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Ironton upset bid falls just short against Portsmouth

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Ethan Wilson (right) drives against Portsmouth Trojans’ Matthew Fraulini (2). Wilson had 11 points but Ironton lost 56-50. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Just when the Ironton Fighting Tigers got something going in the right direction, another area followed the downward turn.
Ironton cut down on its turnovers but unfortunately saw its shooting percentage drop as well as they just fell short in their upset bid on Friday as they lost 56-50 to the Portsmouth Trojans in an Ohio Valley Conference game.
The Fighting Tigers had just 11 turnovers but was just 18-of-48 from the field for 37.5 percent despite taking shots they usually make.
“We did a better job of taking care of the ball compared to other games, but not what it takes to win a ballgame,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“When you don’t turn the ball over, that gives you a chance. We had an opportunity and we made some big plays defensively to get back in. We executed well in a lot of areas, but it’s just not coming together.”
Of the 48 field goal attempts, Ironton took 14 3-pointers and made only one.
“We’re not taking bad shots. Most of those shots are 8-, 10-footers. We’ve got to make those shots,” said LaFon.
“The inside guys did a good job and our guards did a good job helping out. Portsmouth is just big and strong (inside).”
Reid Carrico led Ironton with a game-high 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He also had two assists and two steals.
Ethan Wilson added 11 points — all in the second half — and had five assists and eight rebounds. Charlie Large scored eight points and had seven rebounds.
Portsmouth (8-3, 3-2) had four players in double figures as Isaac Kelly led with 12 points and 10 rebounds. D.J. Eley and Matthrew Fraulini scored 11 each and Reese Johnson added 10.
Portsmouth opened the game by taking an 8-2 lead. Large hit a baseline shot but Isaac Kelly hit a layup and Fraulini got a 3-pointer and it was 13-4.
Ironton closed the quarter with layups by Trent Milleson and Large and to cut the lead to 13-8.
Layups by Danny Lattimore and Gabe Gambill put the Trojans up 23-16.
But Carrico made a layup, Large hit a trifecta and Ryan Payne used a nice pass from Wilson to score and tie the game at 23 with 1:25 left in the half.
A layup by Johnson put Portsmouth up 25-23 at the half.
Carrico hit two straight baskets to begin the second half to give Ironton its first lead. Kelly scored to tie the game but Wilson’s layup put Ironton back on top.
Kelly answered with a 3-pointer to trigger a 7-0 run as Portsmouth went on top 34-29.
Two free throws each by Wilson and Carrico cut the deficit to 34-33 but Fraulini had a layup and Eley picked up a loose ball and hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the quarter and it was 39-33.
Ironton battled back on a pair of free throws by Hunter Humphreys, a 3-point play by Carrico and a 15-footer by Wilson to tie the game at 49-49 with 1:52 to play.
But two foul shots by Danny Lattimore, a layup by Johnson and a short jumper by Kelly pushed the lead to 55-49 with 30 seconds left.
On Tuesday, Ironton visits Fairland and Portsmouth goes to Coal Grove.
Portsmouth    13    12    14    17    =    56
Ironton       8    15    10    17    =    50
PORTSMOUTH (8-3, 3-2): D.J. Eley 1 3 0-1 11, Matthew Fraulini 1 2 3-5 11, Isaac Kelly 3 2 0-0 12, Reese Johnson 5 0 0-0 10, Danny Lattimore 1 1 3-4 8, Gabe Gambill 2 0 0-0 4, Myquel McKinley 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-54 6-10 56. 3-pt goals: 8-26. Rebounds: 10-O, 21-D = 31 (Kelly 10, Johnson 5, Lattimore 5). Assists: 5 (Eley 2, Fraulini 1). Steals: 7 (Fraulini 3, Eley 2). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (3-9, 1-4): Ethan Wilson 3 0 5-6 11, Joel Blankenship 1 0 0-0 2, Charlie Large 2 1 1-3 8, Ayden Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Reid Carrico 6 0 5-5 17, Kyle Adkins 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Humphreys 1 0 2-2 4, Trent Milleson 3 0 0-0 6, Ryan Payne 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 18-48 13-16 50. 3-pt goals: 1-14. Rebounds: 9-O, 24-D= 33 (Carrico 13, Wilson 8, Large 7). Assists: 9 (Wilson 5, Carrico 2). Steals: 4 (Carrico 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.