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Fighting Tigers fail to hold lead in 48-45 loss

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

PORTSMOUTH — The main characteristic of young and inexperienced players is inconsistency.

That up-and-down style of play plagued Ironton again as the Fighting Tigers lost their fourth game by three or fewer points this season in a 48-45 loss to the Minford Falcons on Monday in the Wendy’s Classic.

Ironton built an 8-point lead to begin the second half but failed to hold in yet again. Ironton has held a late lead in all five losses.

“We’ve got to learn how to close out games and that’s on me,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“We had the lead and then we had a couple of turnovers and we missed some free throws and we left them open for some 3-pointers. We worked on that. You can’t leave them open and we lost them and left them open about four times.”

The Fighting Tigers (3-5) were hurt at the foul line where they went 2-for-8. Minford was 4-of-7.

Ironton shot 18-of-40 from the field including 7-of-13 from behind the 3-point line. Minford (8-1) shot 18-of-39 from the floor and 8-of-20 from behind the arc.

Phil Kratzenberg led all scorers with 24 points — he made four 3-pointers — for Ironton. Marques Davis drained three trifectas and scored 15 points. Ryan Bryant had six rebounds.

Brandon Rowe and Trey Kelly scored 17 points each for Minford. Kelley hit four 3-pointers.

Ironton took its first lead at 12-10 on a triple by Kratzenberg in the first quarter. Minford came back to take a n 18-14 lead at the end of the quarter.

Davis knocked down a trey to tie the game and a foul shot by Desmond Young put Ironton up 22-21.

Kelley’s 3-pointer put Minford back on top but Kratzenberg answered with a 3-pointer and two more baskets to give Ironton a 29-24 halftime lead.

Davis opened the second half with a trey and Ironton had its biggest lead at 32-24. But the Falcons outscored Ironton 9-2 the rest of the quarter and trailed 34-33.

Alley scored to begin the fourth quarter and then a triple by Kratzenberg and a layup by Bryant put Ironton ahead 39-36 with 5:32 to go.

A 3-point play by Kelley tied the game and then Kratzenberg and Alley traded treys.

Rowe’s 17-footer with 20 seconds left gave Minford a 46-44 lead. Ironton had a chance to tie or go ahead but could only convert 1-of-4 free throws over the final nine seconds.

Rowe’s two foul shots with four seconds left sealed the win.

Ironton visits Rock Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 5, in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

Minford 18 6 9 15 = 48

Ironton 14 15 5 11 = 45

MINFORD (8-1): Tyler McCormick 0 0 0-0 0, Brandon Rowe 4 2 3-4 17, Matthew Gullett 1 1 0-0 5, Trey Kelley 2 4 1-1 17, Jared Alley 3 1 0-2 9, Cameron Dalton 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-39 4-7 48. 3-point goals: 8-20. Rebounds: 6-O, 15-D = 21 (Alley 8). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 9 (Rowe 4, Alley 2). Steals: 2 (Rowe, Alley). Turnovers: 3. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.

IRONTON (3-5): Phil Kratzenberg 6 4 0-4 24, Ethan Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Marques Davis 3 3 0-0 15, Desmond Young 1 0 1-2 3, Tyler Webb 0 0 0-0 0, Ryan Bryant 1 0 1-2 3, Hunter Klaiber 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Adkins 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-40 2-8 45. 3-point goals: 7-13. Rebounds: 9-O, 14-D = 23 (Bryant 6, Davis 4) Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 12 (Wilson 4, Bryant 3, Kratzenberg 3). Steals: 2 (Davis, Bryant). Turnovers: 5. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: Young (4th 0:05).