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Hornets beat Dragons for D3 sectional title

JACKSON — The Coal Grove Hornets had a plan and it worked just like they hoped. Using an attack mode on offense as well as defense, the Hornets beat the Fairland Dragons 64-61 on Saturday to win the Division III sectional title.

Coal Grove was 24-of-42 from the line and 19-of-38 from the field as they drove for numerous layups.

“We knew we were going to have to attack the basket and draw fouls,” said Hornets’ coach Jay Lucas.

Fairland shot 19-of-54 from the floor and 19-of-27 from the line as the teams combined for 48 fouls.

“I thought our whole team played great defense and with great effort. Our pressure on the defensive end of the floor was able to keep them out of the lane and create transition points for us,” said Lucas.

“They have a great team. They’re very dangerous. (Coach) Nathan (Speed) does a great job. We feel blessed to beat them.”

Coal Grove (13-10) will play Portsmouth in the district semifinals at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at Ohio University.

The game was tied twice and the lead exchanged hands five times in the first quarter. A layup by Kollin Van Horn put the Dragons ahead 14-13 with 52 seconds left, but Brandon Akins driving layup with one second left gave Coal Grove a 15-14 lead.

The Hornets went on an 8-2 run to start the second quarter that began with a layup by Carey and ended with a layup by Daniel Rutherford and included a pair of baskets by Adkins inbetween.

Fairland ended the run on a layup by Hunter Ashton with 2:03 on the clock but two foul shots by Chase McKnight with two seconds left gave the Hornets a 25-21 halftime lead.

Coal Grove went up 30-23 on a layup by Carey but Fairland used four free throws and two baskets by Isaiah Howell to get within 32-31 with 3:21 on the clock.

But the Hornets got layups by Jordan Lucas, Carey and Rutherford and it was 38-31.
The Dragons went on a 5-2 run to end the quarter and they trailed 40-36.

A 3-pointer by Luke Thomas with 6:12 to play tied the game at 41 but Adkins made two fouls shots with 5:08 left and then Adkins and Akers hit layups for a 47-41 lead with 4:06 to go.

Palying from behind, Fairland was forced to foul and the Hornets went to the line for 32 attempts in the quarter and converted 20.

Two foul shots by Lucas gave the Hornets a 58-47 lead with 1:04 left but the Dragons got within 62-58 when Thomas made two free throws and Howell got a putback with 14 seconds to play.

Lucas was fouled and made both attempts for a 64-58 lead. After Fairland turnovers and two missed foul shots by the Hornets, Howell hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to set the final score.

Adkins had 24 points and six rebounds for the Hornets. Lucas and McKnight added 11 points each and Akers grabbed seven rebounds.

Howell had 21 points and seven rebounds for Fairland (14-9). Van Horn scored 13 points and Nathan Campbell had 10 rebounds including the 500th of his career.

Tickets for the district tournament are on sale at Coal Grove High School for $6. The school receives 25 percent of the presale.

Coal Grove 15 12 13 24 = 64
Fairland 14 7 15 25 = 61

COAL GROVE (13-10): Travis Carey 4 0 0-2 8, Jordan Lucas 1 1 6-8 11, Chase McKnight 1 0 9-12 11, Brandon Adkins 8 0 8-10 24, Joe Akers 1 1 0-0 5, Daniel Rutherford 2 0 1-8 5, Cole Gannon 0 0 0-0 0, Isaac Fields 0 0 0-0 0, Dalton Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Sam Angelo 0 0 0-2 0, Jeb Jones 0 0 0-0 0, Jacob Myers 0 0 0-0 0. Totals 19-38 24-42 64. 3-point goals: 2-11. Rebounds: 6-off. 22-def. = 28 (Akers 7, Adkins 6). Team rebounds: 3. Assists: 6 McKnight 4). Steals: 5 (McKnight 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: Carey (4th 0:17), Akers (4th 0:59).

FAIRLAND (14-9): Chance Short 2 0 4-6 8, Isaiah Howell 4 2 7-11 21, Nathan Campbell 1 0 2-2 4, Tyler Campbell 1 00-0 2, Kollin Van Horn 5 0 3-3 13, Gunner Short 0 0 0-0 0, Ty Staten 1 0 0-0 2, Luke Thomas 0 2 2-3 8, Hayden James 0 0 0-0 0, Hunter Ashton 1 0 1-2 3. Totals: 19-54 19-27 61. 3-point goals: 4-17. Rebounds: 14-off. 22-def. = 36 (N. Campbell 10, Howell 7). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 4 (Howell 2). Steals: 6 (Howell 2). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 27. Fouled out: C. Short (4th 1:31), N. Campbell (4th 0:55).