King of the Hill

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 10, 2002

SOUTH POINT – The Chesapeake Panthers are king of the Ohio Valley Conference hill.

Sunday, February 10, 2002

SOUTH POINT – The Chesapeake Panthers are king of the Ohio Valley Conference hill. And it’s all because of Tommie Hill.

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Chesapeake took over sole possession of the OVC and clinched at least a share of a record seventh straight league title behind the long-range shooting of Hill as the Panthers beat the South Point Pointers 57-43 Friday in a showdown for first place.

Hill hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 points as Chesapeake improved to 6-1 in the OVC and 14-4 overall. The Panthers need only a win at Fairland Friday to win the title outright.

"He can shoot the ball a little bit, and they had to go down inside and that left Tommie open. He can shoot the ball a little bit," Chesapeake coach Norm Persin said with a grin. "He was the MVP for us tonight. He hit some big shots and got some critical rebounds."

The Panthers lost nine seniors and all five starters from last season’s team that advanced to the regional semifinals along with winning the league title.

"The kids believed in the program. This is quite an accomplishment for this team. It’s not over yet, but we’re in good shape," Persin said.

Defense was a major factor in the win. Chesapeake has limited nine teams to less than 50 points this season.

"Our defense played well. You hold a team like South Point to 43 points, you’ve done a good job," Persin said.

South Point coach Mark Lafon, who played for and coached under Persin, agreed that Hill was the difference in the game.

"I said before the season that there’s one key to Chesapeake in a big game and that’s (Tommie) Hill. If he’s hitting that shot, it’s almost impossible to beat them. And he hit four 3s and scored 18," Lafon said.

"I don’t fault my kids. They played hard and with a lot of heart. Give Chesapeake credit. They’ve been in a lot of big games and they know how to win."

Aaron Gossett had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Panthers while Nick Karle scored 10 points. Hill also had seven rebounds and five assists.

Shane Holsinger scored 23 points and had seven rebounds to pace the Pointers (11-6, 5-2). Donte Pennington added nine points , Bryan Maggard pulled down nine rebounds, and Adam Workman had four assists.

Hill and Holsinger swapped two 3-pointers apiece early before the Panthers took a 16-12 lead.

Chesapeake went on a 12-2 run early in the second quarter for a 28-18 lead, but the Pointers put together a 9-2 spurt of their own to close the half and trailed just 30-27 at the break.

"The first half we got second and third shots and couldn’t convert, and then we made them the second half," Persin said.

Holsinger scored 13 points the second half, but the Panthers made 7 of 16 field goals the fourth quarter and limited South Point to just eight points in each quarter.

Lafon said the Panthers rebounding and defense took over the second half.

"The second half they killed us on the boards and their zone froze us up," Lafon said. "From the beginning of the third quarter we started standing and not pressuring the ball. You can’t let up against (Chesapeake). You have to attack their zone. You can’t stand back and make a lot of passes."

Chesapeake 16 14 9 18 – 57

South Point 12 15 8 8 – 43

CHESAPEAKE (14-4, 6-1): Adam Skeens 1 0 0-0 2, Aaron Gossett 4 0 5-8 13, Nick Karle 5 0 0-2 10, Timmy Thacker 1 0 0-0 2, Luke Beach 0 0 1-4 1, Brad Fulton 1 0 1-2 3, Tommie Hill 2 4 2-2 18, Matt Rucker 4 0 0-0 8, T. R. Hannan 0 0 0-0 0, Daniel Thompson 0 0 0-0 0, Justin Hamlin 0 0 0-0 0, Bob Evans 0 0 0-0 0, Tendoy Huffman 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-42 (4) 9-18 57. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 35 (Gossett 9, Hill 7). Assists: 14 (Hill 5). Turnovers: 13.

SOUTH POINT (11-6, 5-2): Donte Pennington 3 0 3-4 9, Justin Eaches 0 0 1-2 1, Adam Workman 0 1 0-0 3, Shane Holsinger 6 3 2-4 23, Bryan Maggard 0 0 2-2 2, Seth Craft 1 1 0-3 5, Jonathan Green 0 0-0 0, Clifton Lovejoy 0 0 0-0 0, Saul Thompson 0 0 0-0 0, Josh Tibbetts 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-49 (5) 8-15 43. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Eaches. Rebounds: 24 (Maggard 9, Holsinger 7). Assists:16 (Workman 4). Turnovers: 26.