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Dragons pull away to win

Fairland Dragons’ Gunner Short (52) drives into the lane as Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Marques Davis (23) defends. Fairland downed Ironton 45-38 on Tuesday in an OVC game. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Fairland Dragons’ Gunner Short (52) drives into the lane as Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Marques Davis (23) defends. Fairland downed Ironton 45-38 on Tuesday in an OVC game. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker



Two weeks into the season and Fairland coach Nathan Speed was talking about the postseason tournament.

No, he wasn’t looking ahead but merely comparing an early season game Tuesday against the Ironton Fighting Tigers and what lies ahead.

The Dragons rallied over the final five minutes of the game to get a 45-38 win over the Fighting Tigers in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

“It was a battle. It was like a tournament-style game. Every possessions was important,” said Speed.

“They plays so hard, we played hard, the shooting wasn’t all that great but it was a very physical game and a very good defensive game.”

Shooting? Fairland was 18-of-45 from the field and only 1-of-12 from the 3-point line. The Dragons were also just 8-of-16 at the foul line, but they were 7-of-13 in the fourth quarter.

Ironton (2-2, 0-1) wasn’t much better. The Fighting Tigers were 15-of-41 from the floor, 2-of-8 from the arc and 6-of-12 at the line.

“It’s tough to lose and it’s frustrating the way it happened, but I’m still happy with the effort,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“We missed a lot of open shots that we normally make, but both teams missed shots. It was a physical game and it was a good learning tool for our young kids.”

Kollin Van Horn had 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead Fairland (2-1, 1-0). Luke Thomas and Gunner Short added 8 points each.

Ryan Bryant scored 9 points, Desmond Young had 8 points and 10 rebounds and Charlie Large 8 points and 6 rebounds for upset-minded Ironton (2-2, 0-1).

The game was tied only twice at 2-2 and 31-31, but the lead changed hands on eight occasions.

Fairland led 11-4 late in the first quarter. Bryant hit a baseline shot just before the end of the quarter and Ironton took its first lead at 12-11 after a putback by Tyler Webb with 3:27 left in the half.

The Dragons got back-to-back baskets by Short to lead 17-14. Young followed up a missed shot with four seconds left to get Ironton within 17-16 at the break.

A 12-footer by Thomas put Fairland up 23-20. Young sank two foul shots, Bryant drained a trifecta and Large drove for back-to-back layups and it was 29-23 with 18 seconds on the clock.

A layup by Ty Staten 10 seconds later got Fairland within 29-25.

Short’s layup and a foul shot by Staten tied the game at 31 with 6:18 left. Large scored to give Ironton its last lead. Isaiah Howell hit a 3-pointer with 5:22 left to give Fairland the lead for good.

“I’m proud of our kids for not quitting. Last year we might have given up down that stretch when they made their run. We kept battling back and kept playing hard,” said Speed.

“We reacted well after a mistakes, making that mistake and not hanging your head and not sprinting back. When we made a mistake, we said just forget it and go on to the next play and I thought they did a good job of that.”

Two foul shots by Bryant got Ironton with 36-35 with 4:13 to go, but Fairland scored four straight points to build a 41-35 lead at the 2:12 mark.

A trey by Phil Kratzenberg cut the deficit to 41-38 with 1:10 left, but that was as close as Ironton would get as Van Horn picked up a loose ball and hit a layup and Howell and Keedrick Cunningham each made a free throw to seal the outcome.

On Friday, Ironton visits Gallipolis while Fairland travels to Coal Grove for league games.

Fairland 11 6 8 20 = 45

Ironton 6 10 13 9 = 38

FAIRLAND (2-1, 1-0): Ty Staten 2 0 3-6 7, Isaiah Howell 0 1 1-2 4, Kollin Van Horn 5 0 3-6 13, Luke Thomas 4 0 0-0 8, Gunner Short 4 0 0-0 8, Hunter Ashton 1 0 0-0 2, Keedrick Cunningham 1 0 0-2 2, Hayden James 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-45 8-16 45. 3-point goals: 1-12. Rebounds: 8-O, 26-D = 34 (Van Horn 11, Howell 4, Thomas 4). Assists: 4 (Staten 2, Thomas 2). Steals: 7 (Staten 3, Thomas 2, Howell 2). Turnovers: 7. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (2-2, 0-1): Phil Kratzenberg 1 1 0-0 5, Ethan Wilson 1 0 0-0 2, Marques Davis 0 0 0-2 0, Desmond Young 3 0 2-2 8, Tyler Webb 1 0 2-6 4, Charlie Large 4 0 0-0 8, Ryan Bryant 2 1 2-2 9. Totals: 15-41 6-12 38. 3-point goals: 2-8. Rebounds: 5-O, 24-D = 29 (Young 10, Large 6). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 4 (Davis 2). Steals: 3 (Kratzenberg, Webb, Wilson). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.