• 43°

Panthers use big 2nd half rally to avoid Ironton upset bid

Chesapeake Panthers’ Levi Blankenship (4) literally “locks down” defensively against Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Gage Salyers (4). (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Monday was the feast of the Epiphany, so the Ironton Fighting Tigers decided to come bearing gifts of missed layups and turnovers.
The Chesapeake Panthers were more than happy to accept the gifts.
Ironton squandered a 20-point lead in the third quarter due largely to 23 turnovers including 8 in the pivotal quarter and the unbeaten Panthers rallied with some pressure defense for a 63-61 Ohio Valley Conference win on Saturday.
Ironton (2-4, 2-2) led 45-25 as a 3-pointer by Trent Milleson and a layup by Jordan Grizzle off a feed from Reid Carrico early in the third quarter.
But Chesapeake (8-0, 4-0) outscored Ironton 19-5 the rest of the quarter to get within 50-44.
The Panthers cut the deficit to 53-47 on a putback by Josh Cox. Grizzle hit a 13-footer and Carrico made a layup and the lead was up to 57-47.
A 3-point plays by Cox closed the gap to 59-56 only to have Milleson follow up a missed shot and Ironton was up 61-56.
Ironton had a defensive stop and then came a key turnover. Chesapeake knocked a ball out of the hands of Grizzle who ran the ball down across the halfcourt line.
However, he was called for an over-and-back and Chesapeake got a layup by Cox to make it 61-58.
The Panthers took advantage of some missed shots inside by Ironton as Trent Dearth converted a one-and-one and they took a pass after a Chesapeake steal for a runout layup and a 62-61 lead with 35 seconds to play.
Another Ironton turnover caused by the Panthers’ defense led to a foul shot by Dearth with five seconds left and it was 63-61.
Gage Salyers’ 3-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked by Cox to end the game.
The Panthers led 7-6 on two foul shots by Travis Grim with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
Ironton went on an 8-0 run to lead 14-7 and 3-pointers by Grizzle and Salyers to end the quarter gave the underdog Fighting Tigers a stunning 20-9 lead.
A putback by Landen Wilson and a steal and layup by Trent Hacker opened up a 30-14 lead with 5:10 left in the half.
Ethan Taylor got the Panthers within 34-24 but a 3-point play by Carrico with 12 seconds left in the half made it 37-24 at the break.
Dearth led the Panthers with 16 points, 5 rebounds, 7 steals and 4 assists. Josh Cox had 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Carrico had a game-high 21 points and 16 rebounds as he enjoyed his second big game in two nights.
Milleson added 13 points while Hacker had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Ironton dominated the boards with 49 rebounds to 23. The Fighting Tigers had 21 offensive rebounds to just 8 for Chesapeake.
On Tuesday, Ironton visits Coal Grove and Chesapeake travels to Fairland in a battle for first place in the OVC.
Chesapeake 9 15 20 19 = 63
Ironton 20 17 13 11 = 61
CHESAPEAKE (8-0, 4-0): Nathan Cox 4 0 1-2 9, Levi Blankenship 1 1 4-7 9, Austin Jackson 1 0 2-2 4, Trent Dearth 6 0 4-6 16, Josh Cox 6 0 3-4 15, Ethan Taylor 2 0 0-0 4, Dilen Caldwell 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-54 18-25 63. 3-pt goals: 1-10. Rebounds: 8-O, 15-D = 23 (J. Cox 9). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 6 (Dearth 4). Steals: 11 (Dearth 7). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (2-4, 2-2): Trent Hacker 2 0 4-4 8, Jordan Grizzle 2 1 1-2 8, Reid Carrico 9 0 3-5 21, Collin Freeman 0 0 0-0 0, Trent Milleson 3 2 1-2 13, Gage Salyers 0 3 0-0 9, Landen Wilson 1 0 0-0 2, Caleb Hopper 0 0 0-2 0. Totals: 25-60 9-15 61. 3-pt goals: 6-15. Rebounds: 21-O, 28-D = 49 (Carrico 16, Hacker 8). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Assists: 10 (Grizzle 3, Hacker 2). Steals 6 (Carrico 4). Turnovers: 23. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None.