PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth’s pace and ability to hold onto its lead were crucial in Monday’s Division III sectional semifinal against Belpre.
In their 68-53 win over the visiting Golden Eagles inside Trojan Arena, the Trojans (8-10) dictated pace and kept their foot on the gas — despite their guests making third and fourth-quarter runs to cut into their lead.
Portsmouth’s lead grew to as many as 20 points with 3:12 left in the third quarter — after junior guard Drew Roe connected on one of its six made threes in the win.
“We felt like coming into the game they would struggle playing on our big court. Not sure if they had something wrong with their bus, but they walked in probably 20 minutes before tip,” Portsmouth coach Gene Collins said, after the win. “We felt like we could jump on them early and we were able to.”
The Trojans simply dominated the glass, both on the offensive and defensive ends.
Unofficially, Portsmouth won the rebounding edge 37-27 — all while using a 10-man rotation throughout the course of the contest.
“We gang-rebounded, I thought Michael Duncan was huge on both ends rebounding, Miles was typical Miles, Donovan Carr — we had a bunch of guys flying in there getting boards,” Collins said. “It was big for us tonight.”
Dariyonne Bryant and Donovan Carr led Portsmouth with a team-high 13 points apiece, while Miles Shipp added 12 to include in the three Trojans who reached double figures.
In total, nine Trojans scored of the 14 who played — six of which scored at least seven points.
Roe bagged a team-high two threes, while Michael Duncan, Tyler Duncan, Devin Lattimore and DeAndre Berry knocked down one apiece.
“It was great that we had balance. Guys shared the ball well, found the open man,” Collins said, of Portsmouth’s ball movement. “When we run our secondary break that what it’s designed to do — find the open guy. They were having trouble guarding our wings and when they adjusted, we were able to get a few looks inside.”
After Portsmouth led by as many as 20, Belpre attempted to cut into the Trojans’ lead — doing so down to 12 and 13 points on two separate occasions.
The Trojans didn’t let Belpre get any closer, though, as the Golden Eagles have shown the ability to come back from double-digit deficits this season.
“The kids are learning me and I’m learning them. They’ve (Belpre) shown the ability to come back from large deficits,” Collins said. “We were really conscious of cutting off their momentum, so when they started to make a run, we were able to call a timeout and settle our guys down and keep them from getting it close on us.”
Portsmouth will advance to Friday’s Division III sectional championship — where it will travel to face top-seeded and Ohio Valley Conference rival Fairland in Proctorville.
Prior to that, the Trojans traveled Tuesday for an OVC makeup game against the Rock Hill Redmen.
For the Trojans to play the spoiler role, and capture the program’s first sectional title since 2017, Collins says his team needs to do what it takes to make it a game in the game’s final minutes.
“Our goal in Rock Hill game is continue to share the ball, play fast. And figure out how we can make this a game with two or three minutes to go at Fairland. I think if we can make it a game that late, we can win. But we’ve got to put ourselves in that position.”
Belpre 7 17 9 20 — 53
Portsmouth 20 15 15 18 — 68
BELPRE 53 (12-10)
Evan Wells 7 0-0 18, Cody Daughtery 1 0-0 2, Jordan Harrington 2 2-2 6, Ashton Yeater 1 0-0 2, Blake Church 0 0-0 0, Matthew Deems 0 0-0 0, Tucker Liston 1 0-0 2, Tyce Church 0 0-0 0, Dylan Cox 0 0-0 0, Connor Baker 4 0-0 8, Nick Lambert 1 2-2 4, Jacob Smeeks 2 0-0 6, Brady Shriver 2 1-2 5; TOTALS 21 5-6 53; Three-point field goals: 6 (Evan Wells 4, Jacob Smeeks 2)
PORTSMOUTH (8-10) 68
Amare Johnson 0 2-2 2, Drew Roe 3 0-0 8, Dariyonne Bryant 6 1-2 13, Chris Duff 0 0-0 0, Reade Pendleton 0 0-0 0, Donovan Carr 6 1-3 13, Michael Duncan 3 0-0 7, Miles Shipp 5 2-2 12, Dante Hambrick 0 0-0 0, Devin Lattimore 3 0-2 7, Tyler Duncan 1 0-0 3, DeAndre Berry 1 0-0 3, Noah Livingstone 0 0-0 0, Levaughn Cobb 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 28 6-11 68; Three-point field goals: 6 (Drew Roe 2, Michael Duncan, Devin Lattimore, Tyler Duncan, DeAndre Berry 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved