PDT Sports Contributor
ATHENS – It’s always great when you can avenge an early season-loss, but it’s even better when that loss is avenged in postseason play.
A good way to avenge an early-season loss is through showing composure and poise when the game is hanging in the balance.
The Portsmouth Trojans accomplished that goal by answering South Point’s three-point barrage (12) by hitting nine treys of their own to take a 66-57 victory over the Pointers in a Division III District Semifinal matchup at the Convocation Center in Athens Saturday evening.
Eugene Collins said that Portsmouth was hoping to get to the point where they could avenge the early-season loss to South Point and said that avenging the early-season loss was indeed sweet.
“Our kids have been looking forward to this,” Collins said. “When we got the draw, we felt like, ‘Man, hopefully we can get to this game and get an opportunity to play them again and fortunately, we did and we were able to make plays and get the lead.”
The big story of the game was the outside shooting, as both teams combined for 15 3-point baskets in the first half en route to finishing with 21 for the contest.
Of the 10 players who scored in the contest, nine of them hit at least one three-pointer, with five of those nine connecting on multiple three-point baskets.
Collins was impressed with the defense that Ky’re Allison displayed in the second half against Brandon Barnes, as the 6-1 sophomore held the standout senior guard to two field goals over the remainder of the second half after Barnes scored 16 points in the first 17 minutes of play.
“… We went to Allison and put him on (Barnes) in the second half and I thought Ky’re did an exceptional job slowing him down in the second half.”
The exciting and fast-paced affair started with four straight points from Portsmouth’s Sky Oliver before South Point’s John Johnson answered with a three ball.
However, it looked as if the Trojans would run away with the game early as Allison’s three-pointer kick started a 12-3 run to lead 16-6 early in the first quarter.
The Pointers quickly dispelled of that notion as South Point went on a 10-2 run via Audric Harlow’s five points to cut the lead to an 18-16 gap before Allison beat the first quarter horn with his banker to put Portsmouth up by four to end the first frame.
The second quarter followed the same song, but a different verse as the Trojans jumped ahead of the Pointers as Sky Oliver’s eight points and two treys put Portsmouth ahead to the tune of a 33-25 advantage in the middle of the second stanza.
South Point, however, countered with a 14-6 run to tie the game at 39 apiece heading into the halftime break as Harlow, Barnes and Marquise Foley would combine for all of the team’s points during the streak.
The Trojans and the Pointers went back-and-forth during the third quarter as the teams traded baskets throughout the quarter.
It was Barnes who would strike first as the 6-2 senior hit two straight three-point baskets to push the lead to 45-39 in favor of South Point, which forced Eugene Collins and Portsmouth to call a timeout.
The Trojans began to hit their stride in the second half as Sky Oliver hit two straight shots after the timeout to cut the lead to 45-44.
Barnes would come back down after the made shots and hit a three of his own to push the gap to 48-44, but Allison answered by scoring five straight points for the Trojans to give Portsmouth its first lead of the second half, 49-48.
That lead was short lived, however, as Foley and Barnes answered with a two and a three to give the Pointers a 53-49 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Portsmouth played at a championship level defensively in the fourth quarter, however, and made life difficult for South Point as a result by holding the Pointers to one field goal over the final eight minutes of play, which came on Foley’s up-and-under with around three minutes to play in the contest.
The Trojans would then use a 10-0 run over the final three minutes of play to ice the game as Allison answered Foley’s basket with a rebound and a putback of his own to put Portsmouth ahead to stay.
In the contest, Portsmouth was led by Oliver’s 22 points while Allison and Lisath added 21 and 12 to lead the Trojans. South Point was led by Barnes’ 24 points while Harlow and Foley added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
With the win, Portsmouth will play Valley for the Division III Southeast District Championship tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. in Athens.
Collins is looking forward to the matchup and says it will be a battle between two great basketball teams.
“It’s great,” Collins said. “We’ve got two Scioto County teams that are both really good, but unfortunately, it’s not the regional final, but the district final. We played them a couple of years ago and you know what, it’s going to be great for Scioto County with two teams from the county taking on each other for the district final.”
Portsmouth 20 19 10 17 – 66
South Point 16 23 14 4 – 57
Portsmouth – Oliver 9-1-22, Lisath 4-1-12, Allison 8-4-21, Dickerson 2-0-5, Reynolds 2-1-6, Totals 25-7-27.
South Point – Johnson 2-0-6, Harlow 5-0-13, Barnes 8-2-24, Foley 5-1-12, Boggs 1-0-2, Totals 21-3-57.
3-Point Goals – Portsmouth 9 (Oliver 3, Lisath 3, Allison, Dickerson, Reynolds); South Point 12 (Barnes 6, Harlow 3, Johnson 2, Foley).
Records – Portsmouth 19-4, South Point 15-7.