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Panthers race past Ironton

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

CHESAPEAKE — Turnovers from a bakery are sweet and delicious. Turnovers in basketball are like eating burnt toast.
Turnovers left a bad taste in the mouths of the Ironton Fighting Tigers as they were guilty of 25 turnovers in a 68-48 loss to the Chesapeake Panthers in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.
The Panthers had only 12 turnovers and used their fullcourt pressure defense to generate 16 steals.
“(The Panthers) are a quick, athletic team. We just panicked with the basketball,” Ironton coach P.J. Fitch said.
“There are three ways of breaking the box press and we’re well adverse and skilled in all three. You get a kid to the middle and you have to catch the ball and face up and make a good next pass. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the guy who is supposed to get to the middle doesn’t and that hangs the guard out to dry.”
Chesapeake (14-2, 9-1) opened the game with 7 straight points with Trent Dearth getting 4 of the points and Levi Blankenship hitting a 3-pointer.
“We played tougher tonight,” said Chesapeake coach Ryan Davis.
After a timeout, Ironton Jordan Grizzle drained a 3-pointer and when Gage Salyers hit his own 3-pointer and Reid Carrico made a foul shot the Fighting Tigers got within 14-13.
But back-to-back baskets by Blankenship and Nathan Cox gave the Panthers a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Carrico scored to start the second quarter only to have Ethan Taylor hit a 3-pointer and the Panthers were up 24-17.
Trent Hacker followed up his own shot and Carrico made a layup as Ironton cut the deficit to 24-21.
A trifecta by Salyers had Ironton within 28-26 but Dilen Caldwell and Dearth had layups and Taylor made a 3-pointer and suddenly it was 35-26.
Austin Jackson capped a 9-0 run to end the half as he hit two foul shots with 8 seconds left and the Panthers led 37-26 at the break.
Ironton had 13 turnovers in the first half.
Despite 7 turnovers in the third quarter, Ironton used a putback by Trent Milleson and two layups by Carrico to cut the deficit to 44-38.
Layups by Caldwell and Blankenship helped the Panthers got back on top 48-38 to end the quarter.
“We cut it to six points late in the third and at that point we had 14, 15 turnovers, we gambled in the halfcourt and they made two plays back-to-back and it was right back up to 10 (point lead),” said Fitch.
“Guys didn’t get where they’re supposed to on the press and threw it away on the wings and they’re shooting layups.”
A 3-pointer by Blankenship and a twisting layup by Jackson put the Panthers up 45-40 early in the fourth quarter.
Carrico’s layup stopped the run to make it 55-42 with 6:13 to go but Dearth’s layup triggered an 11-4 run and Blankenship converted a 3-point play with 2:49 left that made it 66-46.
Blankenship scored a game-high 24 points including four 3-pointers to lead the Panthers. He also had 6 steals.
Josh Cox had 12 points and 4 rebounds, Dearth 10 points, and Jackson 4 steals and 3 assists.
Carrico had 19 points and 8 rebounds for Ironton. Salyers scored 14 points and Hacker 10 points and 6 rebounds. Milleson had 6 rebounds as Ironton held a
On Tuesday, Ironton visits South Point and Chesapeake goes to Coal Grove.
Ironton 15 11 12 10 = 48
Chesapeake 21 16 11 20 = 68
IRONTON (7-6, 6-4): Gage Salyers 4 2 0-0 14, Trent Hacker 4 0 2-2 10, Jordan Grizzle 0 1 0-0 3, Reid Carrico 8 0 3-4 19, Trent Milleson 1 0 0-0 2, Collin Freeman 0 0 0-0 0, Caleb Hopper 0 0 0-0 0, Brayden Easterling 0 0 0-0 0, Landen Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Will York 0 0 0-0 0, Cameron Deere 0 0 0-0 0, Tayden Carpenter 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-46 5-6 48. 3-pt goals: 3-11. Rebounds: 11-O, 20-D = 31 (Carrico 8, Milleson 6, Hacker 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 5 (Salyers 2). Steals: 7 (Carrico 3). Turnovers: 25. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.
CHESAPEAKE (14-2, 9-1): Travis Grim 0 0 2-2 2, Nathan Cox 3 0 0-0 6, Levi Blankenship 4 4 4-5 24, Austin Jackson 1 0 2-2 4, Trent Dearth 5 0 0-0 10, Josh Cox 5 0 2-2 12, Ethan Taylor 0 2 0-0 6, Dilen Caldwell 2 0 0-0 4, Jacob Lemley 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-51 10-11 68. 3-pt goals: 6-11. Rebounds: 7-O, 13-D = 20 (J. Cox 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 10 (Jackson 3). Steals: 16 (Blankenship 6, Jackson 4). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 6. Fouled out: None.