COAL GROVE, Ohio — A blocked shot by Jarren Hicks as time expired preserved a 62-60 Ohio Valley Conference boys basketball win for Coal Grove against Portsmouth on Tuesday on the Hornets’ home floor.
The win came with Coal Grove twice trailing the Trojans by eight points, including with 2:08 to play in the third quarter after Portsmouth’s Miles Shipp put in two of his 18 points.
Coal Grove (5-3 overall, 3-2 OVC) followed up Shipp’s field goal with a 6-0 run to close out the third quarter to pull within 49-47.
Trevor Hankins sank the front end of two free throws to put Coal Grove ahead 62-60, but his missed second shot was rebounded by Portsmouth.
Trojans head coach Gene Collins called a timeout to set up a potential game-winning final play. Meanwhile, Coal Grove head coach Kevin Vanderhoof used that time to set his defense.
“I told them as soon as they dribbled the ball past half-court, I wanted them to foul, because we only had five team fouls,” Vanderhoof said. “They’d have less time. Of course, we didn’t foul.”
Instead, Drew Roe dribbled along the right sideline and then inside the 3-point line for a baseline jumper that would have tied the score. What Roe found was Hicks’ outstretched hand.
“(Roe) drove it up to where I had Shipp, and somebody got mismatched,” said Hicks, a junior. “I figured he couldn’t have an open shot, so I blocked it.”
Vanderhoof said the come-from-behind win was refreshing for a team that had blown leads against both Chesapeake and South Point, the latter costing his team a win.
The win over Portsmouth (5-3, 3-3) seemed in doubt with the Trojans using an 8-0 run to open the second quarter to build a 26-18 lead. With full-court pressure, the Trojans were able to force Coal Grove into turnovers and difficult shots.
Along with his 18 points, Shipp grabbed 10 rebounds to deny Coal Grove second-chance baskets while helping his own team on the offensive end with putbacks.
The Hornets never backed down.
“When we got up eight, we took some tough shots, some rushed shots that we missed that allowed them to get back in the game,” Collins said. “We need to take care of the ball a little better.”
Portsmouth held a 32-27 halftime lead. It held a 47-39 lead with 2:08 to play in the third when Tait Matney led the Coal Grove charge with six straight points.
Braxton Horn’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter gave the Hornets its first lead since an 18-16 edge with 1:05 to play in the opening period.
Coal Grove built a four-point lead on two foul shots by Malachi Wheeler for a 61-57 lead with 30 seconds to go. Wheeler ended the game as the Hornets’ leading scorer with 14 points.
Portsmouth’s Donovan Carr put his team in position to take the lead back with 21 seconds left when he was fouled while scoring in the paint. Carr’s ensuing foul shot cut the lead to 61-60 for the Hornets.
PORTSMOUTH 18 14 17 11 — 60: Johnson 2, Bryant 10, Duff 19, Carr 11, Shipp 18.
COAL GROVE 18 9 20 15 — 62: Wheeler 14, Hicks 9, Hankins 13, Matney 11, Horn 5, Kingery 10