Pointers beat Green Devils to reach regional title game

Published 11:58 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

South Point Pointers’ Caleb Lovely (0) goes above the North Adams defense to score during a 57-44 win over the Green Devils on Wednesday in the Division 3 regional semifinals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)


South Point Pointers’ Xathan Haney (right) gets off a shot despite tight defense by a North Adams player during Wednesday’s Division 3 regional semi-final game. The Pointers won 57-44. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)


South Point Pointers’ Jaxon Vance (22) goes after a loose ball during Wednesday’s Division 3 regional semi-final game against North Adams. The Pointers beat the Green Devils 57-44 and play in the regional championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday against Columbus Africentric (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)


South Point Pointers’ Jackson Childers (50) battles North Adams Green Devils’ Kamden Buttelwerth (11) for rebounding position during Wednesday’s Division 3 regional semi-final game. South Point won 57-44. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker


ATHENS — The two biggest keys to winning big games in basketball tournaments: free throws and rebounding.

South Point owned both those keys and used them to unlock the winning combination of the game on Wednesday as the Pointers beat the North Adams Green Devils 57-44 to reach the Elite Eight in the Division 3 regional tournament.

South Point (22-4) will face Columbus Africentric at 1 p.m. on Saturday at The Ohio University Convocation Center for the regional championship and a berth in the state tournament Final Four. This is only the Pointers second regional tournament appearance with the other coming in 1990.

Africentric (22-5) escaped with a 49-47 win over Sugarcreek Garaway in the first game.

The Pointers dominated the boards as they out rebounded North Adams 40-23 including a lopsided 18-8 on the offensive glass.

South Point also converted 16-of-18 free throws for 89 percent including 12-of-14 in the fourth quarter after the game was tied 30-all after three quarters.

“We had different people tonight. Zander hit a couple, Carter hit a couple. It was a team effort tonight,” Pointers’ coach Travis Wise said of the team’s foul shooting.

Usually a good foul shooting team, North Adams (21-5) was only 10-of-18 at the line and just 4-of-11 in the final stanza.

It was the second straight game the Pointers trailed at halftime and rallied in the second half to win. South Point trailed Zane Trace 24-21 at the half in the district finals and won 64-57.

Caleb Lovely led the comeback as he scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half. Jordan Ermalovich had 12 points and Xathan Haney 11 points in the win.

North Adams’ Bransyn Copas led all scorers with 23 points but only 9 in the second half. Jayce Rothwell added 11 points.

“We just locked (Copas) down and he struggled to get where he wanted to go,” said Wise.

South Point went up 5-0 to start the game on a 3-pointer by Haney and a 15-footer by Lovely. North Adams responded with a 7-0 run.

Xander Dornon’s layup for the Pointers tied the game but a cutback by Kamden Buttelwerth gave the Green Devils a 12-9 lead. Jackson Childers layup just before the buzzer got the Pointers within 12-11.

Ermalovich got a steal and turned it into a layup but Copas scored as the lead changed hands again. Haney sank two free throws and the Pointers led 15-14 but Copas hit back-to-back 3-pointers including a leaner at the buzzer as North Adams led 20-15 at the break.

“The first half we jumped on them early and we did a couple of little things to let them back in it and then they hit a three right before half again,” said Wise.

Copas came up with a steal and was fouled making a layup. He sank the free throw and ten Carson Osborne hit a 3-pointer as North Adams took its biggest lead of the game at 28-22.

But Lovely made a layup, Haney got a steal and layup and then Haney got another steal and fed Ermalovich for a layup to tie the game.

Rothwell followed up his own missed shot but Emalovich sank two free throws with two seconds on the clock and it was 30-all at the end of the third quarter.

Ermalovich came up with a steal to start the fourth quarter and scored as South Point took the lead for good. Lovely followed with a long 3-pointer and it was 35-30.

A layup by Ermalovich with 3:11 left opened up a 41-33 lead a free throw by Dornon gave the Pointers a 45-35 advantage.

Lovely sank two technical foul shots and Ermalovich made two more as the lead went to 55-42.

“It was tied going into the fourth and we just found a way to win,” said Wise. “Caleb is going to get his points and Copas is going to get his. We talked about who’s going to be the other guy to step up. Jordan stepped up. Haney stepped up.”

Rothwell made a layup but Lovely answered with his own shot inside to make it 57-44 and seal the Green Devils fate.

North Adams 12 8 10 14 = 44

South Point 11 4 15 27 = 57

NORTH ADAMS (21-5): Jayce Rothwell 3 1 2-7 11, Cody Hesler 1 0 0-0 2, Bransyn Copas 5 2 7-9 23, Carson Osborne 1 1 0-0 5, Dillon Ragan 0 0 0-0 0, Brestin Schweickart 0 0 1-2 1, Kamden Buttelwerth 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 15-41 10-18 44. 3-pt goals: 4-14. Rebounds: 8-O, 15-D = 23 (Rothwell 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Osborne (1:53 4th), Ragan (0:53 4th).

SOUTH POINT (22-4): Caleb Lovely 5 2 4-5 20, Carter Smith 2 0 2-2 6, Xathan Haney 3 1 2-2 11, Jordan Ermalovich 3 0 6-7 12, Xander Dornon 1 0 2-2 4, Jaxon Vance 0 0 0-0 0, Elijah Wilburn 0 0 0-0 0, Josh Childers 1 0 0-0 2, Jackson Childers 1 0 0-0 2, Brayden Hanshaw 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-49 16-18 57. 3-pt goals: 3-10. Rebounds: 18-O, 22-D = 40 (Dornon 8, Lovely 9, Haney 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Turnovers: 8. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.