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Top teams visiting Ironton Classic

Jim Walker



Santa Claus might be coming to town on Thursday night, but there will be some other visitors in Ironton on Monday and Tuesday.

The Ironton Classic is featuring some of the top basketball team in and outside of the Ohio boundaries. The annual two-day event will be held at the Ironton Sports Center and admission each day is $8 for four games.

On Monday, one of the top Division IV teams in Ohio will take on one of the more storied programs in Ohio history as Columbus Africentric faces the Portsmouth Trojans.

Portsmouth was 20-7 last season and has won 37 district titles and has won four state championships.

The two teams meet at 4:45 p.m. following a battle of local teams as the Coal Grove Hornets face the Rose Hill (Ky.) Christian Royals at 3 p.m.

Host Ironton plays Columbus Independence at 6:30 with the battle of St. Joseph schools at 8:15 p.m. when the Ironton St. Joseph Flyers play the Huntington (W.Va.) St. Joseph Fighting Irish.

Independence was 14-8 last year and sent Kovien Dominaus to Richmond University, the school’s first Division I signing in 15 years.

Huntington St. Joseph features three college prospects in 6-foot-3 junior Deaundra Murphy, 6-1 junior Keith Clemons and 6-1 John Dawson.

On Tuesday, the unbeaten Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers will face their toughest challenge to date when they play Ashland at 3 p.m.

Cincinnati Taft is one of Ohio’s top Division II programs. The Senators were 15-10 last season and reached the regional final. They were state champs in 2011.

Ironton plays Huntington High in the 6:30 p.m. game.

Huntington High was 24-6 last season and won its fifth state Class AAA state championship.

The 8:15 p.m. nightcap matches M.A.C.K. Prep out of North Carolina against Wesley Christian from Kentucky.

This year’s M.A.C.K. Prep team features five players being recruited by Division I schools including 6-foot-7 Kayode Fakomi (UNC-Charlotte, Fordham, Duquesne, UT-Chattanooga), 6-4 Ryan Young (Fordham, UT-Chattanooga, Wingate, Livingstone, NC-Central), Jeremiah Buford (Citadel, Kennesaw State, Jacksonville State), 6-foot Ishmael Chisholm (NC-Central, Marist, Catawba, Wingate) and 6-foot Percy Bryant (Wright State, NC-Central, Wingate, J.C. Smith).

Wesley Christian was 27-17 last year and is currently 14-6 and led by 7-foot-2 Azubuike Nwankwo and 6-10 Christian Lorng. The roster also features 6-7 Mohamad Elsheikha, and Daniel Garcia, Milos Milosovic, Rasheed Weekes and Tajaun Smith who are all 6-6.


At Conley Sports Center

Monday’s Games

• Coal Grove vs. Rose Hill Christian, 3:00; Game Sponsor: DeAnna Holliday for County Commissioner

• Portsmouth vs. Col. Africentric, 4:45; Game Sponsor: Citizens Deposit Bank

• Independence vs. Ironton, 6:30; Game Sponsor: Freddie Hayes for County Commissioner

• Ironton St. Joseph vs. Hunt. St. Joe, 8:15; Game Sponsor: Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital & Radiology

Tuesday’s Games

• Ironton girls vs. Ashland, Ky., girls, 3:00; Game Sponsor: Marathon Petroleum Company LP

• Spring Valley, W.Va. vs. Cin. Taft, 4:45; Game Sponsor: Phillips Funeral Home

• Huntington, W.Va. vs. Ironton, 6:30; Game Sponsor: Glockner Family Auto Dealerships

• M.A.C.K. vs. Wesley Christian, 8:15; Game Sponsor: Bricklayers Local No. 7 of Ashland, Ky.

• Admission: $8 each day