• 72°

Shots won’t fall as Ironton falls, 53-47

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Charlie Large (32) scores inside against the Wheelersburg defense during Friday’s Division III sectional championship game. The Fighting Tigers fell short in their upset bid as they lost 53-47. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

JACKSON — The shots were there. The shots were taken and looked good. The shots just wouldn’t fall.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers had numerous shots go in and out and they missed several close-range attempts to erase their upset hopes in a 53-47 loss to the Wheelersburg Pirates on Friday in the Division III sectional finals.
Ironton was just 18-of-49 from the field for 36.7 percent while Wheelersburg was 17-of-36 for 47.2 percent including 8-of-18 from the 3-point line for 44.4 percent.
“At the end of the day, that’s what your most proud of. They continued to fight through it,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon. “But in the end, you just have to make shots.”
The difference in the shooting was the Pirates’ Cole Lowery who was 6-of-10 from the 3-point arc and scored 22 points.
Tanner Holden added 17 points — all in the second half — for the Pirates (18-3).
“Obviously, that’s something I’m going to have to change where we can find someone who doesn’t make those shots,” LaFon said tongue-in-cheek. “(Lowery) took a couple of them from 26 feet. There’s not much you can do about that.”
Ironton freshman Reid Carrico had a double-double as he scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Kyle Adkins knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 11 points for the Fighting Tigers (7-16).
Lowery hit two 3-pointers and Connor Mullins a short jumper as Wheelersburg took an 8-0 lead to start the game.
Two layups by Charlie Large and a free throw by Ethan Wilson cut the deficit to 11-7 only to have Mullins hit a 3-pointer to make it 14-7 at the end of the quarter.
Ironton ran off 10 unanswered points to start the second quarter — six by Carrico including a short jumper over the 6-foot-7 Holden to give Ironton its only lead at 16-14 with 4:33 on the clock.
Lowery hit another 3-pointer to end the run and tie the game at 17. J.J. Truitt made his own 3-pointer and hit one-of-two foul shots as the Pirates went up 21-17.
The Pirates opened up a 31-21 lead on a layup by Mullins with 5:06 on the third quarter clock. Two layups by Carrico made it 33-28.
Holden sank two free throws to put the Pirates up 39-28 but a trifecta by Adkins and a layup by Carrico cut the deficit to 39-33 at the end of the quarter.
The Pirates opened up a 43-34 lead early in the fourth quarter before layups by Wilson and Adkins got Ironton within 45-40.
Holden’s layup put the lead at 50-44 but he was called for a foul and then a technical foul with 40 seconds left and Carrico went 3-of-4 from the foul line to leave Ironton down 50-47.
But Ironton couldn’t connect on the ensuing possession and were forced to foul. Truitt sank two foul shots and Holden made one and it was 53-47.
Ironton       7    10    16    14    =    47
Wheelersburg    14    7    18    14    =    53
IRONTON (7-16): Ethan Wilson 2 0 3-4 7, Joel Blankenship 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Humphreys 0 0 0-0 0, Ayden Barnes 0 0 0-0 0, Reid Carrico 9 0 5-8 23, Kyle Adkins 1 3 0-0 11, Charlie Large 3 0 0-0 6, Trent Milleson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-49 8-12 47. 3-pt goals: 3-9. Rebounds: 10-O, 21-D = 31 (Carrico 10, Humphreys 4, Large 4). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 9 (Wilson 6). Steals: 10 (Wilson 4, Carrico 2). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 23. Fouled out: None.
WHEELERSBURG (18-3): Connor Mullins 2 1 0-0 7, Cole Lowery 2 6 0-1 22, Mack Dyer 0 0 0-0 0, J.J. Truitt 0 1 4-6 7, Tanner Holden 5 0 7-11 17, Trent Salyers 0 0 0-0 0, Justin Salyers 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-36 11-18 53. 3-pt goals: 8-18. Rebounds: 3-O, 16-D = 19 (Truitt 7, Holden 4). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 6 (Lowery 2, Mullins 2). Steals: 9 (Holden 3, Lowery 3). Turnovers: 20. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.