Fighting Tigers take down Blue Devils

By Paul Boggs -

IRONTON, Ohio — The Blue Devils did everything they could to run right with the Ironton Fighting Tigers.

Unfortunately for visiting Gallia Academy, it ran out of gas in a high-octane pace.

As a result, in a key Ohio Valley Conference boys basketball bout on Tuesday night, the Fighting Tigers pulled away from the upstart Blue Devils by a final count of 56-43.

The contest was Gallia Academy’s first since Dec. 23 — a 65-43 rout of intra-county rival South Gallia.

Ironton, in the decisive fourth quarter, amassed 25 points to the Blue Devils’ eight —and pulled away from the final of three ties at 38-38 with six minutes and 10 seconds to play.

The other two ties were at 22-22 and 24-24 in the third period, as Ironton led 7-6 after the opening quarter — before Gallia Academy moved ahead 18-17 at halftime.

The Blue Devils then outscored the Tigers 17-14 in the third frame — for a slim 35-31 advantage entering the fourth stanza.

There were 15 lead changes throughout the 32-minute slugfest — the final of which was Ironton taking the lead for good with five-and-a-half minutes to play.

Speaking of the final 5:30, the Fighting Tigers tallied 14-of-21 free throws in that span —started by Ethan Wilson with a pair that made it 40-38.

Wilson was 4-of-5 from the line in the fourth quarter — part of 11-of-12 for the entire game.

As a team, the Fighting Tigers sank 21-of-30 from the stripe, compared to only 5-of-6 for the Blue Devils.

Kyle Adkins’ three-pointer put Ironton up 43-38 with three minutes left, and the Blue Devils never got closer — as the Tigers outscored the guests 13-5 the remainder of the way.

With the loss, Gallia Academy dipped to 6-3 — and 2-1 in the OVC.

Ironton improved its record to 5-3 — and evened its league mark to 1-1.

In addition to being out-rebounded 48-30, the Blue Devils didn’t make many shots — and didn’t get many (nine) offensive rebounds.

They were just 4-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc, part of 17-of-57 overall for 30-percent.

As part of its fourth-quarter conundrum, Gallia Academy only made three of 16 shots from the field.

Ironton shot exactly 32-percent — on 16-of-50 attempts.

Ryan Bryant, with six total field goals and 9-of-14 free throws, poured in 22 points to pace the winners.

He hit the Fighting Tigers’ other three, and ripped down a third (16) of their 48 rebounds.

Wilson, with four field goals in addition to his charity-toss performance, wound up with 19 points.

Raphael Glover with seven points, Adkins with six and Charlie Large with a bucket rounded out the Tigers’ scoring.

Justin McClelland — on three field goals and 4-of-4 free throws — and Zach Loveday, on five field goals and the club’s other foul shot, led the Blue Devils with 11 points apiece.

McClelland made a trifecta, and tied Evan Wiseman with three assists.

Kaden Thomas tacked on eight points, including a pair of treys.

Justin Peck posted six points on three field goals, while Cory Call canned a two and a three.

Wiseman with a basket rounded out for GAHS.

Loveday led the Blue Devils in rebounds with seven, while Wiseman and Peck each had six.

The Blue Devils return to the road, and return to OVC action, on Friday night at Coal Grove.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs