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Ironton uses strong defense to beat Oak Hill for sectional title

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Collin Freeman (21) and Reid Carrico (20) team up to block the shot by Oak Hill Oaks’ Keaton Potter during Saturday’s Division 3 sectional championship game. Ironton won 42-28. (Photo By Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

JACKSON — In basketball, “D” stands for defense. As far as the Ironton Fighting Tigers are concerned, it could also stand from “dominant.”
Ironton used a dominant defensive effort to beat the Oak Hill Oaks 42-28 to give the Fighting Tigers the Division 3 sectional championship.
Offensively, the Fighting Tigers were 15-of-37 shots for 40.5 percent. But the offense was overshadowed by the defense.
Ironton (12-10) held the Oaks to just 2 points in the third quarter and single digit scoring over each of the first three quarters.
The Oaks made just 11-of-41 shots for 26.8 percent including 3-of-16 from behind the arc.
“It was a good, solid team effort. We really played some solid defense,” said Ironton first-year head coach P.J. Fitch who praise a cohesive team defense.
“Reid Carrico handled their big man (Chase) Hammond pretty much individually. We were rotating off different guys making the passing angles difficult. We mixed up the game plan a little bit to confuse them in terms of their entry pass. I thought the kids executed the defensive game plan perfectly.”
Carrico finished with a game-high 18 points to go with 6 rebounds. Jordan Grizzle added 9 points, Trent Hacker had 8 rebounds and Gage Salyers 8 points and 6 rebounds.
Hammond had 13 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocked shots for the Oaks (18-6).
The game was tied at 4-4 when Salyers drained a trifecta, Hacker had a driving layup and Grizzle hit a jumper to put Ironton up 11-4 at the end of the first quarter.
A layup by Carrico to start the second quarter made it 13-4 but Hammond had a layup and Drew Hanning a 7-footer and it was 13-8.
Carrico and Hammond traded baskets before Hanning hit a 3-pointer and it was 15-13 at the half.
The Fighting Tigers went on a 10-0 run to start the third quarter and it was 25-15 when Grizzle buried a triple with 1:53 on the clock.
Hanning ended the run with a layup for the Oaks’ only basket in the quarter. Carrico’s layup with five seconds left made it 27-15.
A putback by Hammond and a 3-point played by Keaton Potter cut the Ironton lead to 28-20 early in the fourth quarter.
But a layup by Carrico and a 3-pointer by Salyers opened up a 35-22 lead with 3:20 to play.
“The kids worked really hard and they deserved this win,” said Fitch.
UP NEXT: Ironton plays Eastern Brown at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, at Ohio University in the district semifinals.
“Eastern Brown is a very good ball club. I think they’re 22 or 23 and one They’re ranked in the top ten in the state. There are very solid. Shoot the ball well. We’ll have our hands full defensively, but when our kids are locked in defensively, we can guard just about anyone,” said Fitch.
Ironton 11 4 12 15 = 42
Oak Hill 4 9 2 13 = 28
IRONTON (12-10): Gage Salyers 0 2 2-4 8, Jordan Grizzle 2 1 2-2 9, Reid Carrico 7 0 4-6 18, Collin Freeman 1 0 0-0 2, Trent Milleson 0 0 0-0 0, Trent Hacker 2 0 1-3 5, Landon Wilson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-37 9-13 42. 3-pt goals: 3-8. Rebounds: 10-O, 24-D = 34 (Hacker 8, Carrico 6, Salyers 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 6 (Salyers 3). Steals: 2. Turnovers: 6. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
OAK HILL (18-6): Keaton Potter 1 0 1-1 3, Drew Hanning 2 1 0-0 7, Noah Donley 0 0 0-0 0, Chase Hammond 4 1 2-3 13, Luke Stewart 0 0 0-0 0, Landon Hines 0 0 0-0 0, Braylon Howell 1 1 0-0 5. Totals: 11-41 3-4 28. 3-pt goals: 3-16. Rebounds: 8-O, 16-D = 24 (Hammonds 12). Assists: 4 (Hanning 2, Potter 2). Steals: 3. Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.