His squad had just been issued a technical foul with two seconds remaining in the game, and had a 65-63 lead.
However, South Point Boys Basketball Coach Chris Barnes put a freshman on the line to try to tie the Division III tournament game, and send it into overtime. Brandon Barnes made the first shot but missed the second one, handing the Trojans a 65-64 win and the sectional title.
"He's made 20 free throws in a row," Chris Barnes said. "That one missed free throw didn't cost us the game."
What did cost South Point the game was a steady dose of Dion McKinley. The six-foot-six junior poured in 28 points, and pulled down 12 rebounds to keep the Trojans in the game.
"We wanted to go inside, and I got a lot of my shots from inside position," McKinley said. "We got on the boards, and got position, and made things happen."
Portsmouth entered the final quarter with a three-point lead, and went into a tight man-to-man defense.
Zaide Whitley canned a 3-pointer from a skip pass from Andrew Bendolph for the 50-46 lead.
McKinley increased the PHS lead to 53-46, thanks to a no-look pass from Wayne Evans with 2:42 to play in the game.
"Man, they just wouldn't go away," Collins said. "They would hit some big shots, then we make a bone-head play, and luckily hang on to win."
South Point's Chris Barnes nailed a 3-pointer with two seconds to play to cut the deficit 65-63. Coach Barnes had no time outs left, but called one, and was given a technical foul.
"Yeah, that was on purpose," Barnes said. "That was the only way to stop the clock and give us a shot at this thing."
It nearly worked, after Portsmouth's Mason Jordan was given a technical foul while trying to defend a South Point player. But the missed free throw proved costly.
"That was a tense few seconds," Collins said. "I was thinking to myself, what else could happen?"
The Trojans started the game off and took a 21-13 first quarter lead after Bendolph made good on a double-pump shot underneath, then followed with a stop and pop from 12 feet.
Bendolph finished the game with 15 points -- one shy of 1,000 career points.
"We played hard," Bendolph said. "They have some good shooters, and we wanted to contest them."
South Point battled back and tied the game at 29-29 at the break, led in part by several 3-pointers. South Point finished with a donzen 3-point goals.
The Trojans struggled to find good shots in the third quarter, and counted on McKinley's eight-point production.
South Point made a run after Tevin Mitchel drained a 3-pointer. Mitchel attempted another 3-pointer that would have closed the gap to one point, when McKinley got a piece of the shot.
"That was huge," Collins said. "That was a big time play at the right time."
From there, Wayne Evans connected on eight of 12 free throws for PHS.
"I wanted to win this one for the seniors," Evans said. "I wathced us get beat last year, and I wasn't going to let it happen again."
Evans finished the game with 18 points and four rebounds.
Portsmouth will play at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University on March 5 at 9:15 p.m.
South Point -- 13 16 11 24 -- 64
Portsmouth -- 21 8 14 22 -- 65
South Point -- Mitchel 5 0 12, Jeffreys 1 0 3, Blake Barnes 10 2 27, Winkler 3 1 8, Brandon Barnes 3 1 10, Leighty 1 2 4.
Portsmouth -- Whitley 1 0 3, Bendolph 6 2 15, Evans 2 12 18, McKinley 12 4 28, Underwood 0 1 1.
3-pointers -- South Point 12 (Blake Barnes 5, Brandon Barnes 3, Mitchel 2, Jeffreys, Winkler) Portsmouth 3 (Whitley, Bendolph, Evans).