Portsmouth found that out the hard way on Friday.
The Trojans allowed Greenup County to erase an 11-point lead late in the fourth, but when Brya Coleman knocked in a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, it looked like Portsmouth would come out of the holiday break with a much needed win. But in nine seconds, the Lady Musketeers pushed the ball down the court and found their center Sara Sexton, who made a turnaround jumper, and later closed out the game with a free throw, as Greenup shocked Portsmouth 47-45.
Sexton scored nine of the Lady Musketeers' 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the final five points.
“Our game plan is to feed off of Sexton and (Sarah) Tavis,” said Greenup County coach Eric Keeton. “We have to feed off them, and have the other girls step up.”
Sexton scored a team-high 19 points. The problems the Trojans (3-6) had guarding the 6-foot-1 Sexton have been a hinderance with the team in the early part of the season. Portsmouth has faced a number of teams with a true center, something the Trojans don't have. It is a concern, not just in the present, but in the future as well, said Portsmouth coach Joe Albrecht.
“We don't have any true low-post players,” Albrecht said. “We're basically a four-guard, one-forward team. They just kept pounding on us and pounding on us. It's very hard to play man-to-man (defense) against it. It's really hurting us.”
Although Sexton was the Lady Musketeers' catalyst down the stretch, a key shot by Tavis in the third might have been the turning point for Greenup. Tavis, who finished with only six points before fouling out, hit a 3 with under three minutes left in the period to cut the Portsmouth lead to 33-25. After that, the Lady Musketeers outscored the Trojans 22-12 the rest of the way.
“Tavis is our leader, she's a good leader and she gets us going,” Keeton said. “Once she hit that 3, and got rolling a little bit, it got the team into a rhythm.”
Along with the double-digit deficit, Greenup County also overcame 22 turnovers in the first half. The Trojans, in contrast only had six at the break, but in the fourth quarter, committed seven, which gave the Lady Musketeers more opportunities to get the ball into Sexton.
“It's the same old story,” said Albrecht. “We just missed shot after shot after shot. I thought our defense was pretty good until the end of the game. We got cold and had some really bad turnovers. Anytime you hold a team under 50 points, you expect to win the game.”
Portsmouth extended its lead out of the third quarter to six, 40-34, on a Jennifer Bendolph jumper. Bendolph led the Trojans with 20 points. But Greenup County closed out the game on a 13-5 run to pull out the win. A layup by Sexton with 1:45 remaining gave the Lady Musketeers their first lead of the game, setting up the dramatic finish.
“We're not playing under pressure very well,” Albrecht said. “All of our games seem to be pretty close and we're not coming out on top.”
JEFF TAEPKE can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
Greenup County 10 7 17 13 - 47
Portsmouth 15 13 17 10 - 45
Greenup County - Tavis 2 0 6, Sexton 9 1 19, Isaac 2 2 6, Loan 2 0 4, Justice 2 0 4, Gibson 4 0 8. Totals 21 3 47.
Portsmouth - Bendolph 6 8 20, Jordan 2 0 4, Coleman 4 1 11, Pierce 2 1 6, Colley 1 2 4. Totals 15 12 45.
3-pointers - Greenup County 2 (Tavis 2) Portsmouth 3 (Coleman 2, Pierce)
Records - Greenup County 4-5. Portsmouth 3-6.