PDT Sports Contributor
PORTSMOUTH – The score was 42-42 with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter. The Minford Falcons and Ironton Tigers were tied at the Wendy’s Classic in Portsmouth Monday night. Minford took the ball and held it for a full minute before Brandon Rowe flew by two defenders on his way to the basket, missed, and managed to follow up his own shot for the score.
Phil Kratzenberg, who had been huge for the Tigers all night, took the ball and scored a quick, long two point basket to retie the game. The two team leaders kept the back and forth going as Rowe went down court hitting a pull up jumper between the double team. On the ensuing Ironton possession, Rowe fouled Kratzenberg as he attempted a three pointer. He would go to the line for three free throws with seventeen seconds left in the game.
Kratzenberg would miss all three. Six foot five inch Ryan Bryant grabbed the offensive rebound and would be fouled during his put back attempt. Ironton was down by two points, 46-44. Bryant missed the first shot, but managed to sink the second to put the score at 45-46. The Tigers would have to foul the Falcons three times before they managed to put them in the bonus. There was nine seconds left by the time Brandon Rowe sank both free throws to put the score to 45-48.
Phil Kratzenberg, who had scored 24 on the night, had one last chance. He had the ball in his hands for the final shot, but came up short as the Falcons squeaked by with the narrow victory. For the Tigers, Marques Davis put up 15. Both Rowe and Trey Kelley had 17 for the Falcons.
The night featured a grinding Ironton team who had long offensive possessions as they ran through constant ball screens in order to free Kratzenberg, and who pressed heavily on defense. Minford looked comfortable in fighting through the press much of the night, but lost Kratzenberg during some offensive sets.
Minford was held to just six points in the second quarter. Ironton was held to just five in the third. Both teams stars shined on the night but Rowe finished the game off in a big way for the Falcons.
“The tempo really favored Ironton,” admitted Minford Head Coach Josh Shoemaker. “I felt like our kids were really gutsy and it was a great win for them.”
“In the second half we really tried to trap Kratzenberg. We stepped it up defensively and did a good job on rotations. And we started hitting some shots. Rowe was key for us tonight. He was wanted the ball in hands. He wanted to get to the free throw line and take the closing shots for us. He was our leader out there.”
Reach Derrick Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @DC__Parker
Box Score 1 2 3 4 F
Minford 18 6 9 15 48
Ironton 14 15 5 9 45
Minford: Rowe 17, Kelley 17, Alley 9, Gullett 5; Ironton: Kratzenberg 24, Davis 15, Bryant 3, Young 3