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Coal Grove does damage in district tourney win

Coal Grove Hornets’ guard Jaylen McKenzie (with ball) is fouled as he tries to go up strong inside during Sunday’s Division IV district semifinal game. Coal Grove rolled past the Miller Falcons 66-48 to reach the district finals at noon on Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ATHENS — If you’re going to do damage to the Coal Grove Hornets, you have to do it in the first half.
The damage the Miller Falcons did early on Sunday was nothing more than a fender bender.
Miller had a two-point lead after the first quarter and the Hornets erased that by halftime, then did heavy damage in the second half as they beat the Falcons 66-48 in the Division IV district semifinals at the Ohio University Convocation Center.
“If we could ever put two halves together,” said Hornets’ coach Kevin Vanderhoof with a grin. “Our last two second halves we’ve had 25-point quarters. We scored almost as many points in one quarter as we did in the entire first half.”
Coal Grove trailed 12-10 after the first quarter due on part to four turnovers and 4-of-12 shooting.
Miller tied the game at 17 with 5:02 left in the half on a layup by Seattle Compston, but Cory Borders hit a 3-poitner at the 4:15 mark and Coal Grove had the lead for good.
With time running out in the half, Miller was holding for the final shot when the ball rolled across halftcourt.
Sam Angelo bolted after the ball, outhustled a Miller player to the ball, scooped it up and scored and Coal Grove led 26-22 at the half.
“The game plan was to get out and run because I didn’t think their two big boys could get out and run the floor with us. When we got out and ran we outran ourselves. We turned the ball over two or three times,” said Vanderhoof.
“We had some uncharacteristic turnovers and mistakes, but I thought once we settled down we played much better defense in the second half, took care of the ball and finished around the rim. We shared the ball really well and we kept them off the boards.”
The Hornets’ defense continued to clamp down on the Falcons who were just 3-of-14 from the field in the third quarter and 4-of-18 in the fourth.
Borders hit a 3-pointer and then turned a steal into a layup to begin the second half and it was 31-22. Back-to-back layups by Jeb Jones extended the lead to 35-25 with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
“I think we were all just really excited to play. The atmosphere of everything and the hype of getting to play. We were just really energizing. Coach talked about settling our energy down and make sure we’re right where we’re supposed to be and the tempo we want,” Jones said of the difference of play in each half.
“I think it was just the settling in. Coach said now we’ve played our first half, and now it’s time to settle in and play. All my teammates were really good and we’re just excited to win.”
Three foul shots plus a layup by Aaron Music put the Hornets up 42-30. Drew Starlin’s foul shot for Miller made it 42-31 at the end of the quarter.
A three-point play by Jordan Case and a layup by Angelo made it 47-33. Jones had a layup and a foul shot for a 52-36 lead.
A trey by Music and a layup by Jalen McKenzie made it 57-41 with 2:30 to go. Another trifecta by Borders with 1:24 to play opened up an insurmountable 64-46 lead.
Music scored 20 points to go with six rebounds and five assists for the Hornets (18-5). Borders hit four 3-pointers and scored 16 points while Jones had 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.
“My teammates give me the ball and I do what I can. If I’m not open, I kick it back out to them. Everybody just gave it their all,” said Jones.
Miller (14-9) was led by Compston with 18 points and Carson Starlin had 11 points. Alec Eveland had nine points and nine rebounds.
Coal Grove will play South Webster at noon on Saturday in the district finals at the Convocation Center. The Hornets will be seeking only the second district title in the program’s history.
“We’ve only won two games in the district before this. That’s a big monkey off our back. We’re going to come back and play for something that’s only been done once in the history of our school,” said Vanderhoof.
Miller       12    10    9    17    =    48
Coal Grove    10    16    16    24    =    66
CORNING MILLER (14-9): Alec Eveland 2-9 5-7 9, Drew Sarlin 1-2 1-2 3, Collin Pargeon 0-1 0-0 0, Seattle Compston 5-12 6-6 18, Carson Starlin 4-16 2-3 11, Colby Bartleytt 3-9 0-1 7, Blayton Cox 0-2 0-0 0, Steven Winslow 0-1 0-0 0, Michael Spence 0-0 0-0 0, Levi Ban Bibber 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-52 14-19 48. 3-pt goals: 4-25 (Eveland 0-4, D. Starlin 0-1, Compston 2-7, Carson Starlin 1-10, Cox 0-1, Barlett 0-1, Winslow 0-1). Rebounds: 12-O, 13-D =25 (Eveland 9). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 6 (C. Starlin 2, Eveland 2). Steals: 5 (C. Starlin 3). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.
COAL GROVE (18-5): Aaron Music 7-11 5-6 20, Cory Borders 6-11 0-0 16, Jordan Case 1-1 1-1 3, Jeb Jones 6-7 1-4 13, Sam Angelo 3-7 0-0 7, Nate Harmon 0-2 1-2 1, Jaylen McKenzie 2-4 1-4 5, Alijah Roman 0-2 0-0 0, Trevor Carey 0-0 0-0 0, Tait Matney 0-0 0-0 0, Evan Gannon 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Damian Jiles 0-0 1-2 1, Dalton Byrne 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 25-47 10-19 66. 3-pt goals: 6-13 (Music 1-1, Borders 4-6, Angelo 1-3, Roman 0-1, Gannon 0-1 Byrne 0-1). Assists: 8 (Music 5). Steals:  9 (Borders 4, Jones 2, Music 2). Turnovers: 14. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: Case (4th 6:49).