Portsmouth Trojans Basketball 2019-2020

Ohio Valley Conference standings as of 1/6/2020:

1. Fairland....................4-0
2. Chesapeake............4-0
3(tie) Ironton...............2-2
3.(tie)Coal Grove.......2-2
3.(tie)South Point......2-2
6.(tie) Portsmouth.....1-3
6.(tie) Gallia Acad......1-3
8. Rock Hill....................0-4

Chesapeake plays at Fairland this week to determine who's on top all alone in the OVC. Chesapeake came back from 20 points down on Saturday to win at Ironton. Portsmouth plays at Gallia Academy tomorrow night. Blue Devils have beaten the Trojans 6 consecutive times, but trail the overall series 41-16.
 
Portsmouth ended a 6 game losing streak vs. Gallia Academy with a 55-41 win at GAHS on Tuesday night. The Trojans trailed 6-0 at the outset, but outscored the Blue Devils 55-35 the rest of the way. The Trojans' full court press caused 20+ turnovers and sub 35% shooting by GAHS. Matthew Fraulini scored 18 points in the 2nd half after being shutout in the first 16 minutes. Fraulini is now only 49 points shy of 1,000. PHS is now 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the OVC. Portsmouth now leads the series with GAHS 42-16.

Portsmouth started 3 sophomores, and 2 other sophomores got meaningful minutes. PHS started out 1-4, but have won 4 of their last 6 games.

Coach Eugene Collins picked up win #168 (168-86 overall) and is now tied with Red Hopkins as the 2nd winningest coach in PHS history. He will have the opportunity to pass Hopkins on Friday night when Portsmouth travels to Ironton to battle the Fighting Tigers for the 161st time. PHS leads the series 92-68.
 
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Portsmouth lost a heartbreaker at Ironton yesterday 62-61. It was the 161st meeting between the 2 schools, with PHS still leading 92-69. Ironton led 20-14 after the first quarter, but after that the Trojans led at the half, at the end of 3, and all the way until 24 seconds left in the contest when the Fighting Tigers' Reid Carrico scored the game winning bucket. Portsmouth had a possession to win the game but turned the ball over at the buzzer. PHS fell to 5-7 on the season and 2-4 in the OVC. The Trojans suffered their 3rd close loss on the road, with an OT loss at South Point, a 3 point loss at the KSA tourney in Florida, and last night's 1 pointer to Ironton. PHS could very well be 8-4 instead of 5-7.

Junior Miles Shipp scored 27 points for the Trojans, while sophomore Donovan Carr pitched in 12. PHS started 3 sophomores and played 2 others, while Ironton had a big edge in experience, with Jordan Grizzle, Trent Milleson, and Gage Salyers being all seniors who combined for 42 of Ironton's points.

Portsmouth has definitely improved since the start of the season, and after last night's nailbiter vs. a very good Ironton team, I have confidence that the Trojans could be very pesky for a favored team in the tournament.
 
Portsmouth defeated a scrappy Coal Grove Hornets team 72-61 at PHS on Tuesday night. PHS improved to 6-7 overall and 3-4 in the OVC. Matthew Fraulini scored 23 points, and 3 sophomores had double figures........Amare Johnson, Drew Roe, and Donovan Carr. The win was a special one for Coach Eugene Collins, who is now the 2nd winningest coach in PHS history, with a career record of 169-87 after last night's win. He came into the game tied with Richard "Red" Hopkins (168-58, 1926-1936). Collins' 11 year tenure as head coach is tied with Red Hopkins for the 2nd longest in school history, topped only by George Heller, who went 224-137 from 1952-1968, with a Class AA state title in 1961. Collins has also coached four 1,000 point scorers, and Fraulini is getting very close to being the 5th, being only 19 points unofficially away from making that milestone.

Portsmouth has a home game with South Point on Friday. The Pointers beat the Trojans in OT at SP in December 82-75.
 
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After double checking his scoring totals, Matthew Fraulini is now 65 points short of 1,000. It was previously thought that he only needed 19 points, but that figure was incorrect.
 
Updated Ohio Valley Conference standings as of 1/16:

1. Fairland.......................7-0
2. Chesapeake..............6-1
3. (tie) Ironton..............4-3
3. (tie) South Point.....4-3
5. Portsmouth..............3-4
6. (tie) Coal Grove......2-5
6. (tie) Gallia Acad.....2-5
8. Rock Hill....................0-7

Portsmouth finished 7th last season with a 3-11 conference mark. The Trojans can move into a tie for 4th with a win over South Point on Friday.
 
