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South Point pulls away to beat Wellston, 59-46

South Point Pointers’ Elijah Adams drives for a layup as he scores two of his game-high 20 points in a 59-46 win over Wellston on Wednesday in the Div. III sectional tournament. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

South Point Pointers’ Elijah Adams drives for a layup as he scores two of his game-high 20 points in a 59-46 win over Wellston on Wednesday in the Div. III sectional tournament. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

JACKSON — The Wellston Golden Rockets kept hanging around until the South Point Pointers finally pushed them out of the way.
The Pointers kept squandering double-digit leads before hitting a scoring surge in the fourth quarter en route to a 59-46 win over Wellston in the Division III sectional tournament semifinals on Wednesday.
“Wellston plays hard. We had a chance to put them away in the second quarter and we let them hang around. We went in nine (at the half) and came out flat in the third quarter and let them stay around,” said Pointers’ coach Travis Wise.
The Pointers saw a 13-point first half lead shrink to nine at the half and then four to begin the fourth quarter before taking charge again and getting the win.
South Point (14-9) will now play Wheelersburg at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday in the sectional finals. Wise knows his team must elevate its performance against the Pirates.
“Our effort was there. That wasn’t our best game. Hopefully we’ll come out a little bit better Saturday. We’re going to have to. Wheelersburg’s not bad,” said Wise.
“We’ll take the first win here and see if we can get another.”
Elijah Adams led the Pointers with a game-high 20 points including three 3-pointers. Tayshaun Fox added 14 points and six rebounds, Douglas Shaffer and Jared Whitt scored nine each, Cody Runyon had six rebounds and Logan Wade grabbed five despite being in foul trouble.
“It was good to get some shots in. Elijah played pretty well. That’s good for him confidence-wise,” said Wise.
Matt Simpson had 14 points and seven rebounds, Noah Henry 13 points and eight rebounds and Hunter Whalen added 10 points for Wellston (5-18).
The lead changed hands four times in the first quarter before a steal and layup by Fox gave the Pointers the lead for good at 10-7. Fox’s two foul shots put the Pointers up 12-9 at the end of the quarter.
Adams hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter that helped extend the lead to 25-12 with 3:44 left in the half.
But a steal and layup by Daivon Newell and a layup by Simpson cut the spread to 29-20 at the half.
A free throw by Wade and short jumper by Fox put the Pointers ahead 32-22 at the 4:40 mark, but Henry’s put-back and a 3-pointer just before the buzzer got Wellston within 37-31.
Henry’s layup cut the margin to 37-33 with 6:30 to play before Adams hit a 15-footer.
Adams had a steal and layup that made it 43-35 with 3:38 to play. Wellston was called for a pushing foul on Whitt trailing Adams. Another player was whistled for a technical foul and the Pointers made all four foul shots — two by Whitt and two by Shaffer — and it was suddenly 47-35.
Newell and Henry scored but Fox made two foul shots and Whitt hit a layup and it was 52-39 with just 2:11 to go.
A 3-pointer by Henry cut the spread to 54-46 before Fox and Whitt each made two free throws to seal the win.
“We got a couple of shots and a couple of turnovers that got us to a double-digit lead. They cut it to four with about six minutes in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t put them away. We couldn’t do the right things. With four minutes to go we tried to run some offense and we turn it over. But it was a good win for us,” said Wise.
The Pointers were 15-of-17 from the foul line for the game including 12-of-13 in the fourth quarter. They were 20-of-49 from the field.
Wellston    9    11    11    15    =    46
South Point    12    17    8    22    =    59
WELLSTON (5-18): Hunter Whalen 1 2 2-2 10, Daivon Newell 2 0 2-2 6, Michael Graham 0 1 0-0 3, Noah Henry 5 1 0-0 13, Matt Simpson 4 0 6-8 14, Decota McKenzie 0 0 0-0 0, Eddie Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Brice Robinson 0 0 0-0 0, Gavin Arbaugh 0 0 0-0 0, Nick Heil 0 0 0-0 0, Austin Sharp 0 0 0-0 0, Rylan Molihan 0 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Warnock 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44 10-12 46. 3-point goals: 4-11. Rebounds: 11-O, 18-D = 29 *Henry 8, Simpson 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 5 (Simpson 2). Steals: 3. Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: Newell (4th 2:35), McKenzie (4th 0:21).
SOUTH POINT (14-9): Jared Whitt 2 0 5-5 9, Tayshaun Fox 4 0 6-6 14, Elijah Adams 5 3 1-2 20, Cody Runyon 0 0 0-0 0, Logan Wade 1 0 1-2 3, Douglas Shaffer 2 1 2-2 9, Cade Brandt 1 0 0-0 2, Caleb Eplion 1 0 0-0 2, Dustin McCarty 0 0 0-0 0, Max Tabor 0 0 0-0 0, Marcus Malone 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathon Henline 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-49 15-17 59. 3-point goals: 4-16. Rebounds: 11-O, 17-D = 28 (Runyon 6, Fox 6, Wade 5). Teams/deadball rebounds: 5. Assists: 3. Steals: 11 (Whitt 3, Fox 2, Adams 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.