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Ironton rises up to beat Ashland; LaFon gets 300th win

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Reid Carrico grabs a rebound while Ashland Tomcats Devaunte Robinson battles for position during Saturday’s game. Ironton beat Ashland 59-47. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

After a lackluster performance on Friday, the Ironton Fighting Tigers needed something to get their emotional as well as physical engines running.
Enter the rival Ashland Tomcats.
Ironton bounced back from Friday’s 59-51 loss to Chillicothe with their best overall performance of the season as they beat the Tomcats 59-47 at the Ironton Classic on Saturday in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score.
“If you can’t get fired up to play Ashland, you don’t have a pulse,” said Ironton coach Mark LaFon. “Every time I think we’re down and out, they rise up. It was just mentally getting ready.”
Ironton showed balance offensive as Charlie Large scored 16 points and had three assists, Reid Carrico had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Ethan Wilson got 11 points, four assists and three steals.
Ayden Barnes added seven points as eight different players scored for Ironton.
LaFon said Ironton needed more than just two or three players scoring.
“Everybody has to be ready when they are available,” said LaFon.
Ironton held a dominating 32-20 rebound advantage including 11 offensive boards to just two for Ashland.
Ironton shot 27-of-54 from the field for 50 percent and held Ashland (3-5) to 17-of-38 shooting for the game but just 8-of-25 over the first three quarters.
The Ironton defense was exemplified by Barnes who took four charging calls and drew praise from LaFon.
“We give awards and one of the things is charges. I told (Barnes) before the game I tripled the award for him. He stepped up,” said LaFon.
Hunter Mays scored 17 points — nine in the fourth quarter — to lead Ashland while leading scorer Devaunte Robinson had 13 points but only three in the first half.
The game was tied 6-6 after a 3-pointer by Mays and a foul shot by Ethan Hudson, but Large followed up a missed shot and hit a 13-footer, Hunter Humphreys hit a baseline shot, Barnes made a trey and Carrico got a putback as the lead grew quickly to 17-6.
A layup by Carrico gave Ironton a 31-14 lead with 2:18 left in the half and layups by Large and Barnes made it 35-17 at the break.
The Fighting Tigers were up 38-19 on a foul shot by Carrico in the third quarter before Ashland got within 39-26 on a 15-footer by Mays.
Carrico had a putback and Wilson a layup before the end of the quarter to extend the lead to 43-26.
Two foul shots by Trent Milleson with four minutes left gave Ironton its biggest lead at 51-30. After a layup by Carrico made it 59-41, LaFon emptied the bench and Ashland scored the final six points to close out the game.
The win not only gave Ironton a 3-3 record on the season but was the 300th career win for LaFon who is now 300-246 overall in 26 years including 52-52 in six years at Chesapeake, (girls’ coach), 53-72 in six years at South Point and now 195-122 in 14 years at Ironton.
“What a great game. It’s my kid’s (daughter Avery) birthday. Avery was born at 9 o’clock five years ago. It’s not about me. I’m sitting there (after the game) thinking about the win. I appreciate it. My dad being here. I appreciate it,” said LaFon.
Ironton plays next Friday and Saturday at the Cuyahoga Falls Tournament.
Ashland 8 9 9 21 = 47
Ironton 19 16 8 16 = 59
ASHLAND (3-5): Justin Bradley 2 0 0-0 4, Ethan Hudson 3 0 3-4 9, Hunter Mays 5 2 1-2 17, Devaunte Robinson 3 1 4-6 13, Russell Rogers 0 0 0-0 0, Ryan Adkins 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Gillum 0 0 2-3 2, Ethan Sellars 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 17-38 47. 3-pt goals: 3-12. Rebounds: 2-O, 18-D = 20 (Hudson 4). Assists: 5. Steals: 4. Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (3-3): Ethan Wilson 5 0 1-2 11, Reid Carrico 7 0 1-2 15, Charlie Large 8 0 0-0 16, Collin Freeman 2 0 0-0 4, Ayden Barnes 2 1 0-0 7, Jordan Grizzle 1 0 0-0 2, Trent Milleson 0 0 2-4 2, Hunter Humphreys 1 0 0-0 2, Trent Hacker 0 0 0-0 0, Will York 0 0 0-0 0, Richard Thompson 0 0 0-0 0, Erickson Barnes 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-54 4-8 59. 3-pt goals: 2-6. Assists: 10 (Wilson 4, Large 3). Steals: 6 (Wilson 3, Freeman 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.