Coal Grove Hornets’ guard Sean Paulus (12) drives inside and scores against the Nelsonville-York defense Friday. Paulus had 10 points as the Hornets won 52-47 in overtime to win the sectional title. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)
Coal Grove Hornets’ guard Sean Paulus (12) drives inside and scores against the Nelsonville-York defense Friday. Paulus had 10 points as the Hornets won 52-47 in overtime to win the sectional title. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Archived Story

Team effort gives Hornets sectional title

Published 3:32am Saturday, February 22, 2014

Jim Walker


JACKSON — It was Nelsonville-York’s plan to take away Coal Grove’s leading scorer Conor Markins and make the rest of the team beat them.

Unfortunately, the plan worked to perfection.

While Markins was held to four points, the Hornets collectively — along with Markins’ help — pulled together and beat the Buckeyes 52-47 in overtime Friday to win the Division III sectional title.

“The team played really well. We got the ball to different guys. When they tried to take Conor away, those other guys have got to step up and they did,” said Hornets’ coach Jay Lucas.

D.J. Miller scored 16 points including 4-for-4 from the foul line in overtime and Sean Paulus added 10 points and three assists. Brandon Adkins, Joe Akers and Austen Pleasants had seven rebounds each.

Markins — who usually wears No. 32 on his jersey — might as well have had a bull’s-eye. But he used the extra attention to get four assists. He also had a steal along with four rebounds.

Colt Adams had 16 points for Nelsonville-York (14-9).

Coal Grove (15-7) will play Lucasville Valley at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, at Ohio University. The Hornets only other sectional titles were 1998 and 1999.

“We’ve talked about over and over again since the first week of the season. Obviously, one of our goals was to win the league. South Point had a great team and they won the league,” said Lucas.

“Our second goal was to take a trip to the Convo. The kids have talked about it over and over and they stepped up to the challenge.”

The game was tied four times and the lead changed hands nine times. Coal Grove trailed 28-27 at the half.

Coal Grove led 36-35 going into the fourth quarter only to have N-Y go up 40-36 on a 12-footer by Jay Elliott and a trifecta by Adams.

A layup by Brandon Adkins and a running baseline jumper by Paulus gave the Hornets a 44-43 lead with 2:41 left in regulation.

Paulus and Miller added a free throw each for a 46-43 lead, but Jeremy Warren hit a triple with 1:24 left to tie the game.

The Hornets tried to hold the ball for a final shot, but the two teams exchanged turnovers in the final 12 seconds and Coal Grove missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

Miler made two free throws to start the overtime and Josh Fayette hit the first of two foul shots for N-Y with 1:32 on the clock and Coal Grove led 48-47.

The Hornets again held the ball only to have Warren come up with a steal. However, he missed the layup and Connor Kilbarger’s putback attempt also missed.

Miller got the rebound and was fouled. He sank both free throws with 22 seconds left and the Hornets led 50-47.

The Buckeyes missed a shot and Markins got a runout layup with six seconds left to seal the outcome.

“We told them to keep their composure. It was a physical game. It was two football schools going at it,” said Lucas.

“We kept our composure and the biggest thing is we had to attack the basket. The outside shots weren’t falling for us tonight. We had to keep going to the basket and try to get them in foul trouble. It ended up being the difference maker. We got 32 (Josh Fayette) out of the game at the end”

Nelsonville 19 9 7 11 1 = 47

Coal Grove 18 9 9 10 6 = 52

NELSONVILLE-YORK (14-9): Wade Lent 0 0 0-0 0, Connor Kilbarger 2 0 3-7 7, Colt Adams 0 4 4-4 16, Josh Fayette 2 0 4-8 8, Jay Elliott 4 1 0-0 9, Jeremy Warren 2 1 0-0 7, Ryan McManus 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-45 11-18 47. 3-point goals: 6-17. Rebounds: 9-O, 23-D = 32 (Elliott 9, Kilbarger 9). Team/deadball rebounds: 9). Assists: 7 (Fayette 2, Warren 2). Steals: 8 (Warren 3, Elliott 2, Fayette 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Fayette (4th 0:22).

COAL GROVE (15-7): Sean Paulus 4 0 2-4 10, Brandon Adkins 2 0 2-2 6, D.J. Miller 1 3 5-6 16, Joe Akers 1 0 2-2 4, Conor Markins 1 0 2-2 4, Jonathan Joseph 0 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Gunther 1 2 0-0 8, Austen Pleasants 2 0 0-2 4. Totals: 18-46 11-18 52. 3-point goals: 5-18. Rebounds: 8-O, 26-D = 34 (Adkins 7, Akers 7, Pleasants 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 8 (Markins 4, Paulus 3). Steals: 5 (Adkins 2). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.

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