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Ironton defeats HHS

Jan. 30, 2013 @ 12:12 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Games against Tri-State teams always take on a bit more meaning.

But games against family?

That takes on a totally different mindset.

In a game between boys basketball teams that know plenty about each other, Ironton used the tandem of Zac Carter and Trey Fletcher to power past Huntington High, 57-46, in front of a large crowd Tuesday night at Huntington High School.

"It's like playing against my family," Carter said.

"I've been playing against these guys since I was in sixth or seventh grade. We always practice in this gym so I know the rims well, too."

Carter and Fletcher have formed a strong duo that has led Ironton to a successful season, but going against Huntington High was a bit different.

The Fighting Tigers were going up against a team that knew their tendencies inside and out.

Still, the duo combined for 49 of the team's 57 points.

Fletcher finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds while Carter ended with 22 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists while facing a tough box-and-one defense.

With Huntington High in the box-and-one, Fletcher helped open up the offense early by knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and forcing the Highlander guards to pay more attention to him, which opened Carter up a bit more.

"We did a good job of taking what was given," Ironton coach Mark LaFon said. "We tried to switch things up at times and get the ball into the post, but they were leaving two of our guys, so we had to take what was there."

The Fighting Tigers jumped to an 11-2 lead following Fletcher's early 3-pointers and five straight points from Carter to seize momentum.

It took the Highlanders a bit to regain composure, but Huntington High battled to keep the lead in single-digits at halftime.

That's when a game-changing sequence occurred.

Huntington High had grabbed a rebound and had a chance to cut the deficit to single-digits going into the locker room, but Carter grabbed a steal and nailed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to send Ironton to a 35-21 halftime lead.

"That was big for us," Carter said. "It gave us a boost heading into the locker room."

Despite the boost, Huntington High came out a bit more focused on each end in the second half.

Fletcher had 10 points in the third quarter for Ironton, but the Highlanders did not allow Carter to get on track in cutting a 16-point lead down to eight behind the scoring of Shaquan Miller, who had a 3-pointer and a layup in the stretch. Miller finished with 14 points to lead Huntington High.

However, a key sequence came in the third quarter when Arick Nicks was whistled for a foul that Huntington High's staff thought was on guard Chancelor Wooding.

Nicks, the Highlanders' top post presence, later picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter before heading to the bench. He then fouled out with just seven points and 11 rebounds midway through the fourth quarter.

Still, Huntington High coach Ron Hess was pleased with his team's ability to compete against a veteran Ironton team.

"We kept fighting and got it down, but then we'd have unforced turnovers," Hess said. "Our kids played hard and we played pretty well defensively, but we didn't move the ball offensively in our sets."

Both teams will return to action this weekend in the Tri-State Hoops Classic, hosted by Huntington Prep at Spring Valley High School.

IRONTON 11 24 12 10 -- 57: Fletcher 27, Carter 22, White 6, Long 2.

HUNTINGTON HIGH 4 17 17 8 -- 46: Nicks 7, Wooding 8, Miller 14, Demoss 2, Tubbs 6, Dunn-Martin 6, Howard 3.