Ironton comeback falls just short

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Ashton Layne (31) scores against North Adams Breestin Schweickart (23) during Sunday’s Division 3 district semifinal game. Ironton lost 60-56. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Shaun Terry (1) goes high into the air to score against North Adams. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

ATHENS — Leave the magnifying glass for Sherlock Holmes. It’s not necessary when looking at the end of the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ game.

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Although a couple of missed shots, turnovers and fouls late in Sunday’s Division 3 district semifinal game might be scrutinized, Ironton coach Chris Barnes said those factors weren’t the reason for the Fighting Tigers furious second half comeback to fall just short in a 60-56 loss to the North Adams Green Devils at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

“I don’t like the way when guys think one play costs you the game. If you miss a shot or turn the ball over late in the game, people think that cost you the game,” said Ironton coach Chris Barnes.

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Braden Schreck (22) goes up strong as he scores 2 of his 17 points against North Adams. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)

“The second quarter cost us the game. No player costs us the game. We did a super job coming back. We had the ball and a chance to win it, but when you get so far behind and come back, everything you do at the end is magnified. You can’t make a mistake.”

The game was back-and-forth early and Ironton was up 8-5 after a putback by Ashton Layne.

But Breestin Schweickart and Breansyn Copas made layups and North Adams took a 9-8 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish until late in the fourth quarter.

Ironton was just 4-of-9 from the field in the second quarter while the Green Devils began to take off as Connor Young hit a 3-pointer to make it 26-16 and then made a second triple with 14 seconds left in the half to extend the lead to 35-20. Schweickart followed with a layup and a free throw and it was 38-20 at the half.

“We said at halftime to get it to nine by the end of the third quarter and we got it to five,” said coach Barnes. “

“We got it tied and that’s all you can ask for. We had a possession there where a three could have won it or a two would send it to overtime. Most teams would have quit right there. These guys never quit.”

And quit they didn’t.

Judah Barnes set the tone as he drained a 3-pointer to start the half. Layne had a layup, Braden Schreck converted a 3-point play and Layne slammed home a dunk and it was 40-30 with 6:15 on the third quarter clock.

Copas made a foul shot but Barnes answered with his second trey and it was 41-33. Schreck drilled a trifecta and Layne had another 3-point play as Ironton cut the deficit to 43-39 with 2:28 on the clock.

Osborne’s 3-pointer gave North Adams a 48-41 lead but Layne sank a pair of free throws and it was 48-43 at the end of the quarter.

“The second quarter they did a good job changing their game plan. Their game is to shoot a ton of threes. They really attacked the basket on us hard,” said coach Barnes. “The second have I thought we attacked the basket better.”

Ironton tied the game at 55-all with 1:47 to play when Shaun Terry converted a 3-point play.

Copas and Terry traded free throws and it was 56-56 but Cody Hesler hit 2 free throws with 16 seconds left and after an Ironton turnover Osborne sank 2 foul shots with 6.9 seconds left and it was 60-56.

Layne had a monster game with 23 points and 15 rebounds for Ironton (17-8). Schreck got 17 points and Bailey Thacker pulled down 11 rebounds.

North Adams (19-5) was led by Rothwell with 19 points. Schweickart had 14 points, Copas 12 and Osborne 11.

Coach Barnes said Judah Barnes had 2 key 3-pointers and did a solid defensive job on the Green Devils leading scorer Copas by holding him to no field goals and only 2 free throws in the second half. He also praised the effort by Layne.

“If you would have told me that, I would have said we win the game. Judah played his best game,” said coach Barnes. “That was a great second half. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a freshman play like Ashton Layne. My gosh, he was everywhere.”

North Adams faces Minford at 6 p.m. Saturday in the district finals at the Convocation Center.

Ironton     12 8 23 13 = 56

North Adams 15 23 10 12 = 60

IRONTON (17-8): Shaun Terry 4 0 2-3 10, Bailey Thacker 0 0 0-0 0, Judah Barnes 0 2 0-0 6, Braden Schreck 4 2 3-5 17, Ashton Layne 9 0 5-5 23, Markel Cotton 0 0 0-0 0, Bryce Markin 0 0 0-0 0, Braylon Sturgill 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-48 10-13 56. 3-pt goals: 4-12. Rebounds: O-9, D-25 = 33 (Layne 15, Thacker 11). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 11 (Terry 7). Steals: 2 (Terry 2). Blocks: 1 (Thacker). Turnovers: 10. Fouls: 24. Fouled out: Layne ((4th 2:23).

NORTH ADAMS (19-5): Jayce Rothwell 5 0 7-9 19, Cody Hesler 0 0 0-0 0, Connor Young 0 2 0-1 6, Bransyon Copas 2 1 5-8 12, Carson Osborne 3 1 2-2 11, Breestin Schweickart 5 1 1-6 14. Totals: 20-45 15-27 60. 3-pt goals: 5-19. Rebounds: O-5 D-17 = 22 (Schweickart 4, Rothwell 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 3 (Rothwell 2). Steals: 7 (Osborne 2). Blocks: 1. Turnovers: 6. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.