PDT Sports Writer
ATHENS — For the third-straight season, the pupil ended the teacher’s season.
Behind a game-high 34 points from Zac Carter, Ironton won its third regional title in school history Saturday night with a 66-49 Division III Regional Championship victory over Oak Hill at Ohio University’s Convocation Center. The Fighting Tigers will take on Ottawa-Glandorf, which defeated Bloom-Carroll 60-56 in overtime, at 10:45 a.m. Thursday morning at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
The win is another for Ironton coach Mark LaFon over his mentor Norm Persin. LaFon played for and was an assistant under Persin at Chesapeake.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s special,” LaFon said.
The Oaks made the game tight for most of the night as there were six lead changes and three ties. Trey Fletcher sat on the Fighting Tiger bench for the remaining 11:07 of the half with two fouls while the game went to 22-20 in favor of Ironton at the half.
“I thought our pace was great,” Persin said. “Everybody says Oak Hill’s going to come in here and stall. No we don’t, we just look for good shots. I thought we took great shots all night.”
But in the third quarter, Carter exploded with 13 of Ironton’s 27 points in the third. While his team was 0-for-6 from the arc in the first half, Carter was 3-of-4 in the second half from deep.
“When he does his job of running the offense, he’s hard to stop,” LaFon said.
The Fighting Tigers closed the game out holding Oak Hill to seven points on 3-of-15 shooting.
“If you look at every shot that we shot, every single one of them rolled around,” Persin said. “They rolled around and they came back out. It looked like they were going to fall in and they didn’t, that’s what you go with with stuff like that.”
Along with Carter, Trevor White added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Fletcher finished with 10. Garrin Stiltner led the Oaks with 10 and Luke Hammond added 15.
Hammond, Ryan Gaines, Drew Haislop Nathan Kidd, Kyle Love and Cody Crabtree will be a part of a senior class that Persin will have to replace.
“I told the kids that if they’re not upset, then they haven’t learned a lot about being competitive,” Persin said.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oak Hill 9 11 22 7 — 49
Ironton 10 12 27 17 — 66
Oak Hill — Stiltner 8-1-19, Haislop 1-4-6, Kidd 1-2-4, Love 2-0-5, Hammond 5-3-15, Totals 17-10-49.
Ironton — Boykin 1-0-2, Carter 11-9-34, Glover 2-2-6, White 6-2-14, Fletcher 3-3-10, Totals 23-16-66.
3-Point Goals — Oak Hill 5 (Stiltner 2, Hammond 2, Love); Ironton 4 (Carter 3, Fletcher).
Records — Oak Hill 22-5; Ironton 23-2.
Ironton - 3rd state appearance in school history (last in 2005 as state runner-up, 1994)