8 14 7 = 35
IRONTON (15-9): Phillip Kratzenberg 3 1 6-8 15, Joe Bowling 4 0 0-2 8, Tristan Cox 3 1 3-5 12, Marques Davis 1 1 2-6 7, Desmond Young 1 0 0-0 2, Dylan Malone 3 0 0-0 6, Jake Isaac 0 0 0-0 0, Tanner Price 0 0 0-0 0, Raphael Glover 0 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Weisgarber 0 0 0-0 0, Kevin Davis 1 0 0-0 2, Trevor Hacker 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-35 11-21 52. 3-point goals: 3-8. Rebounds: 10-off 25-def. = 35 (Malone 12, Davis 6, Bowling 5). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 10 (Cox 3, Bowling 2, Kratzenberg 2). Steals: 7 (Davis 2, Kratzenberg 2). Blocked shots: Ironton 1 (Bowling). Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.
OAK HILL (14-9): Jonathon Harrison 5 0 4-4 14, Landon Carroll 0 1 0-0 3, Mitchell Hale 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Cox 1 2 2-2 10, Cody Swann 0 1 1-2 4, Nolan Carroll 2 0 0-0 4, Dennis Fleming 0 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Hale 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-42 7-8 35. 3-point goals: 4-20. Rebounds: 4-off. 11-def. = 15 (Harrison 5). Team rebounds: 1. Assists: 1 (N. Carroll). Steals: 10 (Harrison 4, L. Carroll 2, Cox 2). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.