ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — It just goes to show how important free throw are.
The Ironton St. Joesph boys basketball team sank all 11 of their free throw attempts in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s section semifinal, en route to a 47-36 victory over Eastern at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The Flyers (12-9) edged Eastern (2-21) 11-to-9 in the opening period and expanded the lead to four points 3:30 into the second quarter. The Eagles finished the half on a 10-0 run to take the 19-13 lead into halftime.
EHS scored the opening basket of the second half but the Flyers held the Green and Gold scoreless for over five minutes as they rallied back to take the 26-21 lead. SJHS outscored the Eagles 6-to-4 over the final 2:30 of the third quarter and held the 32-25 advantage with eight minutes to play.
The Eagles sent St. Joe to the free throw line 11 times in the fourth quarter and 11 times the Flyers converted to seal the 47-36 victory and advance to the sectional semifinal. The sixth-seeded Flyers will take third seeded Pike Eastern at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Meigs High School.
Eastern’s scoring output was led by Jett Facemyer, Daschle Facemyer and Chase Cook with 10 points apiece. Christian Speelman and Dillon Swatzel each marked three points to round out the EHS total.
The Eagles shot 13-of-42 (31 percent) from the field and 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) from the free throw line, while marking 21 rebounds, nine steals, five assists, one block and 17 turnovers. Cook and Jett Facemyer each had four rebounds to lead EHS, while Daschle Facemyer had a team-best three assists. Cook led the defense with three steals, while Jett Facemyer had the team’s lone rejection.
The Purple and Gold were led by Wulf Goheen with 17 points and Troy Scott with 16. Goheen and Scott were the only two Flyers to score in the fourth quarter. Joseph Payton marked seven points, all of which came in the third quarter, while Hunter Pemberton added three. Chris Lewis and Kyle Williams each added two points, rounding out the SJHS total.
St. Joe shot 13-of-36 (36.1 percent) from the field and 14-of-15 (93.3 percent) from the free throw line. As a team the Flyers had 27 rebounds, seven steals, three assists, two blocks and 19 turnovers. Lewis led the Flyers with 12 rebounds, while Pemberton had team-highs in steals with three and assists with two. Lewis and Trey Young each had a block for the SJHS defense.
This marks the first tournament win for St. Joe since 2011. The Flyers had lost three straight sectional contests prior to Wednesday’s game. Eastern which won the sectional last year will not be the sectional champion for just the fourth time since the turn of the century.
Eastern seniors that played in the final game for the Green and Gold include Chase Jenkins, Chase Cook and Jack Kuhn.