Pointers beat Hornets in yet another thriller

Published 12:19 am Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jim Walker



SOUTH POINT — The South Point Pointers wouldn’t be good in any of the vampire movies. However, they’d be perfect for an action thriller with a lot of plot twists.

The Pointers kept building big leads and then watch Coal Grove battled back before they finally put the Hornets away 65-58 Friday in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

The Pointers led by 10 points in the first quarter, 10 early in the second quarter, 15 in the third quarter, and as many as 16 in the fourth quarter only to have the Hornets get within four points with 1:18 to play.

South Point finally put the game away by making 13-of-19 free throws in the fourth quarter including 7-of-10 over the final minute.

“I knew they weren’t out of it. I told my guys you’ve got to drive a stake through their heart. We had that about four times when we had the stake to their chest, we just didn’t drive it in,” said Pointers’ coach Chris Barnes.

South Point is now 10-6 overall and leads the OVC with a 7-1 record. Coal Grove fell to 12-7 and 5-4.

Brandon Barnes scored 19 points to add to his school record career total that is now at 1,447. John Johnson scored 14 points, Audric Harlow had 13 and Eli Ketron had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

D.J. Miller was on fire for the Hornets. Miller drained eight 3-point goals and scored 26 points. Conor Markins had 14 points and nine rebounds.

South Point led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter and 20-10 early in the second quarter.

But Miller hit a pair of 3-pointers that got the Hornets with 24-22 with 3:50 left in the half.

A layup by Brandon Barnes and a 19-footer by Harlow had the Pointers up 28-23, but Miler hit a 3-pointer and it was 28-26.

Barnes then came up with a steal and layup that put the Pointers ahead 30-26 at the half.

The third quarter was a disaster for the Hornets who made just 1-of-10 field goal attempts. South Point led 41-26 after a triple by Johnson with 4:05 on the clock and the lead was 42-29 at the end of the quarter.

The Hornets also saw starter Brandon Adkins go to the bench with four fouls after sitting out almost the entire first half in foul trouble.

“We hit bad stretch in the third and they played really well. They got hot and they were hitting their shots. That third quarter hurt and not making our free throws down the stretch hurt,” said Hornets’ coach Jay Lucas.

A putback by Brady Rickard to start the fourth quarter put South Point up 44-29, but A trifecta by Miller and a layup by Sean Paulus got the Hornets within 48-40 with 4:17 to play.

Free throws by Brandon Boggs and Rickard had the lead at 56-40 with 2:40 to play, but Markins made two foul shots, Miller drained two triples and Markins buried a deep ball to get the Hornets within 56-51.

A three-point play by Austen Pleasants pulled the Hornets within 58-54 with 1:18 left. The Pointers responded by hitting their free throws including two each by Barnes, Johnson and Harlow.

“They came back. It’s simple fundamentals: free throws, layups, defense. It was all three we did well for most of the game,” said coach Barnes.

“Give Coal Grove credit for not quitting. Of course, I knew they wouldn’t. If they had won tonight, they had Fairland coming in (Tuesday) and if they win that they could have tied for first.”

Coal Grove was 19-of-53 from the field but 11-of-31 from the arc. The Pointers were 20-of-52 from the floor, 21-of-33 at the line and held a 40-34 rebound advantage.

“They’ve got a good basketball team. Chris does a good job. They’re talented. They’re long. Even their (big men) are athletic and they’re able to get in front of you and keep you from driving and keep you from penetrating,” said Lucas.

“Our kids played hard. My gosh, they played hard. Our kids battled and D.J. played a great game. Our press was good. We forced some turnovers. They missed some shots and D.J. got hot and we were able to get back in the game,” said Lucas.

Coal Grove 8 18 3 29 = 58

South Point 18 12 12 23 = 65

COAL GROVE (12-7, 5-4): Sean Paulus 3 0 1-4 7, Brandon Adkins 0 0 1-2 1, D.J. Miller 1 8 0-0 26, Joe Akers 0 0 0-0 0, Conor Markins 0 3 5-6 14, Isaiah Gunther 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Joseph 1 0 0-1 2, Austen Pleasants 3 0 2-3 8. Totals: 19-53 9-16 58. 3-point goals: 11-31. Rebounds: 14-OR, 20-DR = 34 (Markins 9, Joseph 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Assists: 9 (Paulus 5, Miller 2, Gunther 2). Steals: 4 (Akers, Miller, Markins, Gunther). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: None.

SOUTH POINT (10-6, 7-1): John Johnson 2 2 4-6 14, Audric Harlow 4 1 2-2 13, Brandon Barnes 5 1 6-9 19, Eli Ketron 3 0 6-8 12, Brandon Boggs 0 0 1-3 1, Marquise Foley 0 0 0-2 0, Brady Rickardd 2 0 2-3 6. Totals: 20-52 21-33 65. 3-point goals: 4-13. Rebounds: 18-OR, 22-DR = 40 (Ketron 16, Rickard 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 9 (Johnson 2, Rickard 2, Harlow 2). Steals: 4 (Ketron 2, Barnes 2). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Boggs (4th 2:40).