Patient Dragons win 7th straight OVC title

Published 12:18 am Saturday, February 12, 2022

Jim Walker

Slow and steady wins the race.

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Much like the tortoise and the hare, the Fairland Dragons elected to slow the pace and keep the Ironton Fighting Tigers from running.

The slow, deliberate offensive stye worked as the Dragons pulled away late to beat Ironton 57-46 on Friday and thus clinch a seventh straight Ohio Valley Conference title.

“With Porter out, we figured they would go back to the old Princeton offense. We did everything we could to speed them up,” said Ironton coach Chris Barnes.

“But in this style of game you have to score to force their hand. But give them credit. They did what they had to do to win and they’s why they are OVC champs.”

Ironton (10-9, 8-5) was able to show flashes of its up-and-down style in the first half in taking a 32-26 lead.

But Fairland — using a slowdown offense due to the absence of leading scorer Aiden Porter due to an ankle injury — kept Ironton from running in the second half and the Fighting Tigers managed to hit only 5 field goals on 19 attempts. Fairland was 10-of-16 from the field in the second half.

“We had the guys we wanted taking the shots and we had a lot of shots that were wide open. We’ve been shooting well and they just slowed us down and we didn’t shoot well,” said Barnes.

Ironton led 12-7 with 1:32 left in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by Matt Sheridan.

Will Davis got a layup for the Dragons but Ty Perkins answered for Ironton and it was 14-9.

Davis hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Fairland got within 14-12.

Braden Schreck and Sheridan had layups as Ironton went up 24-18 midway through the second quarter.

Zion Martin had a putback and Brody Buchanan a layup to get Fairland within 26-24.

But a 3-point play by Schreck and then a trifecta by Schreck at the buzzer put Ironton up 32-26 at the half.

But that was it for the Ironton offense.

Fairland came out and went on an 11-2 run to take the lead. A layup by J.D. Thacker was the 3:04 mark gave Fairland its first lead at 35-34 and Steeler Leep followed with two free throws.

Lincoln Barnes then had a steal and turned it into a layup and can up with a second straight steal an fed Perkins and Ironton led 38-37 with 1:10 left in the quarter.

But a basket by Chase Allen with 4 seconds on the clock put Fairland back on top at 39-38.

Perkins putback his own missed hot to start the fourth quarter and Ironton had its last lead of the game at 40-39.

Allen and Thacker got layups before Barnes scored to get Ironton with 43-42.

Thacker made another layup and then knocked down a 3-pointer and Allen sank two foul shots with 3:02 to play and Fairland was in command at 50-42.

Two free throws by Ethan White cut the deficit to 52-46 with 1:15 left, but Davis had a 3-point play that sealed the outcome.

Allen led Fairland with 17 points while Thacker scored 16 and Davis added 11.

Schreck scored a game-high 21 points for Ironton while Perkins had 8 points, 7 rebounds,3 assists and 2 steals.

Failrand 12 14 13 18 = 57

Ironton 14 18 6 8 = 46

FAIRLAND (17-5, 11-3): Will Davis 3-5 1-2 2-3 11, Zion Martin 1-1 0-1 0-0 2, J.D. Thacker 5-8 1-2 3-4 16, Chase Allen 6-7 1-3 2-2 17, Steeler Leap 0-1 0-0 2-2 2, Brycen Hunt 3-3 0-0 0-0 6, Brody Buchanan 1-1 0-2 1-2 3. Totals: 22-36 10-16 57. 3-pt goals: 3-10. Rebounds: 25 (Thacker 6, Davis 5, Leep 5). Assists: 9 (Allen 4). Steals: 0. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Leep (4th 0:52).

IRONTON (10-9, 8-5): Landen Wilson 2-3 0-3 -0 4, Matt Sheridan 2-2 1-5 0-0 7. Shaun Terry 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Braden Schreck 6-8 2-4 3-4 21, Ethan White 0-1 0-0 2-3 2, Ty Perkins 3-4 0-3 2-3 8, Lincoln Barnes 2-3 0-1 0-0 4. Totals: 18-41 7-10 46. 3-pt goals: 3-18. Rebounds: 7-O, 9-D = 16 (Perkins 7). Assists: 6 (Perkins 3, Wilson 2). Steals: 7 (Barnes 2, Perkins 2). Turnovers: 6. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.