PDT Sports Writer
ATHENS — When they felt threatened Friday night, the top-seeded Ironton Fighting Tigers stepped to the challenge.
Having its lead cut on two occasions to seven points in the third quarter, Ironton used an 8-0 to close the third quarter and defeated No. 2 Zane Trace 69-45 at Ohio University’s Convocation Center for a Division III Southeast District Championship. The Fighting Tigers will be in Wednesday’ regional semifinal against Martins Ferry, which defeated Sugarcreek Garaway 56-48.
The theme according to Ironton coach Mark LaFon was his team’s defense throughout the contest.
“I thought it sustained when we weren’t doing so well on offense,” LaFon said. “I thought our defense was solid the entire game.”
The Fighting Tigers held the Pioneers to 18-of-48 shooting from the field while recording 11 steals and forcing 16 Zane Trace turnovers. But LaFon did notice some frustration on his team’s part in some spurts of the contest.
“When you’re playing a team in the district finals, they’re not a bunch of chairs,” LaFon said. “They can score, they can dribble, they can shoot and they shot the ball pretty good in the first half.”
Trey Fletcher led all scorers with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Tyler Hinty led Zane Trace with 16 points, most of them coming in the first half.
Wes Beam also had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Pioneers. Zac Carter chipped in with 20 points and Trevor White added 11 in the win.
Ironton won the rebounding battle 28-25 thanks to a more focused effort on the glass in the second half.
Information from the Ironton Tribune contributed to this report.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com.
Zane Trace — Hutton 2-0-4, Mowery 2-0-5, Smith 2-2-6, Hinty 6-1-16, Beam 4-2-10, Rittenhouse 2-0-4, Totals 18-5-45.
Ironton — Carter 8-4-20, Glover 3-0-6, White 5-1-11, Fletcher 9-5-24, Stephens 2-2-6, Long 1-0-2, Totals 28-12-69.
3-Point Goals — Zane Trace 4 (Hinty 3, Mowery); Ironton 1 (Fletcher).
Records — Zane Trace 18-6; Ironton 21-2.