Portsmouth (8-15) vs. Adena (16-6)
In a game that Portsmouth isn’t supposed to win, the Trojans certainly have the scoring abilities to do so. But the question is if whether Portsmouth can stop the top-seeded Warriors from putting the ball in the bucket.
Offensively, Matthew Fraulini leads the charge with the help of Danny Lattimore, Myquel McKinley and Miles Shipp. Fraulini and Lattimore have handled most of the Trojans’ scoring duties this season while McKinley and Shipp have crashed the boards hard. More second chances should equal more points, especially if it’s Fraulini and Lattimore taking the shots. However, getting those second chances is easier said than done … especially when competing against Adena’s duo of Caleb Foglesong and Logan Bennett, who average 6.6 and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Defensively, the Trojans have their hands full stopping the likes of Zach Fout (16 points per night), Bennett (12.6) and a host of other capable players including Preston Sykes, Jacob Shipley and Nate Throckmorton. Adena enters the contest averaging 61.8 points per game — the top mark in its conference — while giving up 51.6.
One advantage Portsmouth will have is the fact it doesn’t have to deal with Jarrett Garrison. The Warriors’ starting point guard suffered a season-ending injury earlier in the year. But that doesn’t mean, by any means, that the Trojans are favored. Portsmouth coach Eugene Collins said his team is “embracing the underdog role.” That’s exactly what they’ll have to do … and then some … to get a win Friday night and head to the Convo.
Meigs vs. Wheelersburg @ Jackson
The Wheelersburg Pirates (22-0) begin their potential postseason run with a sectional final game against Meigs High School (11-10) Friday night at 6:00 p.m. at Jackson High School.
Meigs reached the sectional finals after defeating the OVC’s South Point in the sectional semifinals on Monday, 48-43.
Wheelersburg will be one of the toughest outs, for any team, this postseason. The state’s third ranked team can come out you in so many different ways: off the bounce, in the post from Tanner Holden, and from the perimeter from guys like Connor Mullins, Trent Salyers, and J.J. Truitt.
Yet the thing that makes the Pirates so dangerous is not just their offensive production, it’s how well they play defensively. In their 22 regular season games, the Pirates only allowed 49.5 points per game on the defensive end, and only allowed their opponents to break the 60 point mark five times over their 22 games.
If the Pirates wish to punch their ticket to Athens once again, they’ll need to rely on the things they have all season: balanced offense, and smothering defense.
Valley vs. Eastern Brown @ Waverly
Following their 58-44 sectional semifinal win over Paint Valley, the Valley Indians are one win away from their first trip to Athens since 2016 when they fell to Chesapeake in the district finals. The team that stands in between them and achieving that goal? Number one seeded Eastern Brown of Sardinia (16-5).
The Warriors of Eastern Brown are a guard oriented squad and will attack you both off the bounce and from the outside. Seniors Marcus Hamilton and Gage Boone, as well as junior Titus Burns will be players to keep an eye on for Eastern. Defensively, Eastern will try and press Valley to create as many turnovers and as much havoc as possible.
For Valley, playing one of their best defensive games against a talented team will be pertinent. Guards Andrew Shope, Tanner Cunningham, and Kayden Mollette will need to limit their opponent to the best of their abilities, while also protecting the ball given Eastern’s pressing nature. Valley also needs Mason Zaler to be as impactful as he was during their sectional semifinal game against Paint Valley when Zaler finished with sixteen points and fifteen rebounds.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT