Ironton advances past North Adams
ATHENS, Ohio -- When Ironton boys basketball coach Mark LaFon gathered his team for their pre-game talk Saturday night, he switched it up a bit.
He asked the team what they needed to do to win.
Senior Trevor White spoke up and said one word that ended up written on the white-board with two bold lines underneath it.
That word? Extras.
Whether it was extras such as diving for loose balls or taking charges, Ironton did nearly everything right in a convincing 80-33 win over North Adams in the Ohio Division III district semifinals at Ohio University's Convocation Center.
"I thought our chemistry was so good," LaFon said. "The kids played well and shared well together tonight. I felt like from beginning to end, sustained, with all players getting in, that was one of our better games."
Zac Carter led Ironton offensively, finishing with 31 points despite not seeing the court in the fourth quarter because of the large lead.
After a frustrating, slow-paced affair against Wheelersburg last week, Carter said he was happy to get out and running early against the Green Devils.
"We didn't play like we'd like to last week, so the main thing this week was focus," Carter said. "We came out and played well.
"Defense is what we'd practiced all week because without it, you can't do anything."
Carter set the tone for the game on the third possession when he dove into his own bench, taking out an assistant coach and a massive water cooler in the process to save a steal back in-bounds.
The best all-around performance of the night came from Trey Fletcher, who was constantly battling and scrapping his way to offensive rebounds, steals and those extras.
Fletcher finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds (seven offensive), four steals and four assists.
His happiest moment of the night did not involve a statistic, though. Despite being up 20 points late in the first half, Fletcher stepped into the lane and took a charge that brought a smile to LaFon's face.
"That's the happiest I've ever seen him all season," Fletcher said. "I looked straight at him (LaFon) and he had a big smile on his face."
The smile still hadn't left LaFon's face as he explained why later.
"When you see kids move their feet and cut someone off when the game isn't close, that's exciting stuff," Lafon said. "That's leadership. That's what it is."
Ironton outscored North Adams by double figures in each quarter en route to the big win.
Trevor White also had 10 points for Ironton.
The Fighting Tigers take on the Zane Trace/Lynchburg Clay winner at 9:30 p.m., Friday, in the Convocation Center.
NORTH ADAMS 2 10 11 10 -- 33: Mitchell 6, Carroll 7, Leasure 5, King 4, Shipley 3, Bradley 3, Sizemore 2, Bales 2, Sparks 1.
IRONTON 14 21 25 20 -- 80: Carter 31, Fletcher 17, White 10, Cox 5, Boykin 6, Long 2, Schweickart 2, Glover 2, Easterling 2, Bowling 3.