Coal Grove uses defense to help hold off Ironton
COAL GROVE — You’ve heard the old saying, “Give them an inch and they’ll take a yard.”
With the Coal Grove Hornets, give them a turnover and they’ll take a layup.
The Hornets kept converting Ironton turnovers into layups as they held off the Fighting Tigers’ second upset bid in five days as Coal Grove posted a 48-44 Ohio Valley Conference win on Wednesday.
Ironton had 23 turnovers and 13 of those were steals by the Hornets’ defense.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the third quarter. We had eight turnovers in five minutes. When they got the 10-point lead all the points were on layups,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
Hornets’ coach Kevin Vanderhoof said his team got back to defense.
“I told the team on Monday they needed to commit to defense,” said Vanderhoof.
“Our press hurt them in the first half. I was proud of our kids after losing to them last Friday and coming back and playing hard.”
Coal Grove (15-5, 9-4) was led by Aaron Music with 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
Jalen McKenzie added eight points while Jeb Jones grabbed five rebounds.
Reid Carrico had 13 points and 13 rebounds for Ironton (6-14, 4-9). Kyle Adkins added nine points, Ethan Wilson had eight points and Ayden Barnes got five rebounds.
Wilson — Ironton’s leading scorer — sat out almost the entire first half after twisting his ankle on the Fighting Tigers’ first possession of the game.
Coal Grove got a layup by Jordan Case and a 3-pointer from Cory Borders for a 5-0 lead to start the game.
Ironton tied the game on a trifecta by Adkins and a basket by Carrico and later took a 9-7 lead on a layup by Hunter Humphreys off a pass from Ayden Barnes.
Music’s layup tied the game but Carrico had a layup and Adkins got a putback and Ironton had a 13-9 lead.
A 19-footer by Charlie Large and foul shot by Carrico put Ironton up 16-11. A 3-pointer by McKenzie got the Hornets within 16-14.
Joel Blankenship converted a three-point play but Jeb Jones made a layup, Borders hit a 3-pointer and Nate Harmon got a layup to put Coal Grove ahead 21-19.
Blankenship made both ends of a one-and-one and Carrico hit another free throw gave Ironton a 22-21 lead only to have Harmon make a short jumper and the Hornets led 23-22 at the half.
“We fought through (the first half) and it was a (one-point) deficit. I told them they’re going to come after you. We did not respond until the fourth quarter. We had our chances,” said LaFon.
Two foul shots by Case, a layup by Music and a steal and layup by Case put the Hornets up 29-22 to begin the second half.
Wilson drove for a layup to end the run only to have Music answer with a 3-pointer to trigger a 7-0 run as Coal Grove went up 36-24.
Carrico and McKenzie traded 3-pointers and then Adkins made two foul shots and Trent Milleson had a layup and it was 39-31.
The Fighting Tigers were their own worst enemy in the quarter with nine turnovers that limited them to just seven field goal attempts.
But Ironton kept coming as Wilson made a foul shot and then turned a steal into a layup. Adkins made two foul shots and it was 41-38 with 3:45 left.
Angelo’s layup put the lead at 43-39. Ironton free throws from Milleson and Wilson and a steal by Charlie Large who fed Wilson for a layup cut the deficit to 43-42 with 58 seconds to play.
Music made 3-of-4 free throws for a 46-42 lead with 24 seconds left. Carrico sank two foul shots and cut the lead to 46-44 with 17 seconds left.
Ironton was forced to foul again and McKenzie hit two free throws to seal the outcome.
On Friday, Ironton visits Portsmouth and Coal Grove travels to South Point.
Ironton 13 9 9 13 = 44
Coal Grove 9 14 16 9 = 48
IRONTON (6-14, 4-9): Ethan Wilson 3 0 2-4 8, Joel Blankenship 1 0 3-3 5, Ayden Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Humphreys 2 0 0-0 4, Reid Carrico 3 1 4-6 13, Kyle Adkins 1 1 4-4 9, Trent Milleson 1 0 1-2 3, Charlie Large 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 14-41 14-19 44. 3-pt goals: 2-11. Rebounds: 14-O, 18-D = 32 (Carrico 13, Barnes 5). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 6 (Barnes 2). Steals: 12 (Blankenship 3, Wilson 2, Carrico 2, Large 2, Adkins 2). Turnovers: 23. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None
COAL GROVE (15-5, 9-4): Aaron Music 3 1 3-6 12, Cory Borders 0 2 0-0 6, Jordan Case 2 0 2-2 6, Jeb Jones 3 0 0-2 6, Sam Angelo 3 0 0-0 6, Nate Harmon 2 0 0-0 4, Jalen McKenzie 0 2 2-2 8, Alijah Roman 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-42 7-12 48. 3-pt goals: 5-9. Rebounds: 8-O, 14-D = 22 (Music 7, Jones 5). Team rebounds: 5. Assists: 6 (Jones 2, Music 2). Steals: 13 (Music 5). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.