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Turnover trouble beats Ironton

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ guard Joel Blankenship (right) hits a 3-point goal over Huntington’s Grant Subik during Wednesday’s game. Ironton fell to the Highlanders 57-44. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ guard Joel Blankenship (right) hits a 3-point goal over Huntington’s Grant Subik during Wednesday’s game. Ironton fell to the Highlanders 57-44. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The “2-for-1” turnover special was supposed to be at McDonald’s, not the Huntington High gym.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers committed 27 turnovers — more than half unforced — in a 57-44 loss to the Huntington Highlanders on Wednesday.
“We’re just not in a position to compete with the upper teams in our area right now. That’s just what it is. We’re not taking care of the ball, and there’s some things you have to do execution-wise we’re not ready for yet. We’ll get there, but we’re not there yet,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
Huntington opened the game with a 7-0 run and led 11-2 when Ironton’s Kyle Adkins drained a 3-pointer and Charlie Large drove for a layup.
The Highlanders (3-1) took a 19-10 lead on a 19-footer by Chris Thornburg before a layup by Ethan Wilson got Ironton within 19-12 at the end of the quarter.
Huntington went up 22-12 to start the second quarter but Ironton began to battle back.
Layups by Jourdyn Barrow and Raphael Glover got Ironton within 26-23 with 2:03 left in the half, but a steal and layup by Mikael Dawson gave Huntington a 28-23 lead at the break.
Ironton (4-3) had 16 turnovers in the first half.
“It should have been a one possession (game). We turned the ball over three times in the last 47 seconds,” said LaFon.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘fortunate.’ If we don’t turn the ball over that much we should have had the lead. I was really upset to be quite honest. We turned the ball over 16 times in the half. I was very frustrated with that.”
A nice pass from Wilson enabled Glover to score to open the second half and it was 28-25. But the Highlanders went up 37-25 after a foul shot by Andrew Shull at the 5:52 mark.
The spread reached 40-27 at the 3:25 mark after a 3-pointer by Grant Subik. Two straight layups by Glover made it 40-31 but Huntington took a 46-33 lead after three quarters.
“The biggest lesson of all is you’ve got to play hard all the way through whether it’s going great for you or if’s you’re making a run and it doesn’t work out for you. One time we made a run and I looked up and it was 40-31 and I thought the score was wrong. I thought we were closer than that,” said LaFon.
“The effort has to be there. I’m not going to compliment you for breathing. You’ve got to play hard all the time. It has to be a group effort. That’s the thing they don’t understand. We don’t have the individual who can do what a couple of individuals can do on their team.”
Ironton got within 48-38 after a nice pass form Large to Glover resulted in a layup with 4:50 left.
But the Fighting Tigers could get no closer.
“The thing that frustrates me is when I see the same kind of thing happening over and over again without an adjustment. It’s not early in the season, but it’s definitely not game number 19,” said LaFon.
“These teams we’re playing are no slouches. This was a good team. The Fairlands of the world are a good team. We have to work to be able to compete with them.”
Glover had 13 points and 8 rebounds while Ryan Bryant had 10 points and 7 rebounds for Ironton.
Dawson scored a game-high 26 points and Subik had 18 points for Huntington.
Ironton will host Gallipolis in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Tuesday.
Ironton       12    11    10    11    =    44
Huntington    19    9    18    11    =    57
IRONTON (4-3): Ethan Wilson 1 0 0-0 2, Kyle Adkins 1 2 0-0 8, Charlie Large 2 0 0-0 4, Raphael Glover 6 0 1-5 13, Ryan Bryant 2 0 6-11 10, Joel Blankenship 0 1 0-0 3, Jourdyn Barrow 1 0 0-0 2, Hunter Humphreys 0 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Dodgion 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor Hacker 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 17-37 7-15 44. 3-point goals: 3-8. Rebounds: 9-O, 27-D = 36 (Glover 8, Bryant 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 10 (Wilson 3, Large 3, Blankenship 2, Adkins 2). Steals: 7 (Wilson 3, Large 2). Turnovers: 27. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Glover (4th 1:23).
HUNTINGTON (3-1): Jaden Hayes 0 0 0-0 0, Grant Subik 3 3 3-3 18, Mikael Dawson 12 0 2-3 26, Tanner Stevens 0 0 0-0 0, Dewey Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Raekwon Saunders 1 0 1-2 3, Chris Thornburg 2 0 0-0 4, Andrew Shull 0 0 6-8 6. Totals: 21-50 12-16 57. 3-point goals: 3-20. Rebounds: 5-O, 16-D = 21 (Saunders 9). Team/deadball rebounds 3. Assists: 8 (Thornburg 2, Subik 2). Steals: 12 (Dawson 4, Hayes 3). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.