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Pointers flow past Pirates to win D3 sectional

South Point Pointers’ Jared Whitt (left) and Wheelersburg Pirates’ Kaden Coleman (right) battle for a loose ball during Saturday’s Division III sectional championship game. The Pointers beat the Pirates 70-63 and will play Sunday in the district tournament at Athens. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

South Point Pointers’ Jared Whitt (left) and Wheelersburg Pirates’ Kaden Coleman (right) battle for a loose ball during Saturday’s Division III sectional championship game. The Pointers beat the Pirates 70-63 and will play Sunday in the district tournament at Athens. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Josh Morrison

JACKSON — If there was ever an example of a microcosm for the South Point Pointers, that would be the Division III sectional championship that saw many ebbs and flows just like their season.
In the end, the “flow” was apparent with the Pointers claiming the sectional championship with a 70-63 win over the Wheelersburg Pirates.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our kids for the way they battled tonight,” South Point head coach Travis Wise said.
“We have had some ups and downs throughout the season, but to see the hard work this team has put in all week to prepare for this game and play like we did tonight, I am so happy for our team.”
In what was a back and forth battle, South Point (13-8) trailed 47-44 after three quarters, but outscored the Pirates 26-16 in the final frame. South Point’s senior guard Elijah Adams hit two 3’s and went 3-of-4 from the free throw line to score nine of his 18 total points in the fourth.
“This is a great win for us, being able to stay poised, make our free-throws and now move on is unbelievable,” Adams said. “On to the next one.”
Sophomore guard Tayshawn Fox was 6-of-6 at the line and junior Jared Whitt added five points to help the Pointers pull away.
Wheelersburg (14-6) led 60-59 with 1:34 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Pointers showed poise on offense and took the lead for good with an Adams’ triple and played solid defense forcing three straight Pirate turnovers.
Fox, Adams and senior Logan Wade combined for 8-of-9 from the line down the stretch.
Those ebbs and flows started before any time ran off the clock when South Point was assessed a technical foul in the pre-game and faced a one-point deficit after Wheelersburg’s Kaden Coleman hit one of two free throws.
Tanner Holden added a bucket on the alternating possession for the Pirates but Cody Runyon canned a 3-pointer to tie the score 3-3 within the first minute of the game to set up what would be a see-saw game until the final minute.
The Pirates led 12-8 after the first quarter with Coleman scoring seven of his game-high 27 points. He was 13-of-19 from the free throw line.
The Pointers clawed back to take a five-point lead with 3:14 to go in the first half on a up-and-under layup by Fox, but the Pirates did the same with Coleman being fouled and hit both free throws to make the score 25-23 in favor of South Point.
In the third quarter, both teams found their rhythm with the Pirates outscoring South Point 24-19. Cole Lowery hit 3-of-4 from behind the arc in the third, Coleman added nine points and Holden four.
Lowery finished the game with 15 points, all on 3-point goals.
South Point kept pace with Whitt hitting two 3’s and scoring eight of his 13 points in the third. Fox added another eight to set up the final period.
“It is my job to get our shooters involved and be a pass-first player and only look to score when my team needs me to,” Fox said. “Elijah and Jared hit big 3’s, we hit free throws when we needed them and our defense was good taking a bunch of charges.”
South Point moves on to the district semi-finals next Sunday at 3:45 p.m. at Ohio University’s Convocation Center against fellow OVC team Portsmouth who defeated North Adams 50-43 Saturday.
South Point    8    17    19    26    =    70
Wheelersburg    12    11    24    16    =    63
SOUTH POINT (13-8): Elijah Adams 3 2 6-8 18, Tayshawn Fox 3 0 12-12 18, Jared Whitt 2 3 0-0 13, Logan Wade 3 0 2-2 8, Cody Runyon 0 2 0-0 6, Cade Brandt 2 0 0-0 4, Douglas Shaffer 0 1 0-0 3, Dustin McCarty 0 0 0-0 0, Caleb Eplion 0 0 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 20-22 70. 3-point goals: 8-19. Fouls: 18. Fouled Out: None.
WHEELERSBURG (14-6): Kaden Coleman 4 2 13-19 27, Tanner Holden 6 0 4-4 16, Cole Lowery 0 5 0-0 15, Mack Dyer 1 0 1-2 3, Tanner Bivens 1 0 0-0 2, Keaton Newseom 0 0 0-2 0, Trent Salyers 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-40 18-27 63. 3-point goals: 7-20. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: Lowery (4th 1:09).

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