PORTSMOUTH – It’s tough to win a game when you’re not playing your best basketball on a given night. It’s especially tough to win a conference game against a team like Gallia Academy when you’re not playing your best basketball on a given night.
That’s what the Portsmouth Trojans found out on Tuesday night in a home loss to the Blue Devils of Gallia Academy 62-44.
“We knew it was a big game,” said Portsmouth head coach Gene Collins following the loss Tuesday night, “Gallia came in as a veteran club, and they played well when they needed to, and we didn’t. I thought we had some opportunities early on, missed some easy buckets, missed some free throws. That kind of caused us to get behind, but once we got behind, we just could not make up ground.”
It’s true, the Trojans fell behind early to a veteran Gallia Academy team 14-5 in the early stages of Tuesday’s game. However, they were able to make up some ground and cut their deficit to just two at 14-12 when senior Myquel McKinley entered the game and provided some spark on the defensive end for the Trojans.
“He did change some things defensively, and that gave us an opportunity,” said Collins. “But I didn’t feel like we capitalized on those opportunities. We got in transition, and we hurt ourselves in transition when we had what I thought for sure were buckets that we didn’t get, and those turned into buckets on the other end for them.”
Going into the half, Portsmouth trailed the Blue Devils 31-23, somewhat eerily similar to their home game against South Point earlier in the season when the Trojans trailed the Pointers 29-20 before making a big comeback and winning 48-44.
However, unlike their game against South Point, Portsmouth was unable to limit Gallia Academy’s offensive production, resulting in a 62-44 loss on their home court.
Junior Matthew Fraulini, who on Friday against Rock Hill broke the school’s single game scoring record with 46 points, entered the fourth with just four points before ultimately finishing tied for a team high nine points with fellow teammates McKinley and Miles Shipp.
Collins knew that Fraulini would face a much bigger challenge when trying to score the ball on Tuesday rather than he did on Friday when he scored his career high.
“We talked about it tonight that he wasn’t going to get 28 looks at the hoop tonight, we knew that coming in. The adjustment that our team is going to have to make, because we’re so young, is that we don’t recognize from game to game personnel and matchups are different. So he was able to do things in the Rock Hill game that he wasn’t able to do tonight. Because any of the five guys they had could guard him because they were just as quick, and in most cases much stronger than he was. If he didn’t get open looks, he wouldn’t be able to get shots because they were able to guard him.”
Portsmouth’s schedule doesn’t get any easier moving forward. The Trojans will host OVC rival Ironton who fell to Coal Grove in triple overtime Tuesday on Friday, as well as a road trip to South Webster on Saturday to face the Jeeps.
“I told our guys, Ironton will be 10 times as physical as Gallia was tonight. They’re big and strong, they’ve got a good backcourt, Charlie Large and Wilson, those two guys are seniors, so that’s going to be a tough one. If we can’t compete on the boards, it’ll be a long night. And then we have to go to South Webster on Saturday. This is just one of those weeks that every team has to go through. You just have to do the best that you can and focus on the things you can control.”
Portsmouth: 10-13-12-9 – 44
Gallia Academy: 14-19-23-8 – 62
Portsmouth: 17 FG, 5 3PT (Fraulini, Lattimore 2), 5/11 FT. Scoring: Fraulini 9, Shipp 9, McKinley 9, Lattimore 8, Roe 7, Clark 2
Gallia Academy: 28 FG, 1 3PT (McClelland 1), 5/8 FT. Scoring: Call 22, Blouir 14, Carter 10, McClelland 9, Walker 3, Cox 2, Henry 2
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT