• 39°

Defense sparks Pointers to win

South Point’s John Johnson secures a rebound while Coal Grove’s Alex Bare tries to take the ball away. South Point beat the Hornets 50-36 Tuesday in the Division III sectional tournament semifinals. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

South Point’s John Johnson secures a rebound while Coal Grove’s Alex Bare tries to take the ball away. South Point beat the Hornets 50-36 Tuesday in the Division III sectional tournament semifinals. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

JACKSON — South Point never seems to have trouble scoring points, but on Tuesday they decided to shift their focus from offense to defense.

The Pointers allowed just six points in the first half to build a 17-point lead as they beat the Coal Grove Hornets 50-36 in the Division III sectional tournament.

“It was just determination. We haven’t played defense that hard all season,” said Pointers’ coach Chris Barnes.

“We had a good week of practice. (Assistant coach) Zach (Christensen) did a great job preparing us. We worked hard on defense. We played great defense. To hold a team to one point in a quarter and six in a half is great defense. Coal Grove is a good team. They beat us twice (in the regular season).”

Brandon Barnes scored 17 points and had 3 steals for the Pointers (10-13) who play Oak Hill at 5 p.m. Saturday in the sectional finals.

John Johnson had 11 points and Payne Meadows added 8 points, 3 assists and 4 steals as South Point picked up 12 steals as a team. Brandon Boggs grabbed 8 rebounds.

Coal Grove (16-6) was just 12 of 46 from the field and 3 of 17 from the 3-point line.

Sean Paulus scored 12 points to lead the Hornets. Conor Markins had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Brandon Adkins also had 8 rebounds.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well. We played hard. We played good defense. We just couldn’t get in a rhythm (on offense) all night,” said Hornets’ coach Jay Lucas. “Give them credit. Their kids stepped up and made shots.”

South Point took a 10-1 first quarter lead as Coal Grove missed all four field goal attempts and turned the ball over eight times.

A layup by Markins at the 7:20 mark was Coal Grove’s first field goal of the game and made it 10-3, but the Pointers limited the Hornets to 2 of 10 shooting in the second quarter.

A layup by Brandon Boggs with two seconds left in the half put the Pointers up 23-6 at the break.

Coal Grove began the second half possessed. They went on a 10-0 run to trail 23-16.

A trey by Paulus got the Hornets within 25-21 with 3:56 on the clock.

But South Point finished the quarter with 7 unanswered points and it was 32-21.

Coach Barnes said switching to defenses helped stymie the Hornets’ comeback bid.

“We knew they weren’t going away. They were going to come out madder than a wet hornet,” said coach Barnes. “Once we weather the storm, we knew we’d be okay. When we changed to a 1-2-2 they took some bad shots and turned it over.”

Paulus hit a 17-footer to start the fourth quarter, but Barnes made a layup and Johnson turned a steal into a layup and the lead was 36-23 with 6:50 left.

Paulus drained a 3-pointer only to have the Pointers answer with a 9-0 run. Markins had a steal and layup but the Hornets found themselves down 45-28 with 3:27 left.

South Point 10 13 9 18 = 50

Coal Grove 1 5 15 15 = 36

SOUTH POINT (10-13): John Johnson 3 1 2-5 11, Austin Majher 0 0 2-2 2, Payne Meadows 4 0 0-3 8, Brandon Barnes 3 3 2-4 17, Brandon Boggs 3 0 1-4 7, Phil Kratzenberg 0 1 0-0 3, Brady Rickard 0 0 0-0 0, Steven Wagoner 0 0 0-0 0, Mason White 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 19-42 7-18 50. 3-point goals: 5-16. Rebounds: 7 offense, 20 defense = 27 (Boggs 8, Johnson 5). Team rebounds: 1. Assists: 9 (Boggs 3, Meadows 3). Steals: 12 (Meadows 4, Barnes 3, Majher 3). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.

COAL GROVE (16-6): Trevor Barrett 0 0 0-0 0, Alex Bare 2 0 1-2 5, Sean Paulus 2 2 2-2 12, Brandon Adkins 1 0 0-0 2, Conor Markins 3 0 3-6 9, Isaiah Gunther 1 1 3-4 8, Joe Akers 0 0 0-0 0, Austen Pleasants 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-46 9-14 36. 3-point goals: 3-17. Assists: 3. Steals: 6 (Adkins 2, Gunther 2). Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Bare (4th 0:52).