That wasn't the case Friday.
Although South Point's front court had players standing 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4, the aggressive Trojans used the Pointers' height advantage against them, picking up fouls and going to the free-throw line in Portsmouth's 63-55 win.
Leading by four points after three quarters, Portsmouth scored 24 points in the final period, 14 points coming at the stripe. The Trojans last seven points were from free throws, as the team held off a late run by South Point.
“We were much more efficient on offense,” said Portsmouth coach Rick Hopkins. “We got four guys in double figures, we passed a lot better and got them to foul.”
Portsmouth's patience payed off in the first half as the team knocked down four wide-open 3-pointers, building a 28-22 lead. The Trojans passed around the perimeter until the open man was found.
In many losses this season, the Trojans have been privy to throwing up a quick shot.
“We had better shot selection,” Hopkins said. “We weren't quick-shooting and we got set up in our half-court offense better.”
Staring for the first time since the third game of the season, Brian Taylor led the Trojans with 14 points.Taylor connected on consecutive 3s early in the third quarter to push the Trojans' lead to double digits.
“(South Point) really wasn't trying to stop the ball and left me wide open on some screens,” Taylor said. “It felt good, so I just kept shooting.”
The Trojans also got a big boost from Shane Porter, who scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth. Going up against the big bodies down low, Porter tipped in a missed 3-pointer, made two layups in traffic and capped it off with two free throws as the team distanced itself.
“We got good position on them and attacked the basket,” Porter said. “We were tired of the losing.
“We were motivated. The ceremony got us worked up.”
Before the game with the Pointers, the school honored Stephen Hunter, a former Portsmouth student and freshman at Milligan College, who died leaving the school's tennis courts after practice.
“I told Michael Valentine, ‘I'm glad you guys are playing this game because I couldn't,'” Hopkins said.
Portsmouth will go from the emotional lows of losing one of its own to the highs of the final home game celebration today against Rock Hill. The ceremony will take place in between the junior varsity and varsity games as the school will read off the names of teams past.
“We're all looking forward to (Saturday),” Porter said. “It's really big for us.”
JEFF TAEPKE can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
South Point 13 11 11 20 - 55
Portsmouth 17 11 11 24 - 63
South Point - Brown 1 3 5, Bridges 2 0 6, Terry 9 1 24, Weed 0 1 1, Dean 2 1 5, McWhorter 2 4 8, Taylor 4 0 8. Totals 20 10 55.
Portsmouth - Johnson 3 3 11, Taylor 4 4 14, Valentine 1 4 6, Porter 4 2 10, Doll 4 3 12, Chabot 0 1 1, Parker 1 0 3, Farney 3 0 6. Totals 20 17 63.
3-pointers - South Point 5 (Terry 3, Bridges, Brown) Portsmouth 6 (Johnson 2, Taylor 2, Doll, Parker)
Records - Portsmouth 4-11.