PORTSMOUTH — It was an unlikely cast of characters who made winning plays for the Portsmouth Trojans, but that didn’t stop them from doing so.
After jumping out to a lead that grew to as many as 13 at 23-10 in the second quarter, Portsmouth surrendered their lead to Coal Grove by the end of the third quarter.
With less than 10 seconds left and trailing 54-51 to the visiting Hornets, junior guard Drew Roe hit a game-tying three from the top of the arc to send Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference contest to a four-minute overtime period.
In the extra frame of free basketball, the Trojans went on to outscore Coal Grove 11-9 to earn their second win in three games — improving to 7-9 with a 5-6 mark in OVC play, despite shooting 6-of-26 from the free throw line for the game.
The end result was a 65-63 final score.
Roe’s game-tying shot was one of a pair of three-pointers the junior connected on, second to freshman Deandre Berry who hit four and scored a team-high 14 points in the win.
Berry scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime while fellow freshman Devin Lattimore scored each of his seven points in the same 12-minute time frame.
Berry and Lattimore’s combined 21 points were incredibly vital in the Trojans splitting the season series with the Hornets after a 62-60 road loss earlier this season.
Their contributions were unlikely in that fact that their roles in Portsmouth’s varsity rotation hadn’t been as impactful as they were on Friday. In fact, the duo weren’t even listed on Portsmouth’s preseason roster made-up back in November before the start of games.
“Huge shot in the arm for us tonight,” Portsmouth coach Gene Collins said, after the win. “We tried something different tonight that we haven’t done. Tried bringing those young guys up, getting them ready for the tournament and getting their feet wet — and boy, they were huge tonight. Can’t say enough about Deandre Berry, his coolness. He made big, big shots for us. Devin Lattimore finished well for us, and they wouldn’t let us die.”
Portsmouth’s veteran crew, including Roe, Donovan Carr, and Amare Johnson also made their impact felt in the two-point win.
Johnson scored 11 points on four field goals and two-of-four foul shooting and made life difficult for Hornet guards on the defensive end, while Carr scored eight on four field goals.
“It’s a credit to Drew Roe, Donovan Carr and Amare Johnson — those guys have been through the battles,” Collins said. “They hung in there, did the dirty work when we had to get stops and just really cool under pressure.”
Portsmouth was set to host Fairland on Saturday (Feb. 13) in boys OVC play before a home game on Monday versus North Adams and a league road trip to face Rock Hill on Tuesday.
The Trojans will host their opening game of the Division III sectional tournament as the No. 16-seed, welcoming No. 17-seed Belpre to Trojan Arena on Monday (Feb. 22).
The winner between Portsmouth and Belpre will travel to Proctorville to face the Dragons in a D3 sectional championship.
Collins is hoping Saturday’s game between the Trojans and Dragons is somewhat of a test-run for if the two are to meet in the sectional championship when both teams record are 0-0.
“We’ve just got to keep working, Keep tinkering with our lineups to get guys ready for Belpre. We’ve got Fairland coming in tomorrow and we know they’re going to be ready, tied with South Point for the OVC lead,” Collins said. “If we’re fortunate enough to beat Belpre then we’ll have to go to their place, it’s a good audition for us.”
With the slew of young play makers stepping up and in their first taste of varsity action, Collins says he’s excited for the possibilities his team might show in their upcoming tournament run.
“We’re an unknown, that’s the good thing about this team,” Collins said. “We’re really dangerous because we’ve got a lot of young, new kids who are not playing like young kids, so I’m excited.”
Coal Grove 7 11 21 15 9 — 63
Portsmouth 17 8 11 18 11 — 65
COAL GROVE 63 (6-8, 4-6 OVC)
Malachi Wheeler 0 4-5 4, Jarren Hickes 9 1-3 19, Trevor Hankins 4 0-1 9, Hunter Staton 2 0-0 6, Elijah Dillon 1 0-0 3, Braxton Horn 3 0-2 8, Perry Kingery 6 2-4 14; TOTALS 25 7-15 63; Three-point field goals: 6 (Braxton Horn and Hunter Staton 2 apiece, Trevor Hankins and Elijah Dillon 1 apiece)
PORTSMOUTH 65 (7-9, 5-6 OVC)
Amare Johnson 4 2-4 11, Drew Roe 2 0-0 6, Dariyonne Bryant 4 2-10 10, Chris Duff 2 0-2 4, Reade Pendleton 0 0-0 0, Daewin Spence 0 0-0 0, Donovan Carr 4 0-2 8, Michael Duncan 0 0-0 0, Miles Shipp 2 1-4 5, Devin Lattimore 3 1-4 7, Tyler Duncan 0 0-0 0, Deandre Berry 5 0-0 14; TOTALS 26 6-26 65; Three-point field goals: 7 (Deandre Berry 4, Drew Roe 2, Amare Johnson 1)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved