Heartache and misfortune are part of life, but the Jackson Ironmen boys’ basketball team has had to endure more than their share of it in the past several days.

The Ironmen (4-6) lost their third game in a row Tuesday evening as the visiting Albany Alexander (7-7) left town with a 56-48 overtime victory as the Spartans’ star guard Kyler D’Augustino took control down the final stretch on the way to a 35-point performance.

Jackson’s tough-luck loss came on the heels of a 63-62 defeat at Vinton County in which the Vikings pulled out a victory on a last-second shot. The night before that, the Ironmen had suffered a 62-53 homecourt loss to Frontier Athletic Conference (FAC) rival Washington Court House, which pushed them back in the conference standings. Prior to that the entire team was sidelined for a week due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The already shorthanded Ironmen had to play Tuesday night’s game without junior forward Boston Campbell, then saw starting guard Holden Blankenship hobble off the court late in the game with an ankle injury, creating doubt about his availability for Friday night’s FAC home game against Miami Trace.

“It’s tough right now,” Jackson head coach Max Morrrow admitted. “We had the leads in these games, but just weren’t able to finish. We’ve had to play with injuries and school closures, and they have taken a toll on us. Tonight, we took a real gut-punch against a great player [D’Augustino] and from a well-coached team with Coach [Jeff] Skinner. We’ve been in every game and taken everybody’s best shots, but we fought hard and played hard and I told our players that.”

In a back-and-forth game with several major swings and multiple lead changes, Jackson missed some opportunities to win the game in regulation, then saw D’Augustino step up in the overtime period, which was also when Jackson’s premier defensive player, Tristan Prater fouled out and when Blankenship was injured. After the Spartans took the lead in overtime, they put the ball in D’Augustino’s hands and the Ironmen were forced to foul one of the best shooters in Southeastern Ohio. He knocked down a step-back three-pointer in the overtime period, then made seven of eight free throws to seal the deal. In addition to the 35 points, his stat line also included nine rebounds and five assists.

Blankenship, who made three treys, led the balanced Ironmen attack with 13 points. Junior forward Jacob Winters continued to play well with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Prater added nine points, Nate Woodard eight and Evan Jarvis six. There were no points from the bench as Coach Morrow tried to get by with a six-man rotation.