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Hornets drop heartbreaker in D4 regionals

Fairland Dragons’ Matt Mondlak (11) gets a hand on the ball as he defends against Fairfield Union’s Colin Woodside (10) during the Division II district finals. Fairland plays Meadowbrook at 8 p.m. on Thursday in the Division II regional semifinals. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ATHENS — Rush hour became rush seconds and the need for speed proved to be the difference.
Trailing 47-46 with 4.9 seconds to play, the Coal Grove Hornets had the ball under the basket 94 feet from their destination.
The play Coal Grove coach Kevin Vanderhoof drew up was the perfect call but with time running out, the Hornets had to rush the shot and Peebles’ Bostin Robinson managed to barely tip the ball on the way up and it bounced straight up off the rim and dropped to the side as time expired.
That split second gave the Peebles Indians the thrilling one-point win over the heartbroken Hornets in the Division IV regional semifinals.
“If you had told me we’d hold them to 47 points, I would have said we would have won. We just couldn’t make a shot,” said Vanderhoof.
The loss ended a story book season for the Hornets who reached the regional tournament for only the second time in school history and left them one shy of the school record for wins.
Seniors Jeb Jones and Sam Angelo turned in strong performances in their final game for the Hornets. Jones had 16 points — 10 in the second half — and Angelo scored 14.
Peebles (21-5) was led by Tanner Arey with 18 points — 16 in the second half after sitting out much of the first half in foul trouble.
Robinson scored all 12 of his points in the first half.
Coal Grove (19-6) fell behind 27-15 to begin the second half and had the lead just one. Jones made two foul shots with 1:36 to play that put the Hornets up 46-44.
Arey sank two free throws with 1:22 left to tie the game but the Hornets turned the ball over on their next possession allowing Peebles to run down the clock and play for a final shot.
Arey drove to the basket and was fouled with 4.9 seconds left. He missed the first free throw but made the second for a 47-46 lead. Each team called a time out before the final play was inbounded.
Peebles took an early 12-5 lead but a putback by Jones made it 12-7. Blake Hawes made two foul shots and a layup to end the quarter and it was 16-7.
A 3-pointer by Robinson gave Peebles a 21-9 lead. A putback by Nate Harmon got the Hornets within 25-15 at the half.
“We got down and never gave up. We fought and clawed and we found a way to get back in the game. We defended them well. I’m proud of the kids,” said Vanderhoof.
A baby hook shot by Angelo and a basket by Aaron Music cut the deficit to 29-25. Arey then got hot with two foul shots, a jumper and a 3-pointer for a 36-25 lead. Coal Grove’s Jalen McKenzie hit a 10-footer closed the gap to 36-27 at the end of the quarter.
Coal Grove then began its comeback in the fourth quarter.
Down 42-34, McKenzie had a foul shot, Angelo a putback, and Jones and Angelo had layups to make it 42-41.
A trifecta by Angelo tied the game at 44 and then Jones made his two free throws to give Coal Grove its only lead and set up the hectic finish.
Peebles will now play Berlin Hiland who routed Lancaster Fairfield Christian 64-23 in Tuesday’s other semifinal game.
The championship game will be at 7 p.m. on Friday with the winner advancing to the state tournament at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, March 22.
Coal Grove    7    8    12    19    =    47
Peebles       17    9    11    11    =    47
COAL GROVE (19-6): Aaron Music 4 0 1-2 9, Cory Borders 0 0 0-0 0, Jordan Case 0 0 0-0 0, Jeb Jones 7 0 2-2 16, Sam Angelo 5 1 1-2 14, Jalen McKenzie 2 0 1-2 5, Alijah Roman 0 0 0-0 0, Nate Harmon 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 19-48 5-8 46. 3-pt goals: 1-15. Rebounds: 10-O, 13-D = 23 (Jones 10, Music 6, Angelo 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 4 (McKenzie 3). Steals: 7 (Music 3, Angelo 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 22. Fouled out: Music (4th 0:50).
PEEBLES (21-5): Conner Browning 0 0 0-0 0, Tanner Arey 4 1 7-10 18, Bostin Robinson 3 2 0-0 12, Blake Hawes 1 0 0-2 6, Weston Browning 1 0 5-7 7, Wade Shively 0 0 0-0 0, Blake Smalley 2 0 2-2 6, Colten Ball 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 12 3 14-21 47. 3-pt goals: 3-7. Rebounds: 9-O, 17-D = 26 (Robinson 6, Hawes 6, W. Browning 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 1. Assists: 4 (Arey 3). Steals: 2 (Robinson 2). Turnovers: 11. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.