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Ironton, Barnes slip past Trojans


Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Caleb Hopper took a lob pass and lays it in for an easy layup. (Kent Sanborn/Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

PORTSMOUTH — The shots didn’t fall. The free throws didn’t fall. But thanks to Erickson Barnes, the Ironton Fighting Tigers didn’t fall.
While Ironton struggled with its shooting all night, Ironton’s 6-foot-2 senior picked up his teammates with some clutch shooting as the Fighting Tigers slipped past the Portsmouth Trojans 48-44 in an Ohio Valley Conference game on Tuesday.
Ironton (7-4, 7-4) led more of the first half but fell behind by as many as 5 points early in the fourth quarter. But Barnes 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half including 7 in the fourth quarter as Ironton rallied for the win.
The Fighting Tigers were only 18-of-51 from the field and a dismal 6-of-17 from the foul line, both a 35 percent average. The foul shooting left Ironton coach P.J. Fitch shaking his head.
“I had a few gray hairs and with our foul shooting at the end there were a few of those gray hairs that fell out,” said Fitch who said each player shoots 50 free throws a day.
“Erickson Barnes, thankfully, closed the game out. He shoots year-round and you can tell. He hit some big shots and got some big rebounds. Without (Trent) Hacker, we’re going to have to win some ugly ones.”
The score changed hands three times in the first quarter and it was tied 11-all at the end of the stanza.
Tayden Carpenter hit a 3-pointer and Landen Wilson had a driving layup that gave Ironton a 16-11 lead to begin the second quarter.
But neither team could makes shot as Ironton was 3-for-13 and Portsmouth just 1-of-9 and Ironton lead 18-14 at the break after a layup by Barnes.
The Trojans (6-9, 4-7) came out hot in the third quarter as they made 7-of-11 shots and opened up a 33-27 lead after two free throws by Amare Johnson, a layup by Miles Shipp and a 3-poiner by Donovan Carr.
Barnes hit a baseline shot and then drained a trifecta at the buzzer as Ironton got within 33-32 to end the quarter.
“We had point-blank layups. (Caleb Hopper) Hop’s knee is still bothering him and we couldn’t play him as much as we wanted. We play hard. We may not play smart, but we play hard. We executed two consecutive plays and got right back in it,” said Fitch.
Layups by Shipp and Dariyonne Bryant to begin the fourth quarter gave the Trojans at 37-32 lead, but Blake Porter drilled a 3-pointer, Barnes had a steal and hit a 15-footer and Carpenter hit another triple to put Ironton up 40-39 with 2:33 to play.
Barnes had another steal he turned into a layup and two foul shots by Wilson made it 44-39.
Portsmouth was within 44-43 after two foul shots by Shipp. Porter hit a free throw and Portsmouth missed two straight shots with Barnes getting the rebound and was fouled.
He hit both shots with 20 second to play and went 1-for-2 seconds later to seal the outcome.
Besides his 21 points, Barnes had 10 rebounds and 2 steals. Wilson had 9 points and a pair of assists while Will York grabbed 6 rebounds.
Shipp had 10 points and 8 rebounds with Bryant getting 10 points and Carr 8 points and 7 rebounds for Portsmouth.
Ironton hosts Coal Grove Wednesday and Fairland Friday.
Ironton 11 7 14 16 = 48
Portsmouth 11 3 19 11 = 44
IRONTON (7-4, 7-4): Landen Wilson 2 1 2-3 9, Aaron Masters 1 0 0-2 2, Caleb Hopper 1 0 0-2 2, Blake Porter 1 1 1-4 6, Will York 1 0 0-0 2, Erickson Barnes 6 2 3-4 21, Tayden Carpenter 0 2 0-2 6. Totals: 18-51 6-17 48. 3-pt goals: 6-21. Rebounds: 13-O, 20-D = 33 (Barnes 10, York 6) Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 5 (Wilson 2, Masters 2). Steals: 8 (Masters 3, Barnes 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.
PORTSMOUTH (6-9, 4-7): Drew Roe 0 2 2-4 8, Dariyonne Bryant 5 0 0-0 10, Donovan Carr 1 2 0-0 8, Michael Duncan 0 0 0-0 0, Miles Shipp 4 0 2-4 10, Amare Johnson 0 0 2-3 2, Chris Duff 1 1 1-3 6, Daewin Spence 0 0 0-0 0, Devin Lattimore 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-42 7-14 44. 3-pt goals: 5-17. Rebounds: 6-O, 25-D = 31 (Shipp 8, Carr 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Steals: 4 (Carr 2). Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.