Ironton Classic features foreign flavor

Published 2:18 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Jim Walker

This edition of The Ironton Classic has a distinct foreign flavor.
Two of the teams playing in The Classic with roster dotted by foreign players are the Huntington (W.Va.) Prep Blue Team and Wesley Christian.
The two-day basketball extravaganza gets underway on Thursday with four games followed by three games on Friday.
On Thursday, Huntington St. Joseph plays the always talented Columbus Africentric at 3 p.m. The St. Joseph Flyers face the Sciotoville East Tartans at 4:45 followed by Huntington High and Wesley Christian at 6:30 and the host Fighting Tigers and rival Ashland Tomcats at 8:15.
The girls’ game of The Classic features the host Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers going against the Raceland Lady Rams in Friday’s first game at 4:45 p.m.
Huntington Prep Blue plays the Fairland Dragons at 6:30 and the Fighting Tigers step up to the challenge of Wesley Christian at 8:15.
This marks the first season for the Huntington Prep Blue team, an extension to the highly successful Huntington Prep team. The Blue team has players from six different countries including Japan, Canada, Belgium, Nigeria and England as well as the United States.
Huntington Prep Blue is lead by 6-foot-9, 205-pound center Emmanuel Opkomo who is being recruited by Ohio State. Okpomo is a native of Delta State, Nigeria.
Fairland is loaded with potential college talent led by 6-foot-7 junior center Kollin Van Horn who was All-Ohio last year.
On the outside are 6-3 junior guard Gunner Short — a verbal commitment to Rio Grande — along with 6-foot junior Luke Thomas and 6-3 junior Isaiah Howell. The first junior starter is 6-foot point guard Ty Staten.
The Dragons also had 6-foot Keedrick Cunningham off the bench who ran for more than 1,000 yards in football and was All-Ohio honorable mention.
The Circuit Riders of Wesley Christian have plays from Canada, Columbia, Nigeria, Taiwan, Egypt, France and the United States.
Another game with some top players is the Sciotoville East and St. Joseph. East features two players with outstanding football credentials.

One player is 6-foot-5, 290-pound junior Blaine Scott who more than 30 Division I offers. Scott plays center for the basketball team.
Running back Akia Brown is the Tartans leading scorer in basketball. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior was the Division IV District Player of the Year last season in basketball.
The Huntington St. Joe Fighting Irish were the West Virginia Class A state champions last season and are led by Deaundra Murphy who had 37 points in a game earlier this season against Ironton.
On the girls’ side, junior point guard Lauren Runyon is the top prospect for Raceland.
Runyon was the team’s second leading rebounder with 6.9 per game last season. She is the top returning scorer as well.
The Lady Tigers counter with two starters from last season’s Division III Final Four qualifiers.
All-Ohio senior sharp-shooting guard Sydney Webb and junior point guard Lexi Wise lead the way but freshman Lexie Arden has proven to be one of the area’s top players in her brief career.
Admission each day is $8 and is good for all games that day.

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Ironton Classic Basketball Invitational
Sponsored By Western/Southern Insurance
Thursday, December 22
3:00 — Huntington St. Joseph vs. Columbus Africentric
4:45 — Sciotoville East vs. Ironton St. Joseph
6:30 — Huntington High vs. Wesley Christian
8:15 — Ironton vs. Ashland, Ky.
Friday, December 23
4:45 — Raceland Lady Rams vs. Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers
6:30 — Huntington Prep B Team vs. Fairland
8:15 — Wesley Christian vs. Ironton
Second team listed is the home team. All games to be played in the Conley Sports Center. Admission $8 daily.