PORTSMOUTH – Defense and an inside presence is what led the Portsmouth Trojans to a come from behind victory against the South Point Pointers 47-45 in their OVC contest Friday night.
“I think our first half difficulties had a lot to do with South Point,” said Trojans head coach Gene Collins on Friday. “They put a lot of pressure on the ball, covered (Matthew) Fraulini wekkand didn’t give him a lot of looks.”
The Pointers quick guard play created Portsmouth a number of first half turnovers, as Collins mentioned. The Trojans leading scorer, junior Matthew Fraulini was held in check by South Point to just three points on the night.
“That was the game plan,” said Collins. “If they were to take Matt (Fraulini) away we were going to make sure we threw it in the post. We didn’t quite finish quite as often as I liked, but we finished enough to get the win.”
The consistent theme of the Trojans game plan, with Fraulini defended so closely, was to feed the post and to feed it often. Senior Myquel McKinley and sophomore Miles Shipp dominated the inside for a combined 37 of the Trojans 47 points on the night.
Not only was the game plan to feed the inside, which paid off, but the Trojans stepped up on the defensive to the tune of holding the Pointers to just 16 second half points after a 29 point first half.
“We went to our 1-3-1 in the second half and really stepped up with the pressure, starting with Danny Lattimore,” said Collins. “We were able to get some lose balls, and once we got the lead, the crowd really took over and helped us get this win.”
The crowd was at its’ loudest after McKinley got an offensive rebound off his own miss and finished at the rim to give Portsmouth the two point lead with 11 seconds left, one in which they would hold onto in the game’s final seconds.
This win was not only important in the moment to get, but also after Tuesday night’s loss on the road to Coal Grove which gave them a 0-1 record to start OVC play.
“It was huge just from a confidence standpoint,” said Collins. “Like I told our guys, South Point was coming in with a huge advantage by being able to win one game on the road in the league, which is like winning two. If they could come in here and get two road wins to start the league season out, that would be big for them and put us two games down which is really like four.”
South Point was led in scoring by Austin Webb who finished with 17, Chance Gunther who finished with 11, and Roger Staggs who finished with 10.
As for moving forward and lessons to take from tonight’s grind it out performance, Collins was happy to see that his team can win a game without having much contribution on the offensive end from their talented junior guard.
“I’ve been preaching, ‘How are we going to be when we don’t have Matthew Fraulini scoring?’,” said Collins. “With McKinley and Shipp both stepping up with 19 and 18, that was big. We took that test which was great. We have to keep improving, have to work on handling pressure better. Turning it over a little too much, but just keep on working to get better.”
Portsmouth will be on the road in their next contest against the Western (Pike) Indians of the SOC I on Wednesday before travelling to face Portsmouth West next Saturday night.
FINAL: Portsmouth comes back to beat South Point 47-45 after trailing 29-20 at halftime.#PDTSports
— Jacob Smith (@JacobSmithPDT) December 15, 2018
Portsmouth: 8-12-13-14 – 47
South Point: 14-15-7-9 – 45
Portsmouth: 18 FGs, 1 3pt (Fraulini 1), 8/12 FTs. Scoring: McKinley 19, Shipp 18, Lattimore 7, Fraulini 3
South Point: 14 FGs, 4 3pts (Gunther, Staggs, Webb, Malone 1), 4/11 FTs. Scoring: Webb 17, Gunther 11, Staggs 10, Turner 4, Malone 3
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT