Russell’s boys basketball season has produced plenty of bright spots, except for trips across the Ohio River.

The Red Devils ran into another Southern Ohio buzzsaw Tuesday night, falling to Ironton 76-45 at the Conley Center.

Russell’s 15 wins are the most for the program since the 2006-07 season, but it’s been hard times in the Buckeye state.

Portsmouth and Chesapeake, who earlier posted lopsided wins over the Red Devils, and Ironton all play in the same section.

“We played three of the best over here,” Russell coach Merle Kidwell said. “I don’t know how you would rank them. I would put those three up against anybody east of Lexington.”

Ironton (13-3) took the ball inside regularly against the Red Devils to shoot 60 percent, with several opportunities generated by a pressure defense that helped force 19 turnovers.

In all, 25 of the Fighting Tigers’ 29 field goals came from within three feet of the basket.

“I was disappointed we let them go through us,” Kidwell said. “Ironton is a quality basketball team and probably starting to hit their peak.”

Standout juniors Zac Carter and Trey Fletcher again did most of the damage.

Carter, a quick 5-foot-10 guard, sliced through the Red Devils for 20 first-half points to send his team out to a 39-25 lead.

Then it was Fletcher’s turn. Strong and agile, the 6-7 Fletcher scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half. He drove past a defender and hammered down a dunk to make it 72-39 midway through the fourth quarter

“Zac Carter, I believe, is a Division I guard and Fletcher is as strong as anybody we played,” Kidwell said.

Ironton coach Mark LaFon came away pleased with his team’s effort, execution and passing.

“We showed patience moving the ball and getting the good shot,” LaFon said after Ironton made 29 of 48 shots from the field.

“It’s a good win,” LaFon continued. “Russell has been playing well. I was concerned coming in because of the wins they have been putting up.”

The Red Devils (15-10) entered with a four-game winning streak, most recently beating Boyd County and Greenup County by a combined 40 points.

Turnovers and poor free throw shooting prevented Russell from staying closer to the Fighting Tigers. Russell was only 5-for-13 at the foul line in the first half and forward Logan Dehoff ran into early foul trouble.

“At halftime, we talked about getting it (deficit) under 10 but couldn’t keep Ironton from getting to the basket,” Kidwell said. “They are just a better basketball team than us.”

Kyle Skaggs scored 21 points for the Red Devils.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

RUSSELL    FG    FT    REB    TP

Bailey    3-4    1-2    3    7

Hayes    0-0    2-6    2    2

Dehoff    2-2    2-4    1    6

Parsley    0-2    2-2    1    2

Skaggs    7-20    4-5    4    21

Porter    2-3    0-0    1    6

Pennington    0-0    0-0    0    0

Campbell    0-0    1-4    0    1

McGuire    0-0    0-0    2    0

Tackett    0-0    0-0    0    0

Couchot    0-1    0-0    0    0

Smith    0-0    0-0    0    0

Team            5

TOTALS    14-32    12-23    19    45

FG Pct.: 43.7. FT Pct.: 52.1. 3-point FGs: 5-14 (Skaggs 3-10, Porter 2-3, Parsley 0-1). PF: 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 19.

IRONTON    FG    FT    REB    TP

Glover    3-3    1-2    1    7

Johnson    3-4    0-0    3    6

Fletcher    8-13    3-6    6    20

Brown    3-5    1-1    3    7

Carter    7-10    7-8    1    22

White    2-6    0-1    8    4

Dutey    1-2    2-2    0    4

Boykin    0-1    0-0    0    0

Stephens    2-2    0-0    1    4

Bowling    0-1    2-2    0    2

Lawless    0-1    0-0    1    0

Garred    0-0    0-0    0    0

Team            2

TOTALS    29-48    16-22    26    76

FG Pct.: 60.4. FT Pct.: 72.7. 3-point FGs: 2-7 (Carter 1-3, Fletcher 1-3, Boykin 0-1). PF: 23. Fouled out: Carter. Turnovers: 10.

RUSSELL    11    14    10    10    —    45

IRONTON    20    19    22    15    —    76

Officials: Scott Johnson, Dan McDavid, Tommy Hardy.  

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