IRONTON — It was a dog fight till the very end, but the New Boston Tigers are outright Southern Ohio Conference Division I champions for the first time since 1971.
The it implies both the race and Friday’s win over Ironton St. Joe as the Flyers did what teams in league play have done to the Tigers this season — tested them.
But, as has been the case in 18-of-19 games this season, and as was the case as the loud ‘SOC’ chants echoed inside the Flyer Dome on Friday night, the Tigers prevailed.
“We set that goal as one of our first, to win the SOC,” New Boston coach Adam Cox said following the win . “We want to do it undefeated, but we knew if we could just win it, it would be something special.”
While the 2018-19 Tigers did even more than maybe they expected out of themselves, Friday night’s win re-wrote the record books in a different way.
“I told the guys at halftime I’d never seen a team with as much heart and talent get outhustled in the first half like we did,” Cox said. “They wanted it more than us. But the second half, they really stepped up, challenged themselves defensively. Made the same adjustments that we made at Peebles, just able to get over the hump tonight.”
After leading Ironton St. Joe 15-10 at the end of the first quarter behind Chase Clark’s eight and Tanner Voiers’ five, a switch flicked for the Flyers.
Six Flyers players would chip in to score 24 second quarter points as their defense limited New Boston to just eight points to now hold a 34-23 halftime lead while holding junior forward Kyle Sexton to just two first half points.
Water found its’ level, though, and the New Boston game-plan of feeding Sexton worked like a charm.
“Able to establish Kyle, the boys in the locker room really told Kyle to get in the paint and start dominating,” Cox said. “Tanner (Voiers) and Malachi (Potts) did a great job of feeding him the ball to where he could score.”
Sexton finished with a game-high 22 points on nine field goals and four-for-four free-throw shooting in Friday’s road win. His field goal to start the fourth quarter gave New Boston a 47-46 lead to start the period, a lead they wouldn’t look back from to improve to 12-0 in SOC I play.
“I thought we wore on them with our size and physicality,” Cox said. “You could see it in their free throws at the end, I credit it to our defense, our tempo, our constant pressure.”
Voiers finished with 17, Clark with 10, Grady Jackson scored six, Marcus Saunders four, and Malachi Potts and De’von Jones scored two apiece as the Tigers scored 40 second half points to seal the Flyers’ fate.
“Hat goes off to (Ryan) Payne and (Zach) Roach,” Cox said. “They’re two great senior players.”
Payne finished with 15 to lead Ironton St. Joe as Roach and Jimmy Mahlmeister scored 12 apiece in their loss to New Boston.
Being just the third single-digit result conference game the Tigers have played, New Boston has laid its’ claim that the SOC I title is an expectation moving forward, rather than a once in every 49 years type-of-trophy.
“They have so much heart,” Cox said. “Seeing Malachi cry, seeing Tanner and Kyle so emotional doing something they’ve dreamed about since they were kids. For us to be able to put this together, it’s a dream come true.”
NB 15 8 22 18 — 63
ISJ 10 24 12 14 — 60
New Boston 63 (18-1, 12-0 SOC I)
Malachi Potts 1 0-0 2, Grady Jackson 2 2-4 6, Tanner Voiers 5 6-10 17, De’von Jones 1 0-2 2, Marcus Saunders 2 0-0 4, Kyle Sexton 9 4-4 22, Chase Clark 4 0-0 10; TOTALS: 24 12-20 63; Three-point field goals: 3 (Clark 2, Voiers 1)
Ironton St. Joe 60
Matthew Sheridan 0 4-4 4, Zach Roach 4 3-5 12, Ryan Payne 4 4-8 15, J.C. Damron 4 1-2 9, Jackson Rowe 0 0-0 0, Jared Johnson 4 0-0 8, Michael Mahlmeister 0 0-0 0, Jimmy Mahlmeister 21 13-20 60; Three-point field goals: 5 (Payne 3, Roach, J. Mahlmeister 1)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved