PEDRO, Ohio – Third time wasn’t the charm.
Although the Trojans had faced the Fighting Tigers twice during the regular season and failed to come away with a victory, Portsmouth had a sense of enthusiasm after knocking down a buzzer-beating basket to advance past the semifinal round and into the finals against Ironton.
Ironton quickly erased the Trojans’ enthusiastic attitude as Portsmouth (5-17) only managed one field goal in the first half – eight total points – in a 87-11 loss to the Fighting Tigers in a Division III Sectional Semifinal game Saturday at Rock Hill High School.
The Trojans knew what was potentially in store as the Fighting Tigers entered the game with a 22-0 record and a No. 1 seed.
“Obviously we played them twice this year because they’re in our conference and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Trojans head coach Kristen Bradshaw said. “They’re the No. 1 seed, undefeated; they’re good. But like I told them in the locker room, I’m proud we made it to this game instead of losing in the first game. A lot of teams were already out, at least we made it here.
“I’m proud we hustled throughout the whole game even though it got away from us early.”
Samejah Parker led Portsmouth, scoring five of their 11 points in the game. Parker also grabbed seven rebounds, three on the offensive end of the floor. Despite the lopsided loss, Bradshaw was pleased with the heart her players demonstrated throughout the contest.
“For the younger kids, they didn’t even know what it’s like competing in the sectional tournament,” Bradshaw said. “The support that we got, just from winning that first game, it was eyeing opening. People are watching, people do know who we are. Our kids learned from that first game. They were excited to play against Ironton and the five I had on the court throughout the game — no matter who it was — they didn’t give up.
“That’s what you want to hear as a coach is your players play hard for you. No matter who was on the court, they left it all on the court and that’s all I could ask for at the beginning of the game.”
Portsmouth will lose Faythe Lee, Wesleigh Jackson and Cortney Scarberry to graduation.
“Faythe really stepped up her game this year,” Bradshaw said. “We counted on her for a lot. She handled the ball. She took it to the basket. She’s one of the quickest girls on the court in the whole league. Wesleigh got hot the past three weeks, hitting three or four threes a game. That’s something we’re going to need to fill next year, losing (Lee and Jackson).
“Courtney Scarberry was a positive influence on the team all the time. She didn’t get a lot of playing time but it’s her first year playing in high school. She hasn’t played since her seventh grade year, so when you take five years off your going to be a little rusty. But she always stayed positive and that’s something you have to have on every team.”
Even though their season has reached it’s conclusion, the Trojans’ future looks bright as a young squad will return with a year of experience to rely on.
“With the freshman that got playing time this year — against good teams — they’ll be able to step up next year and fill some big roles,” Bradshaw said.
Portsmouth 2 6 2 1 — 11
Ironton 35 29 18 5 — 87
Portsmouth — Eley 0-3-3, S. Kearns 0-3-3, Parker 2-1-5.
Ironton — Barrier 8-3-12, Easterling 1-0-2, Hannan 3-1-7, Scott 5-0-11, Keith 0-2-2, Lewis 3-4-12, Webb 7-0-18, Wise 3-1-7.
Three-point field goals – Portsmouth 0; Ironton 8 (Scott, Lee, Lewis 2, Webb 4).
Records – Portsmouth 5-17; Ironton 23-0
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.