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Ironton rallies to stun Minford, 54-53

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

JACKSON — You live by the 3, you die by the 3.
The Minford Falcons were alive and well in the first half of Monday’s Division III sectional tournament game as they hit 9-of-14 from the 3-point line and 13-of-20 shots overall.
But the 3-pointers stopped falling in the second half and the Ironton Fighting Tigers left them for dead in a thrilling 54-53 comeback win.
Ironton trailed by 18 at the half and by as many as 20 points in the first half before dominating in the second half.
“You can’t let (Minford) go wild and every shot in the first half was open. They had like five different guys (make 3s). We had to come with pressure and make them put the ball on the floor. We played really tough defense,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“You take away the two 3s at the end, we give up eight points in the second half. I was thinking to myself something good has to happen to these kids. They’re playing so hard. Tonight it worked out our way.”
Ironton (7-15) will play Wheelersburg in the sectional finals at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Ethan Wilson and Charlie Large scored 16 points each and Reid Carrico scored 15 to lead Ironton. Carrico and Wilson had eight rebounds each and Wilson had six assists.
“The last couple of games he’s been very aggressive. It’s hard for someone to change your game when you don’t know your game,” LaFon said of Large.
Minford (8-15) was led Kelton Kelley and Breydan Tilley with 11 points each and Cameron Dalton added 10.
Minford came out hot with five 3-pointers and it was 22-14 in the first quarter.
Minford went on an 11-0 run to start the second quarter as Elijah Craft hit a pair of 3-pointers and Elijah Lewis had a triple to highlight the spurt.
Carrico converted a three-point play to stop the run but Nathan McCormick hit another 3-pointer as Minford took its biggest lead at 36-16.
Wilson’s driving layup with three minutes left in the half cut the lead to 37-21 but Kelley’s layup made it 39-21 at the break.
Large and Joel Blankenship scored to start the second half as Ironton cut the lead to 39-25.
The Falcons were just 1-of-10 in the third quarter and made four foul shots.
Two baskets by Large, a layup and two foul shots by Wilson and a layup by Carrico off a pass from Large sliced the deficit to 41-35 with 2:55 left in the quarter.
A 13-footer by Wilson and a short jumper by Large made it 43-39. McCormick made Minford’s only field goal of the quarter and it was 45-39.
Carrico made three straight layups and Wilson hit both ends of a one-and-one to give Ironton its first lead of the game at 48-47 midway through the fourth quarter. Large then scored and it was 50-47.
Tilley’s trey made it 52-50 but Wilson’s two foul shots put Ironton up 54-50. Tilley’s second 3-pointer got Minford within 54-53, but a 3-point attempt missed and Wilson grabbed the rebound at the buzzer.
Ironton       14    7    18    15    =    54
Minford    22    17    6    8    =    53
IRONTON (7-15): Ethan Wilson 3 1 7-10 16, Joel Blankenship 1 0 1-2 3, Hunter Humphreys 0 0 0-0 0, Ayden Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Reid Carrico 7 0 1-2 15, Kyle Adkins 1 0 0-0 2, Charlie Large 8 0 0-0 16, Trent Milleson 1 00-0 2. Totals: 22-42 9-14 54. 3-pt goals: 1-5. Rebounds: 8-O, 20-D = 28 (Carrico 8, Wilson 8). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 9 (Wilson 6). Steals: 5 (Wilson 2). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None.
MINFORD (8-15): Darius Jordan 0 0 2-2 2, Cameron Dalton 2 1 3-4 10, Kelton Kelley 2 2 1-2 11, Breydan Tilley 0 3 2-2 11, Nathan McCormick 1 2 0-0 8, Colin Coriell 0 0 0-0 0, Elijah Craft 1 2 0-0 8, Elijah Vogelson-Lewis 0 1 0-0 3. Totals: 17-41 8-10 53. 3-pt goals: 11-22. Rebounds: 5-O, 14-D = 19 (Dalton 5, McCormick 5). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 4. Steals: 3. Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.