• 54°

Hacker triggers Fighting Tigers by Portsmouth, 52-38

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

Trent Hacker has been playing on a bad ankle. Maybe Ironton Fighting Tigers’ head coach P.J. Fitch should make sure it never heals.
A week ago, Hacker had 18 points and 6 rebounds in a win over Chesapeake. But his ankle hurt so bad, Fitch didn’t play him on Saturday in a comeback win over Gallipolis.
Fitch was hoping to limit Hacker’s playing time this Friday against Portsmouth but circumstances forced the 6-foot-2 senior captain into some extra playing time.
All Hacker did was score a career-high 20 points and grab 8 rebounds as Ironton beat the Trojans 52-38 in an Ohio Valley Conference game.
“We tried to get (Hacker) out early when we got up about 20, but we made some silly passes and were up 14 or 15 and had to put him back in,” said Fitch. “People don’t realize how much pain Trent is playing on with that ankle.”
Erickson Barnes had 11 points and 6 rebounds as Ironton (6-4, 6-4) won its third straight. Donovan Carr had 10 points and Miles Shipp 9 rebounds for Portsmouth (5-8, 3-6).
Portsmouth led most of the first quarter until a layup by Blake Porter gave Ironton the lead for good at 9-8.
Barnes then drained a 3-poiner and Hacker’s layup with 18 seconds left in the quarter made it 14-8.
A 3-point play by Hacker and a layup by Aaron Masters to begin the second quarter stretched the lead to 19-8 before a foul shot by Drew Roe ended the 12-0 Ironton run.
Dariyonne Bryant made three straight layups as Portsmouth got within 19-15 only to have Porter make a layup and Hacker hit a 3-pointer with 1:44 on the clock and it was 24-15 at the break.
“We played hard and built up a lead. We got up about 20 and then got complacent with the ball and let them cut it to 14,” said Fitch.
“This is one of the first games we’ve had where we’ve got ahead. But I’d rather tweek how to stay ahead than tweek playing from behind.”
York converted a 3-point play to begin the second half. A 3-pointer by Michael Duncan had Portsmouth down 29-22, but a putback by Caleb Hopper, a layup by Hacker and a 3-pointer by Barnes opened up a 36-22 lead with 3:41 left in the quarter.
The Trojans got within 40-26 early in the fourth quarter on a layup by Amare Johnson, but Barnes drained a trifecta and both Hacker and Masters scored inside as the lead jumped to 47-28 with 5:38 to go.
“We’ve been doing a pretty good job with some key guys out. We did a good job overall holding them to 15 points the first half,” said Fitch. “Part of the plan was to take away the transition game as much as possible and we did a good job boxing them out on the boards. They’re an athletic team and they can go off on you at any time.”
The two teams meet again on Tuesday at Portsmouth and then Ironton plays Coal Grove at home Wednesday before hosting Fairland on Friday.
Portsmouth 8 7 9 14 = 38
Ironton 14 10 14 14 = 52
PORTSMOUTH (5-8, 3-6): Drew Roe 3 0 1-2 7, Dariyonne Bryant 4 0 0-1 8, Daewin Spence 0 0 0-2 0, Donovan Carr 5 0 0-1 10, Miles Shipp 2 0 0-0 4, Michael Duncan 0 1 0-0 3, Chris Duff 1 0 0-0 2, Amare Johnson 1 0 2-2 4. Totals: 17-47 3-8 38. 3-pt goals: 1-14. Rebounds: 8-O, 12-D = 20 (Shipp 9). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Steals: 4 (Johnson 2). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
IRONTON (6-4, 6-4): Landen Wilson 1 0 0-0 2, Aaron Masters 3 0 2-3 8, Caleb Hopper 2 0 0-0 4, Erickson Barnes 1 3 0-0 11, Blake Porter 2 0 0-0 4, Trent Hacker 7 1 3-3 20, Will York 1 0 1-1 3, Tayden Carpenter 0 0 0-0 0, Jaxon Vance 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-46 6-7 52. 3-pt goals: 4-9. Rebounds: 7-O, 26-D = 33 (Hacker 8, Barnes 6, York 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 7 (Porter 2, Masters 2, Wilson 2) Steals: 6 (Barnes 2, Hackers 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.