Ironton holds off Coal Grove

Published 1:39 am Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jim Walker


Doug Henning move over.

The disappearing and re-appearing Ironton Fighting Tigers re-appeared in time as they got past the Coal Grove Hornets 51-42 in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

“That’s the one thing we have a hard time doing, just maintaining that lead and keeping it where it needs to be. I guess that’s part of the process,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.

“I wish I could wave a magic wand over it and get it right but it’s not happening to this point and we still have at least a game more to get it right.”

Ironton (11-10, 8-6) took an 11-point lead early, saw it dwindle to two, expand to 13, shrink to four and then grow to 12.

LaFon said it was a hard-fought game by both teams which was part of the reason for the peek-a-boo offense.

Part of Coal Grove’s problem was its offense. The Hornets were 7-of-14 from the 3-point line and just 7-of-35 from the 2-point range.

“We battled. It was a tough game and a physical game. There were times when the game was called a certain way and both teams had to find a way to settle in,” said LaFon.

“Our kids did a good job of stop fouling when they needed to because we were getting a lot of foul calls. We were called for a lot of reaching which we did. We got it to halftime and made a very good play at the end. Those guys executed — Phillip (Kratzenberg) and Ryan (Bryant) and Ethan (Wilson) did a nice job and got us the five-point lead.”

After Ironton took a 16-5 first quarter lead thanks to a four-point play and a trifecta by Marques Davis and a three-point play by Bryant, Coal Grove cut the deficit to 25-23 on two foul shots by Aaron Music with 1:28 left in the half.

Travis Carey made a free throw for Ironton and then Kratzenberg and Bryant made passes and Wilson hit an open baseline shot just before the buzzer and it was 28-23 at the break.

Ironton turned up the defense as Coal Grove made only 1-of-8 shots in the third quarter. Kratzenberg made to free throws to begin the quarter and a 10-footer to end it and it was 38-25.

“We came out the third point game and had a two-point defensive stop and did a good job with that,” said LaFon.

But Cole Gannon drained three straight 3-pointers to begin the fourth quarter for Coal Grove and the lead was 38-34 with 4:08 left.

Ironton began to run a stall offense and Coal Grove was forced to foul. The Fighting Tigers were 7-of-8 over the final 2:50 including Wilson who was 4-of-4.

Davis led Ironton with 13 points. Wilson had 11 points, five rebounds and two assists and Travis Carey nine points and 12 rebounds.

Gannon hit five 3-pointers and scored 15 points for the Hornets. Jeb Jones had 11 points while Aaron Music grabbed eight rebounds.

LaFon praised the contributions of his senior starting lineup: Hunter Klaiber, Desmond Young, Davis, Carey and Kratzenberg.

“I don’t do that just to do seniors. It just so happened that on this senior night I can start all those seniors because (Hunter) Klaiber has done a good job of boarding and doing what he’s been doing and the other seniors have been playing. Carey went to the boards hard,” said LaFon.

Both teams play in the Division III sectional tournament at Jackson next week. Coal Grove faces Wellston at 8 p.m. on Monday and Ironton plays Nelsonville-York at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

Coal Grove 5 18 2 17 = 42

Ironton 16 12 10 13 = 51

COAL GROVE (6-13, 3-11): Cole Gannon 0 5 0-0 15, Aaron Music 1 0 2-4 4, Sam Angelo 1 0 1-2 3, Chase McKnight 0 0 0-0 0, Jeb Jones 4 0 3-3 11, Daniel Rutherford 1 0 1-2 3, Dalton Miller 0 2 0-0 6, Jaylen McKenzie 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-49 7-11 42. 3-point goals: 7-14. Rebounds: 13-O, 15-D = 28 (Music 8, Angelo 4, Rutherford 5). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 2. Steals: 4 (Angelo 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 24. Fouled out: McKnight (4th 2:50).

IRONTON (11-10, 8-6): Phil Kratzenberg 1 0 4-4 6, Travis Carey 2 0 5-6 9, Marques Davis 3 2 1-1 13, Desmond Young 1 0 0-0 2, Hunter Klaiber 0 0 0-0 0, Ethan Wilson 3 0 5-7 11, Ryan Bryant 2 0 4-7 8, Ty Gunther 1 0 0-0 2, Raphael Glover 0 0 0-0 0, Joel Blankenship 0 0 0-0 0, Ayden Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Humphreys 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Adkins 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-35 19-25 51. 3-point goals: 2-6. Rebounds: 8-O, 24-D = 32 (Carey 12, Wilson 5, Young 4). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 8 (Kratzenberg 3, Davis 2, Wilson 2). Steals: 3. Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Young (4th 2:34).