Ironton loses heartbreaker in sectional finals

Published 1:52 am Sunday, February 26, 2023

By Jim Walker

NEW LEXINGTON — The Ironton Fighting Tigers weren’t really looking for a seasonal change.

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Although spring is on the horizon, Ironton was hoping for more of fall on Saturday night. That’s fall and in the shots starting to fall.

Despite good looks, Ironton was 19-of-47 from the field including just 2-of-16 from behind the arc.

And it was two shots at the end of regulation that wouldn’t fall and produce a win that sent the game into overtime where the New Lexington Panthers were able to get a 49-43 win and claim the Division 2 sectional title.

With the game tied a 39-all, Ironton held for the last shot.

Braden Schreck took a 15-footer that hit the back of the rim and came out. Landen Wilson grabbed the ball and put up another shot that hit off to the side and New Lexington got the rebound and the game went into overtime.

“That was a good shot. He makes it a lot. I told them after the game if you had told me we would go against a team that’s 20-3, play them on their floor and you give me two shots at the end to win, I’ll take that all the way through the tournament,” said Ironton coach Chris Barnes.

“It was a good look, we got a good rebound off of it, we got another second shot and it just didn’t fall. It was like that all night.”

Isaac Dick had a layup and Lukas Ratliff sank two free throws that gave the Panthers the lead for good at 43-39 to begin the overtime.

Shaun Terry got a steal and layup only to have the Panthers hit 4-of-6 free throw attempts to lead 46-41. Schreck scored to cut the deficit to 46-43 with 17 seconds left, but 3-of-4 foul shooting sealed the outcome.

The Fighting Tigers (17-7) trailed 24-20 at the half and was lookin at a 26-24 deficit when they went on a 14-0 run to end the quarter and had a 36-26 lead. But Ratliff made back-to-back 3-pointers and then Bentley Hanson hit a trey that got the Panthers within striking distance at 36-35.

Isaiah Stephens sank two free throws that enabled the Panthers tote the game and force the overtime.

The game was tied 12–12 at the end of the first quarter but New Lexington used a 3-poiner play by Hanson to lead 24-20 at the half.

Ironton got back-to-back baskets by Ethan White and Schreck to tie the game and Terry hit two foul shots and then turned a steal into a layup for a 30-26 lead.

A couple of layups by Schreck to end the quarter gave Ironton a 36-26 lead as the Fighting Tigers outscored the Panthers 16-2 in the quarter including the final 14 points.

“I thought we gave an outstanding effort. The this quarter we held them to two points. They’re supposed to be the fantastic defensive team and they were. They were a fantastic defensive team. You can see by the score. But, we’re not too bad, either,” said Barnes.

Terry had 20 points with Schreck scoring 14 to lead Ironton’s scoring. Hobbs scored 14 and Ratliff.

“We were up ten and their senior came out and hit two bombs. Lincoln did a great job on him but those shots were deep from behind the 3 (point line),” said Barnes.

“Their big scorer (Stephens) averages 18 a game and he didn’t have a field goal. Landen did a fantastic job.”

Coach Barnes said Ironton will miss their five seniors Amari Felder, Tayden Carpenter, Lincoln Barnes, Ethan White and Landen Wilson.

“I’m proud of these seniors. They’re going out winners. You see that on and off the court,” said coach Barnes. “With the injuries we had and the loss of players early to college, I don’t think anyone thought this group would win 17 games at the beginning of the year.”

Ironton             12 8 16 3 4 = 43

New Lexington 12 12 2 13 10 = 49

IRONTON (17-7): Lincoln Barnes 1 0 0-0 2, Shaun Terry 7 1 3-5 20, Landen Wilson 0 1 0-0 3, Braden Schreck 7 0 0-1 14, Ethan White 2 0 0-0 4, Hayden Carpenter 0 0 0-0 0, Amari Felder 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-47 3-7 43. 3-pt goals: 2-16. Rebounds: 9-O, 12-D = 21 (Barnes 5, Schreck 4, Terry 4, White 3, Wilson 2). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 5 (Schreck 3). Steals: 9 (Terry 4, White 2, Wilson 2). Blocks: 2 (White, Terry). Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Wilson (0:12 OT).

NEW LEXINGTON (20-4): Isaiah Stephens 0 0 6-6 6, Isaac Dick 2 1 1-2 8, Lukas Ratliff 1 3 2-3 13, Bentley Hanson 2 1 1-1 8, Ryan Hobbs 2 2 4-5 14, Derek Bradley 0 0 0-0 0.. Totals: 14-36 14-17 49. 3-pt goals: 7-16. Rebounds: 10-O, 18-D – 28 (Ratliff 6, Hobbs 6, Stephens 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 3, Steals: 3. Blocks: 0. Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.