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Ironton overcomes obstacles to post win in opener, 54-30

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

No summer workouts. No fall open gym workouts. No scrimmages. No returning starters.
For the Ironton Fighting Tigers, no problem.
COVID restrictions and the late start due to the football team’s tournament run were also among the obstacles facing Ironton, but the Fighting Tigers found a way to get a win in their season opener as they topped the Rock Hill Redmen 54-30 in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.
“We had guys late from the football run and the touch isn’t there yet and we have a whole lot of new kids on the squad so we’ve got a lot to teach,” said Ironton coach P.J. Fitch.
“But we played hard and scrappy. We have a long list of opportunities for improvement.”
Erickson Barnes drained three 3-pointers and scored 11 points to lead a balanced Ironton offense. Caleb Hopper had 9 points while Tayden Carpenter had 8 points and 6 rebounds.
“Erickson has been working hard to expand his game. He shot the ball well,” said Fitch.
Ironton held a 35-30 rebound advantage against the taller Redmen but the biggest difference was the Fighting Tigers’ defense forcing 24 turnovers including 15 in the first half as they built a 29-11 lead.
“We couldn’t let them push us around. We had to be physical,” said Fitch.
“The difference about this year’s team, we’re not as strong or as athletic as last year, but we’re deeper. I can play eight to 10 guys and still extend the floor. I felt our young kids stepped up and played well and we played smart.”
Brayden “Larry” Adams led Rock Hill (0-2, 0-2) with a game-high 13 points and two steals. Jacob Schwab had 7 rebounds and Owens Hankins grabbed 6 boards.
Ironton jumped out to a 16-4 first quarter as Barnes hit a three beyond the arc. Adams then made a layup just before the buzzer and it was 16-6.
Barnes sat out most of the second quarter along with Carpenter as both had three fouls. But Caleb Hopper hit a baseline shot and Jaxon Vance drained a 3-pointer for his first varsity points and Ironton led 29-9 with 1:30 left in the half.
Adams got another layup just before the buzzer and it was 29-11 at the half.
Hopper had 4 more points and it was 34-13 with 4:48 on the third quarter clock. Will York’s reverse layup before the end of the quarter gave Ironton a 41-20 cushion.
Both teams emptied the bench in the fourth quarter. A layup by Blake Porter and a putback by York gave Ironton its biggest lead at 54-28.
Rock Hill 6 5 9 10 = 30
Ironton 16 13 12 13 = 54
ROCK HILL (0-2, 0-2): Noah Doddridge 0 0 0-0 0, Owen Hankins 1 0 2-3 4, Brayden Adams 4 0 5-8 13, Brayden Malone 1 0 0-0 2, Jacob Schwab 2 0 0-1 4, Deven Long 0 0 0-0 0, Trenton Williams 0 0 0-0 0, Victory Day 0 0 1-2 1, Hunter Blagg 0 0 2-4 2, Chanz Pancake 0 0 0-0 0, Lane Smith 1 0 0-0 2, Jason Johnson 1 0 0-0 2, James Knipp 0 0 0-2 0, Dylan 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-38 10-18 30. 3-pt goals: 0-5. Rebounds: 7-O, 23-D = 30 (Schwab 7, Hankins 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 3. Steals: 4 (Adams 2). Turnovers: 24. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (1-0, 1-0): Landen Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Trent Hacker 3 0 1-5 7, Caleb Hopper 4 0 1-2 9, Erickson Barnes 1 3 0-0 11, Tayden Carpenter 2 1 1-2 8, Terrence West 1 0 1-4 3, Will York 3 0 1-2 7, Jaxon Vance 1 1 0-0 5, Braxton Pringle 0 0 0-0 0, Aaron Masters 0 0 0-0 0, Blake Porter 2 0 0-1 4. Totals: 22-48 5-16 54. 3-pt goals: 5-14. Rebounds: 10-O, 25-D = 35 (Carpenter 6, Wilson 5, York 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 12 (Wilson 5, Carpenter 3). Steals: 9 (Hacker 6). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 24. Fouled out: None.