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‘Fresh’ Ironton beats Rock Hill; Fitch gets first Ironton coaching win

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Trent Hacker drives for a layup against Rock Hill’s Garrett Miller (left) during a 59-39 win over the Redmen. (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

PEDRO — Fresh legs gave the Ironton Fighting Tigers a fresh start.
Ironton had a couple of days to recover from last Friday’s game and it showed in the Fighting Tigers’ shooting, defense and rebounding as they beat the Rock Hill Redmen 59-39 in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Monday.
“We were fresh and we played with intensity, but more importantly we were in the right spots,” said P.J. Fitch who got his first win as the Ironton head coach.
“Overall, other than the third quarter, defensively we played the way I expect us to play. For this early and for as few practices as we’ve had, I’m pleased (with how his team has handled pressure.)”
Trent Hacker led Ironton with 12 points and 8 rebounds while Gage Salyers gave Ironton a lift with 11 points off the bench. Reid Carrico had 8 points and 9 rebounds while Trent Milleson had 9 points and 8 rebounds.
“(Hacker) is a long, athletic kid who does a great job getting to the paint and setting other people up. Today, he got all the way to the rim and finished which is definitely something that is needed,” said Fitch.
Owen Hankins had 12 points and Brayden Malone 9 for the Redmen (3-6, 0-3).
Ironton was 25-of-63 from the field for 39 percent and 8-of-25 from the arc. The Fighting Tigers dominated the glass with 46 rebounds to 27 for the Redmen.
Rock Hill shot a dismal 12-of-44 for 27 percent including 2-of-9 from the 3-point line. The Redmen were 13-of-19 at the line while Ironton was 1-of-4.
Ironton (1-3, 1-1) opened up an 11-2 lead after a 3-pointer by Jordan Grizzle with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
After a free throw by Braden Stamper, Carrico made a layup, Salyers buried a trifecta and Hacker had a layup and it was 18-3.
Logan Hankins’ layup with 40 seconds on the clock made it 18-5 at the end of the quarter.
A layup by Carrico and a 3-pointer by Collin Freeman put Ironton up 25-7. Another trey by Salyers and a layup by Grizzle made it 31-12 and Brayden Easterling’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer put Ironton up 34-14 at the break.
Rock Hill turned the tables in the third quarter by outscoring Ironton 19-9 to cut the deficit to 10.
Ironton was leading 38-19 when Hacker hit a 15-footer, but the Redmen scored 6 straight points with Malone making a layup and it was 38-25.
Landen Wilson hit a triple for Ironton but Rock Hill came back with a layup by Owen Hankins and 3-pointers by Logan Hankins and Garrett Miller to cut Ironton’s lead to single digits at 41-33.
A layup by Salyers had Ironton up 43-33 at the end of the quarter.
“When I saw the Oak Hill score and the Oaks pulled it out at the end and beat (Rock Hill) by five, we were definitely concerned coming in. If we came out flat and played four full quarters, we could be in a dogfight,” said Fitch.
“We played three quarters and let our foot off the gas the third quarter. But we regained our focus and we were crisper on our rotations and did a much better job.”
But the Fighting Tigers regained control of the game to start the fourth quarter.
Carrico made a layup, Milleson hit a 3-pointer and Hacker had another layup for a 50-33 lead.
After a foul shot by Owen Hankins, Hacker got a layup, Freeman hit a 3-pointer, Milleson followed up his own miss and Hacker knocked down a 12-footer to a 59-36 lead with under three minutes to play.
Ironton host South Point on Friday and Chesapeake on Saturday. Rock Hill entertains Portsmouth on Friday.
Ironton 18 16 9 16 = 59
Rock Hill 5 9 19 6 = 39
IRONTON (1-3, 1-1): Trent Hacker 6 0 0-0 12, Jordan Grizzle 1 1 0-0 5, Reid Carrico 4 0 0-2 8, Collin Freeman 1 2 0-0 8, Trent Milleson 3 1 0-0 9, Gage Salyers 2 2 1-2 11, Brayden Easterling 0 1 0-0 3, Caleb Hopper 0 0 0-0 0, Cameron Deere 0 0 0-0 0, Landen Wilson 0 1 0-0 3, Noah Davidson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-63 1-4 59. 3-pt goals: 8-25. Rebounds: 21-O, 25-D = 46 (Carrico 9, Milleson 8, Hacker 8, Grizzle 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 10 (Grizzle 3, Freeman 2, Hacker 2). Steals: 6 (Grizzle 2, Freeman 2). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.
ROCK HILL (3-6, 0-3): Logan Hankins 1 1 3-4 8, Garrett Miller 0 1 0-0 3, Braden Stamper 1 0 3-6 5, Owen Hankins 3 0 6-7 12, Brayden Malone 4 0 1-2 9, Nick Blankenship 0 0 0-0 0, Jacob Schwab 0 0 0-0 0, Nick Doddridge 0 0 0-0 0, Baker Day 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 12-44 13-19 39. 3-pt goals: 2-9. Rebounds: 9-O, 18-D = 27 (Stamper 6, L. Hankins 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 4. Steals: 3 (Stamper 2). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None.