It took the Lady Pirates less time to establish the tempo from there. Down 7-2 after the first quarter, Wheelersburg would go on a 17-2 run in the second quarter to take the lead. The team would not relinquish it, as the Lady Pirates would go over .500 for the year with a 54-30 victory.
“I told them that I thought we took some good shots early, but things weren't falling,” said Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin. “The one thing we did talk about is that we needed to be a little more aggressive and try to get the ball to the basket a little more. I think we adjusted a little better, but obviously, when you start making some shots, everything picks up.”
Defense marked the first quarter, as the Trojans held the Lady Pirates scoreless until 1:57, when Jessica Blanton buried a jumper for the team's first points. Portsmouth kept the lead for most of the quarter, as three consecutive scores by Cassie Taylor, along with a Brittany Stanley free-throw, put the Trojans up 7-2 after the first eight minutes.
Wheelersburg would score the next seven points to take a 9-7 lead, but Taylor brought the score back to nine apiece. Ten straight points by the Pirates would give the team a 19-9 lead, but the Trojans would come back to cut the deficit to 20-16 at the end of the first half.
Jessica Blanton would help to bring the lead to double digits in the third, scoring eight of her 15 points on the night. The team relied on its defense for many of its points, frustrating Portsmouth with multiple steals.
“We play a fast-paced game, and once we turned it up a little bit, we got our pace going, and turned our whole game around,” said Blanton.
Blanton was one of four Lady Pirates to hit double digits on the night. Sarah Schmidt added 12, Kate Staker added 11 and Lainee Clay had 10. Although she did not score, Brittany Warner led Wheelersburg with eight rebounds.
For Portsmouth, Taylor led the way with 10 points, all in the first half, and Sydnee Jordan added seven points, four rebounds and two blocks. Jennifer Bendolph had six rebounds, and Brittany Stanley added five boards for the Trojans.
“Cassie played real tough, and she came out of the box,” said Portsmouth coach Joe Albrecht. “Cassie has been improving from practice to practice, and from game to game, and she is earning herself some playing time. Right now, we have to have a reality a check.
“They defended us very well (in the second half). They got all of the rebounds, and we did not get any putbacks whatsoever.”
Portsmouth is off until Saturday, when it travels to Jackson. Wheelersburg plays host to Valley on Tuesday.
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.
Portsmouth 7 9 5 9 - 30
Wheelersburg 2 18 15 19 - 54
Portsmouth - Taylor 5 0 10, Jordan 1 4 7, Bendolph 2 0 4, Stanley 1 1 3, Colley 0 3 3, Kristian 0 2 2, LaGrange 0 1 1. Totals 9 11 30.
Wheelersburg - Blanton 5 2 15, Schmidt 6 0 12, Staker 5 1 11, Clay 3 4 10, Barrick 2 1 5, Clevenger 0 1 1. Totals 21 8 54.
3-pointers - Portsmouth 1 (Jordan), Wheelersburg 3 (Blanton 3).
Records - Portsmouth 1-6, Wheelersburg 4-3.