JACKSON – The Jackson Ironmen made history on Monday night with a 44-31 win against McClain, winning a share of the Frontier Athletic Conference championship.

It was the first conference championship for Jackson in 30 years. The Ironmen have won only four conference championships in school history – 1961-62, 1962-63, and 1990-91 – all of those coming in the now defunct Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, and now 2020-21.

“What a thrill for these young men, who have put a ton of time and effort into this. You can’t take anything for granted because if  you don’t celebrate things like this, you never know when the next one is going to be,” said Jackson head coach Max Morrow. “This was a dream for this group since the start of the season. These guys put a lot  of work in and I am just so proud of them for what they have accomplished this year.

“A 9-1 record in the FAC is something to brag about. The guys will keep that piece of net and they are now part of Jackson High School (basketball) history. They are part of it and it will forever hang here in the rafters.”

The Ironmen are not done by any stretch of the imagination, as they will take on Vinton County in a Division II sectional championship game on Thursday night.

“We are going to celebrate tonight, and then get back to the drawing board tomorrow, because we have to get back to work. The kids can celebrate this to night, and then they need to get grounded, and be back here ready to work in the morning,” Morrow said.

The Ironmen (15-3, 9-1 FAC) dug themselves a whole early in the first quarter and trailed 9-4. Jackson was held to just three field goals by Boston Kuhn, Drew Bragg and Braxton Hammond, as the Ironmen trailed 9-6 after the first quarter.

“We played a little tight, but McClain makes you play a slower brand of basketball. They are not scared to run a minute-and-a-half off the clock on an offensive possession,” said Morrow. “They play slower, therefore, it is going to limit your possessions.

“We were a little tight to start, but we had a good second and third quarter.”

The Ironmen closed the half on a 16-2 run to take a 24-11 lead at halftime.

Jackson went on a 14-0 run to start the second half, as Kuhn hit a three-pointer and finished with five points in the third quarter for the Ironmen to extend the lead to 38-16 to end the period.

“When we locked in defensively and got up by double figures, we were able to kill the clock,” said Morrow. “We were able to hit some shots in transition and everything for there started happening for us.

“It was definitely a team win tonight and everybody got a piece of something good.”

With the game well in hand, Coach Morrow went to his bench in the fourth quarter, and the Tigers made the game closer than it really was after outscoring Jackson 15-6.

The Ironmen, who shot 44.7 percent (17 of 38) from the field, was paced by Kuhn with a game-high 14 points and seven rebounds. Bragg also finished in double-digits for the Ironmen with 10 points, while Holden Blankenship and Hammond had six points each.

Evan Spires (6 points), Landon Erwin (2 points) and Nate Woodard (1 point) rounded out the scoring for Jackson.

McClain was led by Wes Potts with 12 points.

The Ironmen will now turn their attention to Thursday against Vinton County in a Division II sectional championship game with tip-time scheduled for 7 p.m.

JACKSON 62, CHILLICOTHE 43: The Jackson Ironmen had three-players score in double figures, en route to a 62-43 win in a Frontier Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday afternoon.

The win keep the Ironmen in the running for at least a share of the FAC title with Hillsboro.

Drew Bragg led the Ironmen with 18 points, while Braxton Hammond added 16, and Boston Kuhn finished with 15 points. Evan Spires contributed in the win with seven points and Holden Blankenship had six.

It was the fourth consecutive win for Jackson (14-3, 8-1 FAC).

Joel Barnes and Michael Miller each had 12 points to lead the Cavaliers (1-11, 0-8 FAC). Donavin Baker had nine points.