Portsmouth lost another heartbreaker as the South Point Pointers hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer to down PHS 64-61 at PHS. Chance Gunther made the winning shot for SP. The Trojans trailed 41-27 late in the 2nd quarter, and 41-31 at the half, but rallied to take a 50-47 lead, only to have SP make a rally of their own to lead 61-55. PHS fought back to tie the game at 61 before Gunther's winning shot as the buzzer sounded. Sophomores Donovan Carr and Daryionne Bryant led PHS with 18 and 12 points respectively.

Portsmouth is now 6-8 on the season, and 3-5 in OVC play. The Trojans have lost 3 games at the buzzer, and 1 other game in OT to South Point. PHS could be 9-5 or 10-4, but just haven't been able to make the big stop or clutch shot in the close games. Matthew Fraulini scored only 4 points, and is now 56 point short of 1,000.

Portsmouth travels to Wheelersburg today to face a much taller Pirate team. PHS leads the series 23-19, but WHS has won the last 2. The Trojans have a really tough week ahead as they go on the road to Chesapeake and Fairland, two teams that handed Portsmouth lopsided losses in early December.
 
Portsmouth fell behind 9-0 vs. Wheelersburg and never rallied, as the Pirates routed PHS 69-32 at WHS. The Trojans lackluster effort dropped them to 6-9 overall. WHS inched closer in the series as PHS still leads 23-20, but the Pirates have won the last 3. Matthew Fraulini scored 8 points and is now only 48 points shy of 1,000.

The Trojans have a rugged week ahead with road games tonight at Chesapeake and at Fairland on Friday. The Panthers blasted the Trojans 80-37 at PHS in early December, and just a few days later the Dragons (FHS) routed Portsmouth 72-42.
 
Portsmouth suffered yet another OVC embarrasing loss as the homestanding Chesapeake Panthers rolled the Trojans 71-43. Chesapeake started the game on a 15-2 run, and the Trojans never mounted even a mild rally. PHS is now 3-6 in OVC play, and 6-10 overall. Matthew Fraulini scored 21 points and is now only 27 points shy of 1,000. Things don't get any easier for the Trojans as they travel to Fairland to take on the 15-1 Dragons who have won the OVC 4 years in a row and are looking good to make it 5.
 
How bad has it been for Portsmouth in OVC play the last several years? Here's a summary:

Fairland..................have lost 9 straight to the Dragons, including the last 2 by 30 points
Chesapeake.........have lost the last 4, including 3 of those by at least 28 points
Ironton...................have lost 3 in a row
Coal Grove...........have lost 5 of the last 7, but did win @PHS 72-61 this season
South Point..........have lost 3 in a row, including getting swept this season
Gallia Academy..won @GAHS earlier in January 55-41, breaking a 6 game losing streak
Rock Hill................have won 3 in a row, and have a game @PHS next week
 
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Portsmouth took the 16-1 Fairland Dragons to OT before falling 75-73. The loss dropped PHS to 6-11 overall and 3-7 in the OVC. It was the closest that anybody in the OVC has come to beating FHS on their home court in the 5 years they have ruled the conference. Coach Collins employed a zone defense for the majority of the game, which was the first time all year that he decided to do that. That zone kept PHS in the game with a chance to win. Before last night, Portsmouth was primarily a full court or 3/4 court pressing team and opponents were going though it with uncontested layups.

Matthew Fraulini scored 26 points, and is now 1 point short of 1,000. Sophomore Jesse Dixon got a starting spot and responded with 16 points. The Trojans have been wildly inconsistent this season, losing by 43, 37, 30, and 28, while losing 6 others by 5, 2 in OT, 3 twice, and 1. 4 of those 6 were on the road, and 4 of them came down to the last play of the game. As bad as Portsmouth has played at times, they could also have 10 wins instead of 6. Starting 3 sophomores and playing 2 others in every game is in part why PHS can't seem to get that elusive consistency.

Portsmouth plays at home vs. Rock Hill on Tuesday. Barring a miracle of some sort, Fraulini should get to that 1,000 point mark early. He scored a school record 46 points in a win vs. RH last season.
 
Portsmouth upped its record to 7-11 overall and 4-7 in OVC play with a 76-55 win over Rock Hill @PHS. Matthew Fraulini became the 9th player in PHS history to score 1,000 points, as he tallied 19 and now has 1,018 for his career. Chris Duff added 14 off the bench. The Trojans will entertain Gallia Academy on Friday, with the Blue Devils coming off a 55-47 upset win over the Fairland Dragons. PHS won @Gallia Academy earlier in January 55-41.
 
