If Portsmouth coach Gene Collins had any worries about how his team would respond against one rival a night after a road win over another rival, they were eased within the first 3:46 of the game and the Trojans led wire-to-wire in a 71-40 nonconference win over Ironton.
“We talked about starting the game with energy,” Collins said. “We were trying to work on some of our full-court zone stuff to really get a good look at it because we feel like not only are we going to need it in the tournament but we’re going to need it Saturday against (Cleveland) Martin Luther King Jr. To start out 11-0 was great for us, it gave us energy and then on the offensive end, it allowed us to get comfortable.”
Twenty-four hours after a 42-38 win at Wheelersburg, Portsmouth raced out to the previously-mentioned 11-0 lead, seven points coming off Fighting Tiger turnovers. No player feasted more off the 16 Ironton miscues than Isiaha Lisath. The senior finished with a game- and career-high 20 points and scored nine of the Trojans’ 16 points off turnovers.
Lisath was joined in double digits by Ky’re Allison with 14 and Sky Oliver with 10. Collins said having another scoring threat rising with days before the state tournament draw is a good sign.
“We feel like if we’re patient, we get the energy going on the defensive end, we get the game going up-and-down, we make it simple,” Collins said. “Isiaha can knock down shots, he’s definitely our best shooter. When he gets looks like that and he gets on a roll, he makes us really good.”
The Fighting Tigers started the contest 0-for-2 from the field before Marques Davis started a 9-3 run midway through the first. It was one of the only positives Ironton coach Mark LaFon saw from his team in the contest.
“The bottom line was that we were not ready to play tonight,” LaFon said. “We came out and it wasn’t just sluggish, we weren’t ready and they were ready, that’s the bottom line. They beat us in all aspects of the game, we had no fight in us to get back into it tonight.”
Two nights prior, the Fighting Tigers were a 3-point make at the horn from sending their road game against the Pirates into overtime, falling 31-28. LaFon saw a regression from the second game in three nights.
“I hope that’s something that’s not going to continue because I thought we were starting to put some things together,” LaFon said. “When you play against a good team, you’ve got to come with your “A” game and we went out there definitely with a “D” effort or an “F” effort really.”
The Trojans finished the first with a 5-1 spurt to enter the second with a 19-10 lead. Allison buried a 3-pointer midway through the second that put Portsmouth up 27-16, which was the last time the Trojans’ lead went from single to double digits for the duration of the contest.
Collins said his team was more successful when they attacked the basket rather than settling for mid-ranger jumpers. However, Portsmouth was 11-of-19 from 3-point range.
Tistan Cox led Ironton with 11 points in the loss.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or on Twitter @CodyLeist.
Ironton 10 13 8 9 — 40
Portsmouth 19 14 20 18 — 71
Ironton — Kratzenburg 1-1-4, Bowling 4-0-8, Campbell 3-0-6, Cox 4-2-11, Davis 1-0-2, Young 1-0-2, Logan Gleichauf 2-1-5, Isaac Sherman 1-0-2, Totals 17-4-40.
Portsmouth — Oliver 3-2-10, Lisath 8-0-20, Allison 5-2-14, Lattimore 3-0-8, Dickerson 2-0-4, Reynolds 2-0-5, Purdy 1-0-2, Gibson 2-0-4, Delotell 1-0-2, Grashel 1-0-2, Totals 28-11-71.
3-Point Goals — Ironton 2 (Kratzenburg, Cox); Portsmouth 11 (Lisath 4, Oliver 2, Allison 2, Lattimore 2, Reynolds).
Records — Ironton 1-17; Portsmouth 14-3.