Jeeps in Elite 8!


South Webster senior Tyler Sommer (14)

Ed Litteral | Daily Times

ATHENS — Once again, a Norm Persin-coached boys basketball team wins a regional semifinal inside Ohio University’s Convocation Center.

This time, it was Persin’s South Webster Jeeps on Tuesday night —following a similar Persin path, when he coached at both Chesapeake and Oak Hill.

Against the like 22-3 Fairfield Lions, the Jeeps jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening five minutes and 47 seconds, never trailed and withstood one tie (24-24) —and finally defended the Fairfield three-ball in the closing 11 tics, all en route to a thrilling 48-45 Division IV Region 15 victory.

That’s right —it was a close encounter of single-digit margins for the final 25 minutes and three seconds, although the closest the Lions came to taking the lead was a 24-24 third-period tie with 4:25 to go.

For the final 17 seconds, after South Webster’s Christian White swished a pair of free throws for the 48-45 Jeep lead, it all come down to South Webster making sure the Lions didn’t drain a three-pointer.

The Jeeps had three fouls to give, and so they did, running three seconds off the clock to eight.

Trey House of the Lions then had a three-pointer blocked by Jeeps’ junior Dylan Shupert, with 5.2 tics to play, but the ball belonged to Fairfield for it went out of bounds.

Gabe Fouch then missed a corner three-pointer, although once again, the ball belonged to Fairfield.

Finally, with 1.2 seconds left, the Lions’ Larkin Friend fired away from the wing with a three —but the Jeeps just defended it well, and hung on for the 48-45 win.

“We had no fouls, so we just fouled them, and we told them to give up a layup, but just don’t give up a three since we were up three,” said Persin.

Prior to the final Fairfield three attempts, the Lions landed 6-of-15 from three-point territory —or for 40-percent.

Those three misses made it a 33-percent clip (6-of-18), as both teams shot the exact same percentage from distance (33-percent) — and from the free-throw line (100-percent).

“The only way they were staying in the game was that they were hitting every three. We did a better job of that in the second half,” said Persin.

Persin praised also his Jeeps’ “discipline” — during the latter stages of Tuesday’s tilt.

For Persin himself, the legendary boys basketball coach notched career victory 801 —as he reached his major milestone 800th win, with last Friday night’s Southeast District Division IV championship triumph over Trimble.

Persin, Ohio’s active all-time wins leader for career coaching victories, is now 801-225 for 45 total seasons.

“We told the kids late in the game that discipline is what is going to win this game for us. We ran some time off the clock, moved the ball, the little things we had to do to carry on, but discipline is the big key part of the game,” said the coach.

The biggest difference —the Jeeps shot 57-percent (20-of-35) to the Lions ‘44-percent (18-of-41), and South Webster’s 10-0 lead from the opening tip to the 2:13 mark of the first quarter.

Finally, Fairfield got a Logan McIntosh three-pointer with 63 seconds left in the first — and a pair of House foul shots.

But South Webster’s six-foot and seven-inch junior standout Eli Roberts, who made both of the Jeeps’ good threes, rained one in at the first-quarter buzzer —and on a fallaway trey try at that.

In the end, and in a game of small spurts both ways, those three points from Roberts ended up being the scoreboard difference.

South Webster junior Eli Roberts (1)

Ed Litteral | Daily Times

So too was his four-point play —a three and a free throw, which broke the 24-24 tie with 4:09 to play in the third.

“The game was a game of spurts. It was just battle, battle, battle. We knew they weren’t going away. We had some breakdowns on defense and we let them get to the rim too many times on us. But from there, we were able to knock down free throws (White) down the stretch,” said Persin. “It’s a good win, we pulled one out.”

Roberts, the Southeast District Division IV Player of the Year as bestowed upon by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association, scored 15 points —as 6-3 senior Tyler Sommer added 11, on four field goals and 3-of-3 free throws.

Fellow seniors Brock Campbell and Jack Timothy tallied two points apiece on one made field goal —as White with two twos and his two key freebies, and three field goals apiece by Shupert and sophomore Hunter Barnard, each accounted for six South Webster points.

South Webster senior Brock Campbell (12)

Ed Litteral | Daily Times

Sommer grabbed five rebounds, as he and Roberts made two steals apiece for South Webster’s four.

For those into counting, the Jeeps had 14 bench points to the Lions’ none —and 32 points in the paint to the Lions’ 22.

The Jeeps’ time with the lead spanned 30 minutes and 53 seconds.

Not bad for a Persin-coached regional-semifinal squad.

“Everybody chipped in. No matter who it was,” he said.

South Webster junior Christian White (2)

Ed Litteral | Daily Times

House had 17 points to pace the Lions, as Friend followed with 14 and McIntosh with eight.

The trio (Friend seven, House six and McIntosh three) combined for 16 of the Lions’ 18 total field goals —as Fouch and Gabe Miller made one three apiece.

House hit a trifecta with 30 seconds remaining in the second stanza for the 24-18 halftime deficit, part of the Lions’ nine unanswered points —which carried over into the third and spanned a total of 4:36.

The Jeeps’ largest second-half lead stood at 44-36 with three-and-a-half minutes remaining, as the Lions’ smallest second-half deficits were a pair of one-point edges (44-43 and 46-45) — late in the fourth.

South Webster sophomore Hunter Barnard (5)

Ed Litteral | Daily Times

On Friday night (March 15), in the Division IV Region 15 championship bout at the Convocation Center, the 23-3 Jeeps faced the 21-6 Hiland Hawks —a regular returnee to the regional tournament at Ohio University.

The Hawks handled Northside Christian 52-32 in Tuesday night’s opening semifinal.

The Hiland and South Webster winner was to not only capture the Region 15 title, but also punch a Division IV ticket to next weekend’s state tournament.

* * *

Fairfield 5 13 13 14 — 45

S. Webster 13 11 10 14 — 48

FAIRFIELD 45 (22-4)

Larkin Friend 7 0-0 14, Trey House 6 3-3 17, Logan McIntosh 3 0-0 8, Gabe Fouch 1 0-0 3, Cade Miller 1 0-0 3, Griffin Friend 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 18 3-3 45; Three-point goals: 6 (Trey House and Logan McIntosh 2 apiece, Gabe Fouch and Cade Miller 1 apiece)


Eli Roberts 6 1-1 15, Christian White 2 2-2 6, Owen Mault 0 0-0 0, Jack Timothy 1 0-0 2, Tyler Sommer 4 3-3 11, Dylan Shupert 3 0-0 6, Hunter Barnard 3 0-0 6, Brock Campbell 1 0-0 2; TOTALS 20 6-6 48; Three-point goals: 2 (Eli Roberts 2)

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on X @paulboggssports © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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