After doing research on Portsmouth's Patrick Tubbs, outstanding PG from 1986-1988, I found that he is now a member of the coveted 1,000 point club at PHS. Tubbs started 3 years on the varsity and scored a total of 1,297 points, 41 more than another Trojan great, Jeff Lisath. Patrick is now the 5th leading scorer in Trojan history, and trails his brother, Craig, by 188 points. Craig Tubbs is the 2nd leading scorer in PHS history with 1,485 points. Lisath now ranks as the 6th leading scorer, while newcomer Matthew Fraulini, who joined the 1,000 club on Tuesday, comes in 10th with 1,018 points. Kyre Allison (2016) is the all time scoring leader with 1,688 points.
 
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Portsmouth improved to 8-11 overall and 5-7 in the OVC with a 70-56 win over Gallia Academy on Monday night at PHS. This game was originally scheduled for last Friday, but Gallia County schools were closed due to the flu outbreak. Matthew Fraulini scored 27 points to lead PHS, while Chris Duff and Jesse Dixon combined for a half dozen 3's, to go along with Fraulini's half dozen trifectas. PHS is now in 5th place in the OVC, and will entertain Ironton Friday. The Trojans lost 62-61 at Ironton earlier, as Portsmouth lost a 10 point lead with 4 minutes to play. PHS and IHS will meet for the 162nd time, with Portsmouth leading the series 92-69. Ironton is currently 4th in the OVC with a 7-5 mark.
 
Matthew Fraulini's 27 points vs. Gallia Academy now puts him at 1,045 points, 12 behind the 9th place all time scorer in PHS history, Damond Mannon.
 
Another Trojan has joined the 1,000 point club at Portsmouth HS. Phil Whitehead, who played from 1988-1991, scored 1,027 points for his career. Researching his career, Whitehead needed 329 points his final season to pass the coveted mark. He had a high game of 30 vs. Boyd County KY. Whitehead played on the 1988 D2 state championship team and the 1990 D2 state runnerup squad. In his final year, 1991, the Trojans reached the regional finals before losing to Columbus Briggs 70-69.
 
Portsmouth's 70-56 win over Gallia Academy on Monday gave the Trojans a 43-16 lead in the all time series. Gallia had won 6 in a row until this season, when PHS's most recent win completed a sweep of the Blue Devils for the first time since 2016.
 
Portsmouth will play at home vs. Ironton on Wednesday, then close the OVC schedule with a road game at Coal Grove. PHS is currently in 5th in the OVC with a 5-7 record, and could end up 7-7 with 2 wins and possibly a 4th place finish. The Trojans finished a dismal 7th last season. The game at Minford, which was scheduled for last Saturday, has been cancelled. The Trojans open tournament play next Monday at Waverly vs. Western Pike. PHS got the #14 seed, and will play the #19 seed Indians. Last season, Portsmouth lost at Western Pike 64-61. If the Trojans win next Monday, they will face #3 seed Eastern Brown on Saturday 2/22 at 6:00 PM at Waverly. PHS last won the sectional in 2017. The last 2 seasons have seen the Trojans lose in the sectional final 47-42 to Lynchburg Clay in 2018, and last season 57-54 to Adena.
 
Portsmouth's inconsistent play once again cost them against the Ironton Fighting Tigers, as IHS routed the Trojans 53-33 at PHS on Wednesday night. PHS (8-12 overall, 5-8 in the OVC), trailed only 23-21 at the half, but the Trojans went stone cold in the final 16 minutes, as they were outscored 30-12. Ironton (10-8) started 4 seniors, while Portsmouth started 3 sophomores and played 2 others. Portsmouth only lost 62-61 at Ironton earlier this season. The loss pretty much assured Portsmouth of a 2nd consecutive losing season, with only 1 regular season game remaining (at Coal Grove). PHS would have to win 5 more games just to break even, and that's not likely to happen.

The Trojans will play Western Pike (9-10) on Monday at Waverly in the first round of the sectional tournament. If they manage to win that game, they would face #3 seed Eastern Brown (18-1) at 6:00 next Saturday, also at Waverly.
 
Matthew Fraulini scored 8 points vs. Ironton, and now has 1,053 points for his career. He currently is the 10th leading scorer in PHS history, and is only 5 points from passing 1992 graduate Damond Mannon (1,057).
 
