PDT Sports Contributor
JACKSON — In the game of basketball, runs can turn a tight deficit into a sizable margin in a heartbeat.
No. 3 Chesapeake used a 17-2 run to turn a two-point third quarter lead into a 17-point advantage and ran away with a 74-49 win over No. 11 Ironton in the last of the Division III Southeast Sectional Finals that was played Saturday at Jackson High School.
However, Fighting Tigers coach Mark LaFon was pleased with the grittiness that his team showed throughout the contest and contributed the loss to the Panthers’ size and length, which they utilized effectively as Chesapeake held a 38-20 advantage in the rebounding department by the end of the contest.
“They were just so long and gave us problems on the boards,” LaFon said. “I think that tends to wear you down the longer that you have to battle for rebounds.”
Phillip Kratzenburg and Joe Bowling were two of the many key contributors for Ironton on the evening, but especially during the second quarter of play as the pair combined to score 14 of the Fighting Tigers’ 18 points in the frame.
“(Krazenburg and Bowling) are two of our leaders,” LaFon said. “We only have one senior (Nate Garrad), so those guys will have to step up for us big time next year.
“We’ll go as they go. It wasn’t one of their better games overall, but I think they battled and they’ll get the work in this spring and summer and make themselves better basketball players.”
Even though Ironton loses just one senior, it is a pretty big loss from a leadership standpoint as Garrad finished his high school career Saturday evening.
“He’s a great kid,” LaFon said. “The one thing that I am sure about with him is that sometimes, when kids graduate, you think they are going to be okay, but with him, I am for sure.
“He’s going to be a great young man and a great family man. I’ve watched him be a great high school student for four years and he cares about people, he’s good to people and his heart is as big as this gymnasium.”
The Panthers started the contest on a 15-6 tilt before Ironton slowly cut into the lead, making it a 24-18 deficit by the midway portion of the second quarter.
Chesapeake went on a quick 5-0 run to extend the lead to 11 before the Fighting Tigers went on a run of their own, a 12-3 advantage, to cut the lead to two by the start of the third period. That’s when the Panthers went on the aforementioned 17-2 tilt to take a 17-point lead after three quarters of play.
Both teams traded a series of free throws throughout the duration of the fourth quarter as they combined to score 23 of the quarter’s 34 points from the charity stripe to set the final margin.
With the victory, Chesapeake advances to next Sunday’s Division III Southeast District Semifinals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center against No. 7 Wheelersburg.
Ironton 10 18 4 17 – 49
Chesapeake 19 13 17 23 – 74
Ironton– Kratzenburg 4-6-17, Bowling 3-3-9, Garrad 2-0-4, Cox 2-5-9, Young 3-2-8, Klaiber 1-0-2, Totals 15-16-49.
Chesapeake – Carpenter 1-1-3, Webb 1-0-3, Smith 1-2-5, Rhoades 5-3-14, Meadows 4-2-10, Heffner 5-10-20, Saunders 5-4-16, Thompson 0-1-1, Totals 22-23-74.
3-Point Goals – Ironton 3 (Kratzenburg 3); Chesapeake 5 (Saunders 2, Webb, Smith, Rhoades).
Records – Ironton 2-21, Chesapeake 13-7.