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Lady Hornets use big 4th quarter to win OVC title again

Coal Grove Lady Hornets’ Kaleigh Murphy scores two of her 11 points in a 44-35 win over the Portsmouth Lady Trojans on Thursday. Coal Grove used the victory to clinch the OVC title outright. (Photo By Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — Ringo Starr sang, “It don’t come easy. You know it don’t come easy.”
The Portsmouth Lady Trojans were making things really difficult for the Coal Grove Lady Hornets on Thursday.
But the Lady Hornets staged a fourth quarter comeback as they rallied past the upset-minded Lady Trojans 44-35 to win the Ohio Valley Conference outright.
Coal Grove is now 16-6 overall and finishes 13-1 in the OVC. It is the second straight league title after sharing the crown with Fairland last season.
Portsmouth (8-13, 3-11) led much of the first three quarters before a scoring spurt to start the fourth quarter propelled the Lady Hornets to the win as the Lady Trojans managed just one point in the quarter.
“It was obvious that we have not been in the gym the last couple of days. We were lazy on defense, had bad passes, turnovers and rushed shots,” said Lady Hornets’ coach Rick Roach.
“We played slow the majority of the game and couldn’t get in any type of rhythm until the beginning of the fourth quarter.”
Portsmouth led late in the first quarter but Kaleigh Murphy’s putback got Coal Grove within 12-10 at the end of the quarter.
A free throw by Hannah Hughes put Portsmouth up 13-10 to start the second quarter.
Murphy answered with a foul shot and it was 13-11 and her putback with 5:12 on the clock tied the game.
Portsmouth regained the lead at 15-13 only to have Abbey Hicks make a 3-pointer with 3:20 left in the half to give Coal Grove a 16-15 lead.
A layup gave Portsmouth a 17-16 lead and then Addi Dillow’s layup with 38 seconds left gave the Lady Hornets an 18-17 lead at the half.
The Lady Trojans Jaiden Rickett hit a triple to go up 20-18 to start the second half. Murphy scored inside to tie the game and a steal and layup put Coal Grove ahead 22-20.
Hughes’ layup gave Portsmouth a 23-22 lead. Rylee Harmon then converted a 3-point play for a 24-23 Coal Grove lead with 4:10 on the clock.
Hughes’ trifecta at the 5:55 mark had Portsmouth up 26-25 and Murphy scored to give Coal Grove a 27-26 lead. Hughes got another layup and Portsmouth was on top 28-27.
Harmon’s putback with 2:25 left in the quarter gave Coal Grove the lead but Ashanti Richardson got a layup off a Hughes’ pass and it was 30-29.
Murphy’s layup gave the Lady Hornets a 31-30 lead. Hughes hit a short jumper with 59 seconds on the clock and a layup with two seconds left put Portsmouth up 34-31.
“Hughes took over in the third quarter and did what she wanted to do. We had kids in foul trouble that allowed her to get to the basket and score,” said Roach.
“Luckily, we were able to get the ball to Murphy and Harmon in the third and they were able to know down shots. Early in the fourth, Dillow and Hicks knocked down big 3’s which helped extend the lead.”
Coal Grove went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter and Dillow’s 3-pointer put the lead at 39-34 with 6:41 to play.
Portsmouth finally scored on a foul shot by Nia Trinidad with 4:50 left and it was 39-35. Harmon’s follow up shot with three minutes left pushed the lead to 41-35 and Coal Grove was never headed.
“We went in safety mode and just protected the last four minutes of the fourth,” said Roach.
Murphy and Dillow scored 11 points each and Hicks had 10 for the Lady Hornets
Hughes scored a game-high 20 points for Portsmouth.
NEXT UP: Coal Grove plays Piketon at 8 p.m. Monday in the sectional tournament at Lucasville Valley.
“We had to address our focus for the first round of the sectional. But we’ll take back-to-back OVC championship for now,” said Roach.
Portsmouth 12 5 17 1 = 35
Coal Grove 10 8 13 13 = 44
PORTSMOUTH (8-13, 3-11): Hannah Hughes 5 3 1-2 20, Ashanti Richardson 1 0 0-0 2, Jaiden Rickett 1 1 0-0 5, Nia Trinidad 0 1 1-2 4, Skilyn Robinson 1 0 2-6 4, Hailey Peterman 0 0 0-0 0, Kymaree Carter 0 0 0-0 0, Bre Wilson 0 0 0-0 0, Gabi Johnson 0 0 0-0 0, Keirston Reed 0 0 0-0 0, Joy Livingston 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-55 4-10 35. 3-pt goals: 5. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Hughes, Richardson.
COAL GROVE (15-6, 12-1): Ellie Holmes 1 0 1-2 3, Addi Dillow 3 1 2-2 11, Caitlin Dillon 1 0 0-0 2, MaKayla Daniels 0 0 0-0 0, Kaleigh Murphy 5 0 1-2 11, Abbey Hicks 2 2 0-0 10, Rylee Harmon 3 0 1-1 7, Jaiden Griffith 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-54 5-7 44. 3-pt goals: 3. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.