Blue Devils fall to Fighting Tigers

By Paul Boggs -

IRONTON, Ohio —The second quarter was a killer.

Hindered by only scoring six second-period points Tuesday night, the Gallia Academy Blue Devils lost to the Ironton Fighting Tigers 55-43 in an Ohio Valley Conference boys basketball contest inside Ironton’s Conley Center.

Gallia Academy, which upstaged Ironton 43-40 in the two teams’ first meeting on Dec. 18, remained right with Ironton in the other three stanzas.

Ironton won the first frame 17-15, the third 14-12, and the final 13-10.

The loss leaves Gallia Academy with a 4-9 record, and a 3-6 mark in the OVC.

Ironton improved to 7-8 overall and 4-4 in the league.

The Fighting Tigers took an 18-17 lead on a Desmond Young free throw with 7:12 remaining in the first half.

Ironton never trailed again, opening up a 28-21 halftime advantage before a 12-0 run in the opening three minutes of the third quarter.

Gallia Academy got within 42-33 at the end of the third canto, and Miles Cornwell’s banked-in three-pointer actually brought the Blue Devils to within five (48-43) with 3:45 remaining.

But a layup by Ethan Wilson, combined with Ironton making 5-of-8 foul shots down the stretch, sealed the Fighting Tigers’ triumph.

Cornwell paced the Blue Devils with 13 points on five total field goals, including three threes.

Gallia Academy only shot 33-percent from the field, both overall (16-of-49) and outside the three-point arc (6-0f-19).

Ironton only made one trifecta in 10 tries — by Travis Carey — but made 21 total field goals on 49 attempts, along with a dozen of 20 free throws.

The Blue Devils were just 5-of-6 at the foul line, including 4-of-5 from Wes Jarrell.

Jarrell added eight points, as Devin Henry had seven, Russell Matthew and Evan Wiseman five and Kole Carter four.

Henry had three field goals including a triple, as Wiseman, Matthew and Carter each drained two.

Carter and Jarrell each had seven of the Blue Devils’ 26 rebounds, while Wiseman grabbed five.

Jarrell had half of the team’s eight assists.

The injury-riddled Fighting Tigers — without three key players on Tuesday night — were paced by Carey with game-highs in points (20) and rebounds (eight).

He also dished out three assists and made off with three steals —playing in only his fourth contest of the entire season.

He was forced to sit out the first 11 games due to transfer eligibility rules, including in Gallia Academy’s home win over a month ago.

Carey, who notched nine total field goals, scored nine consecutive points to give Ironton a 13-5 lead with 4:41 left in the opening period.

Matthew made his three to get Gallia Academy within 17-15, then Henry hit a 17-footer for a 17-17 tie.

The Fighting Tigers, however, led for the final 23:12.

Marques Davis, on five field goals, added 11 points while Ryan Bryant — on two field goals and 5-of-7 free throws — netted nine.

Wilson — on two field goals and 4-of-5 free throws — added eight points for Ironton, while Raphael Glover garnered three field goals for six.

Gallia Academy returns home, and returns to OVC action, tonight (Thursday) against Rock Hill.

The Blue Devils then host another makeup game — against archrival Jackson in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League on Saturday night.

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

By Paul Boggs