PORTSMOUTH — It didn’t take the Portsmouth Trojans long to hit their stride in Tuesday’s 38-point (89-51) win over Nelsonville-York.
The Trojans outscored the visiting Buckeyes in every frame of their win in a Division III sectional semifinal, and weren’t slowed down a bit as the game went on.
By halftime, Portsmouth had built a 47-22 — thanks in large part to their outside offensive execution.
In the first 12 minutes of the game, Portsmouth had N-Y on the ropes with seven made three-pointers — as part of 12 team makes from three by game’s end.
Trojans coach Gene Collins said afterwards that their early success from long range helped open their inside shot selection as the game went on.
“When we can shoot it from three, it really stretches the defense,” Collins said. “Gives (Kenny) Sanderlin an opportunity to work inside, Dariyonne Bryant lanes to drive in. When we’re shooting it like that we’re tough to beat.”
Portsmouth’s defensive pressure in the half-court, and in the full-court, was also a strong factor in their lopsided win.
Buckeye turnovers allowed the Trojans to get out in transition, and get the best possible shot, Collins believed.
“Felt like our rotation was better. We got to press in the third quarter against Coal Grove and we hadn’t done that in a long time. We feel like we have the pieces to be able to press and have the pressure and it was really good tonight. Our offense in transition was huge, and it started with Dariyonne. He had a lot of opportunities in transition to get guys easy buckets or score when the defense sagged off. If DeAndre Berry and Tyler Duncan are open with good looks, they’re going to knock them in off kickouts.”
Dariyonne Bryant and Kenny Sanderlin led Portsmouth on the offensive end, both finishing with a game-high 20 points.
Bryant led all scorers with 14 points at halftime, while Sanderlin scored 12 of his 20 in the third period.
Sophomore DeAndre Berry scored 17 points and knocked down a team-best five threes, and Devon Lattimore came off the bench to score 15 points on seven field goals.
Tyler Duncan and Dante Hamrick both knocked down a pair of threes in the Trojans’ last game inside Trojan Arena for the ‘21-22 season.
With the win, No. 11 seed Portsmouth advances to Friday’s D-III sectional title game — where they’ll face No. 6 seed South Point on the road.
After splitting the season series, the Ohio Valley Conference rivals will meet for the third time — with a trip to the D-III Southeast District tournament on the line.
A Trojans win this Friday night, like their 72-61 road win over the Pointers on Jan. 14, would mean Portsmouth’s first sectional title and district berth since 2017.
And, with a group that’s seemingly playing its best basketball in the home stretch, Collins’ plan is for his team to keep its ride going.
“It’s a rubber match and our personnel is a lot alike,” Collins said, of facing South Point. “They got us here and we got them at their place. We’re hungry and it’s been since the 2017 season that we’ve won a sectional title. The opportunity to get to play, we’re blessed to get back in the gym and get ready for Friday. We’re playing much better now, have been these last couple of weeks. I think we’re peaking at the right time and we just have to keep it going.”
Nelsonville-York 10 12 16 13 — 51
Portsmouth 22 25 23 19 — 89
Dakota Lamon 1 0-0 2, James Kesta 1 0-0 2, Drew Carter 6 0-0 17, Jayden Abram 0 0-0 0, Shawn Adams 1 0-0 2, Landon Lamon 0 0-0 0, Thatcher Smith 0 0-0 0, Keagan Swope 3 1-2 8, Trent Harrisey 2 0-0 4, Leighton Loge 8 0-1 16, Andrew Connor 0 0-0 0, Brandon Charles 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 22 1-3 51; Three-point field goals: 6 (Carter 5, Swope 1)
Portsmouth (11-10) 89
Daewin Spence 0 0-0 0, Dariyonne Bryant 9 0-0 20, Tyler Duncan 2 0-0 6, Kenny Sanderlin 7 6-7 20, Donovan Carr 0 0-0 0, Cooper Maxie 0 0-0 0, Levaughn Cobb 1 0-0 3, Dante Hamrick 2 0-0 6, Devon Lattimore 7 1-2 15, Isaiah Lewis 0 0-0 0, DeAndre Berry 6 0-0 17, Luke Stein 0 0-0 0, Noah Livingston 1 0-0 2; TOTALS: 35 7-9 89; Three-point field goals: 12 (Berry 5, Bryant and Duncan and Hamrick 2 apiece, Cobb 1)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved