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Thomas, Hunt key Fairland comeback

Fairland’s Aiden Porter (1) goes high for a layup as Ironton’s Collin Freeman (21) defends. (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Maybe the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ didn’t want the ball, but Fairland Dragons’ Gavin Hunt was more than happy to take it.
And take it he did as Hunt had six of his seven steals in the fourth quarter that ignited the Dragons’ offense as they rallied from an early 14-point deficit to beat upset-minded Ironton 63-46 in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Tuesday.
Fairland hit 25-of-49 shots for 51 percent while the Fighting Tigers were 18-of-49 from the field for 46 percent. The Dragons were 7-of-18 from the 3-point line for 39 percent and Ironton was 3-of-9 for 33 percent.
The difference was Ironton’s 24 turnovers including 12 in the fourth quarter. Fairland had 12 turnovers.
“We drill it and drill it and go over it and over it. But it just gets inside a few of our guys’ heads when they throw one away,” said Fitch.
“But that’s not the disappointing part for me. It’s the second mistake. You don’t make a mistake and drop your head and walk back or job back. That’s disappointing.”
Another key for Fairland (13-1, 7-0) was the shooting of Clayton Thomas who scored 24 points and was 6-of-9 from the 3-point line. Aiden Porter had 19 points including 13 in the first half.
Reid Carrico led Ironton with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The game was tied at 2 when Ironton went on a 10-0 run to take a 12-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Gage Salyers with 4:28 left in the quarter.
A putback by Jordan Grizzle and layups by Carrico and Caleb Hopper put Ironton up 18-4 at the end of the quarter.
The scene changed in the second quarter as Ironton committed eight turnovers and Fairland made 10-of-13 shots of which eight were layups.
Porter scored 11 points including back-to-back layups to cut the deficit to 25-24 and then Jacob Polcyn made a layup that gave Fairland its first lead at 26-25.
But Carrico hit an 18-footer with five seconds left and Ironton was on top 27-26 at the break.
Thomas heated up and scored all 12 of Fairland’s points in the third quarter on 4-of-6 shots from well behind the arc and the game was tied at 38.
“He’s a crafty shooter. If you give him any daylight, he’s a deadly shooter. He got hot and shot them back into the game,” said Fitch.
Ironton had a 34-29 lead after Carrico followed up his own miss and then buried a 15-footer.
Carrico made a layup to start the fourth quarter as Ironton took its last lead at 40-38.
What followed was a flurry of turnovers that included six steals by Hunt as Fairland went on a 16-0 run to lead 54-40.
“Our back guys don’t want to flash into the middle which is where the pressure is. We did it great in practice and we did it great at Wheelersburg who tried to do the same thing and we executed it four or five times and they pulled it off. It’s disappointing that it was something we’ve repped against and broke successfully. It’s very disappointing to toss that game away,” said Fitch.
A layup by Collin Freeman with 3:44 left ended the run but Ironton could get not loser than 56-46 on a putback by Carrico with 1:43 to go.
On Friday, Fairland host Coal Grove and Ironton entertains Gallipolis.
Fairland 4 22 12 25 = 63
Ironton 18 9 11 8 = 46
FAIRLAND (13-1, 7-0): Jacob Polcyn 4 0 1-1 9, Aiden Porter 7 1 2-2 19, Gavin Hunt 4 0 1-4 9, Clayton Thomas 2 6 2-2 24, Jordan Williams 1 0 0-0 2, Zander Schmidt 0 0 0-0 0, Mason Manns 0 0 0-0 0, Nate Thacker 0 0 0-1 0, Cameron Mayo 0 0 0-0 0, Zach Tooley 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-49 6-10 63. 3-pt goals: 7-18. Rebounds: 7-O, 10-D = 17 (Polcyn 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 9 (Thomas 3, Williams 2). Steals: 12 (Hunt 7). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (5-5, 4-3): Gage Salyers 0 2 1-2 7, Trent Hacker 3 0 2-2 8, Jordan Grizzle 1 1 0-0 5, Reid Carrico 8 0 4-4 20, Collin Freeman 1 0 0-1 2, Trent Milleson 1 0 0-0 2, Caleb Hopper 1 0 0-0 2, Landen Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Brayden Easterling 0 0 0-0 0, Tayden Carpenter 0 0 0-0 0, Will York 0 0 0-0 0, Cameron Deere 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-39 7-9 46. 3-pt goals: 4-9. Rebounds: 10-O, 17-D = 27 (Carrico 11). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 6 (Grizzle 2). Steals: 8 (Hacker 4). Turnovers: 24. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.