White's role crucial for Ironton
IRONTON -- With two dominant scorers on the boys basketball team, many people might identify Ironton's Trevor White as a role player.
The thing that White loves, though, is that there's no limit on how big his role can be with the Fighting Tigers.
On Saturday evening, the 6-foot-4 White took his role to another level, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds in Ironton's 66-49 win over Oak Hill.
It was a victory that now sends the Fighting Tigers (23-2) to Ohio's biggest stage -- a date in the Division III Final Four with Ottawa-Glandorf (24-3) at 10:45 a.m., Thursday, in Columbus.
"We've been waiting for this moment," White said with a smile on Tuesday. "Since we were little kids, we've been talking about it. It's the best feeling in the world. It's just amazing really."
The appearance in Ohio's Final Four would likely not have come without White's steadying presence in the first half.
Ironton's Trey Fletcher, the Fighting Tigers' dominant presence in the post, was forced to the bench with two early fouls.
With Fletcher in foul trouble, Oak Hill looked to take away Zac Carter, Ironton's leading scorer, by helping off of him and trying to trap him.
The defensive tactic left White all alone in one-on-one situations down low, and the senior took full advantage by converting on his looks at the rim and getting to the foul line.
White's pair of free throws gave Ironton the lead for good at 41-39 with 1:35 left in the third quarter. White's presence, plus Fletcher's return to the court, forced Oak Hill to abandon its gameplan of trying to double off on Carter when possible.
In the final 9:35 of the game, Carter scored 20 of his 33 points to lead to the victory -- a spurt he said wouldn't have been possible without White's presence throughout.
"He plays hard every second he's out there -- whether rebounding the ball or making nice post moves," Carter said. "He's always hustling and making big plays. It's big for us."
White will once again have a chance to play a key role this week for Ironton as they go up against an Ottawa-Glandorf team that features three starters who stand 6-5 or taller.
"I live for the big game," White said. "I have to step up and do it for my team. It's all about team. It's a team game. I don't want to let my guys down."
Ironton head coach Mark LaFon said that while Carter and Fletcher are obviously the Nos. 1 and 2 options, White holds the key as to whether Ironton takes its game to another level -- as will be needed in the quest for an Ohio Division III championship.
"When Trevor is attacking and taking ownership of the fact that he's a part of three guys who can put up numbers instead of watching two guys put up numbers, we go from being really good to nearly unstoppable," LaFon said.
White is averaging nearly a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds each outing.