JACKSON - The inconsistency bug crept up on the Jackson Ironmen on Tuesday night.
After overcoming a five-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a three-point lead with 1:28 left, visiting Athens rallied to take a 55-52 win at Jackson High School.
The Ironmen dropped to 11-6 with the loss, while Athens improved to 7-9 on the season.
Jackson led by eight, 22-14 early in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run with 3:58 left to take a 25-22 advantage and led by a slim three-point margin at the intermission.
Then a basket by Brice Graham cut the margin to one to begin the third quarter, but Athens answered Jackson point-for-point the rest of the way to lead 41-40 heading into the fourth.
Carson Spohn led Jackson with 15 points and also had eight rebounds, one assist and two steals. Caleb Wallace added 10 points for the Ironmen and Payton Speakman chipped in with nine.
The difference in the game came down to turnovers, as well as shooting and rebounding. The Ironmen shot 40 percent from the field (18 of 45), while the Bulldogs shot 41.3 percent (19 of 46).
The Bulldogs also edged the Ironmen on the boards, holding a 32-28 rebounding advantage, including 11-8 on the offensive glass.
Jackson also made 12 of 17 free throw attempts while Athens was 14 of 21 from the stripe. The Bulldogs also forced 13 Jackson turnovers and had five steals.
Logan Maxfield led Athens with a game-high 19 points while Justin Hynes added 17 points and nine rebounds. In addition, Eli Chubb chipped in with 12 points with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.
The Ironmen led by as much as seven points in the first quarter, but Athens pulled within two by the end of the stanza. Isaiah Butcher hit two free throws to spark the burst, Maxfield followed with a basket. A three-pointer by Chubb and a free throw by Hynes put Athens in front 12-11. Wallace, however, hit a three-pointer with nine seconds left to give Jackson a 14-12 lead.
Speakman scored to push the Ironmen ahead by eight, 22-14, with 6:18 left, but the Bulldogs never let the game get away. Jackson managed to hang on to the lead for the next 2:20 before Maxfield converted a three-point play to put Athens up 25-22.
From there, the Bulldogs pieced together a 7-6 run to take a 31-28 edge at halftime.
Both teams managed to score 24 points apiece in the second half and Athens got out of Jackson with the three-point victory.
The Ironmen were back in action on Friday in a Frontier Athletic Conference game at Miami Trace.
Jackson 66, McClain 31
GREENFIELD - Carson Spohn scored all of his game-high 19 points in the first half and Jackson dominated Greenfield-McClain 66-31 in a Frontier Athletic Conference boys' basketball game on Saturday night.
With the win, the Ironmen improved to 11-5 overall and 6-2 in FAC play.
The Ironmen, who led 33-16 at halftime, had Greenfield-McClain playing catch-up from the opening tip.
It proved to be the beginning of the end, as Jackson outscored the Tigers 33-15 in the second half of the 35-point thumping.
Garrison Banks and Devin Carter led the Tigers with 10 points apiece.