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Unselfish Fighting Tigers hold off Circuit Riders

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Charlie Large (32) fights the Wesley Christian defense to score inside during Friday’s game of the Western & Southern Life Insurance Ironton Classic. Large had 12 points as the Fighting Tigers won 60-54. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Charlie Large (32) fights the Wesley Christian defense to score inside during Friday’s game of the Western & Southern Life Insurance Ironton Classic. Large had 12 points as the Fighting Tigers won 60-54. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

The Three Musketeers have nothing on the Ironton Fighting Tigers.
The “All for one and one for all” unselfish nature of the Fighting Tigers helped them hold off the Wesley Christian Circuit Riders 60-54 on Friday in The Western & Southern Life Insurance Ironton Classic.
“That was a key to us. They weren’t afraid to share. As a matter of fact, as halftime I had to say to them you keep looking around for each other against that zone. Sometimes you guys who can score just need to go,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“They’ve been a good group to coach as far as they’re good kids. They need to get a little nasty. They’re starting to get a little of that I think.”
Ryan Bryant led a balanced Ironton offense with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Charlie Large scored 12 points, Raphael Glover and Kyle Adkins scored 9 each, Joel Blankenship got 8 and Ethan Wilson had 5 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
Ironton had 13 assists as a team.
Brian Chuang hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points for Wesley Christian. Jeff Sun and Derek Rolle scored 10 each while Casey Colquit had 9 points. Rolle also had 13 rebounds.
Ironton (4-2) built a 14-point lead heading into the fourth quarter when for the second straight night their opponent began knocking down 3-pointers to make for a tight game.
The Circuit Riders were 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter and 9-of-25 for the game.
“I asked (assistant coach) Joe Young before we started is there something I’m doing that causes these guys to start lighting it up? I know I put it on the board. It’s something we’re going to have to start taking care of,” said LaFon.
“I’d rather have a big lead and cut it down to two and win than to have no lead or be behind and lose the game.”
Ironton led 7-5 after the first quarter and used a tip-in by Large, a foul shot by Adkins and put-back by Wilson to open up a 21-13 halftime lead.
A 3-pointer by Wilson and an 8-footer by Large made it 31-19 with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
Large scored the final 8 points of the quarter for the Fighting Tigers as they took a 39-25 lead.
“I felt good about the second half. Ryan Bryant really battled and dominated the boards the second half, whether getting (the rebound) or just blocking out where we could get it,” said LaFon.
“Glover had another good game. Wilson did well against their pressure. We had single digit turnovers. A lot of that has to do with him. We threw some new guys out there. Joel Blankenship had a good little tournament.”
Ironton visits Huntington, W.Va, on Wednesday.
Wesley    5    8    12    29    =    54
Ironton       7    14    18    21    =    60
WESLEY CHRISTIAN (NA): Loic Tehokgue 0 0 0-0 0, Jeff Sun 2 2 0-3 10, Casey Colquit 2 1 2-4 9, Derek Rolle 5 0 0-1 10, Momar Sokanako 0 0 0-0 0, Brian Chuang 1 5 1-2 18, Webber Liu 2 1 0-0 7, David Lee 0 0 0-0 0, John Aguer 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-54 3-10 54. 3-point goals: 9-25. Rebounds: 16-O, 25-D = 42 (Rolle 13, Tehokgue 7, Colquit 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 8. Assists: 10 (Liu 3, Colquit 3). Steals: 4 (Colquit 2). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Tehokgue (4th 2:12), Colquit (4th 1:24).
IRONTON (4-2): Ethan Wilson 1 1 0-1 5, Joel Blankenship 3 0 2-4 8, Charlie Large 5 0 2-2 12, Raphael Glover 1 0 7-12 9, Ryan Bryant 5 1 4-4 17, Kyle Adkins 1 2 1-3 9, Jourdyn Barrow 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Humphreys 0 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Dodgion 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-48 16-26 60. 3-point goals: 4-13. Rebounds: 8-O, 19-D = 27 (Bryant 9, Wilson 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 13 (Wilson 7). Steals: 6 (Adkins 2). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.