Portsmouth got off to its usual slow start vs. Coal Grove on Friday night, trailing 20-10 after 1 quarter, but after than dominated the game en route to a 72-60 win at CG (Dawson-Bryant HS). Corey Borders (29 points) of CG came out blazing hot, scoring the Hornets first 18 points with a barrage of 3's. After than, the Trojans settled down to take a 1 point lead into the half. In the final 16 minutes, PHS built its lead to as many as 12 points, but CG rallied to within 4 with 3 minutes to play. The Trojans responded with some clutch baskets and FT's to secure the win. Matthew Fraulini scored 27 points for PHS, and now has 1,080 for his career and is now the 9th leading scorer in Trojan history. He needs 17 points to pass Dion McKinley and Wayne Evans to move into 7th place on the all time scoring list.

Portsmouth finished 5th in the OVC with a 6-8 mark. Portsmouth swept the 3 teams below them in the standings, those being Gallia Academy, Coal Grove, and Rock Hill. The 5th place spot is two spots higher than last year's 7th place spot (3-11). The Trojans should challenge for the top 2 or 3 spots in the conference next season, losing only Matthew Fraulini out of the rotation. Only conference champion Fairland has as many coming back as does PHS.

Portsmouth's final regular season mark was 9-12, and the Trojans need to beat Western Pike on Monday night in the Waverly sectional to secure a 10th win which would be the 84th time in school history that has happened. If PHS can win that game, Eastern Brown (21-1) would be the opponent for the sectional championship on Saturday 2/22 at Waverly HS. The Warriors won the gold ball for their undefeated SHAC record.

Coach Eugene Collins enters the sectional tournament with an overall mark of 172-92, in this his 11th season at Portsmouth. He has averaged 15.5 wins a season during his tenure.
 
Final OVC standings:

1. Fairland................13-1.........only loss @Gallia Academy 55-47
2. Chesapeake.......12-2
3. South Point.........9-5
4. Ironton..................8-6
5. Portsmouth.........6-8..........finished 2 spots higher than last season (3-11 in 2019)
6. Gallia Acad.........5-9
7. Coal Grove..........3-11
8. Rock Hill...............0-14

Portsmouth swept Gallia Academy, Coal Grove, and Rock Hill, and were swept by Ironton, South Point, Chesapeake, and Fairland. Fairland's lone loss was at Gallia Academy.
 
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Portsmouth escaped the first round of the D3 Waverly sectional with a 54-49 win over Western Pike on Monday night. Western jumped to a 7-0 lead, and led 12-8 after 1 quarter, but the Trojans dominated the second 8 minutes, led by pressure defense forcing turnovers, to lead 29-15 at halftime. In the 2nd half, Western clearly outplayed PHS, cutting the lead to 42-33 after 3 quarters, and closing to within 50-46 with 2 minutes to play. Portsmouth missed some crucial FT's in those last 2 minutes to keep the Indians close. Last night epitomized the Trojans' inconsistent play that has been the hallmark of this team all season. Stretches of really good play, and other times looking like virtually the opposite, with turnovers, cold shooting, and defensive lapses. Still, the Trojans managed to hang on for the win.

PHS has a huge task ahead of them, as they take on #3 seed Eastern Brown on Saturday at 6:00 PM at Waverly. If Portsmouth does not raise its level of play considerably, the season will come to an end. On the other hand, the unpredictability of the Trojans makes it impossible to completely dismiss the possibility that PHS could pull off a gigantic upset. I have watched the Trojans for nearly 50 years, and this year's team is the king of not knowing what to expect from game to game. They could come out Saturday and play consistently good basketball, or play a clunker.

Matthew Fraulini scored 8 points and is now only 9 points away from becoming the 7th leading scorer in PHS history. Also, the 10th win by Portsmouth (10-12 overall) marked the 84th time that a Trojan team has accomplished at least 10 wins in a season.
 
Portsmouth's all time record heading into the sectional final tonight at Waverly is 1,468--795. The 10 wins so far this season marks the 11th straight season of at least 10 wins for the Trojans and Coach Eugene Collins. It is the longest stretch of 10+ wins since 1963--1991. The 1962 team went 1-17 (the year after winning the Class AA Big School State Championship), while the 1992 team went 9-12. The longest streak of under 10 wins for a season was from 2003-2008. The 2002 team went 15-8, while the 2009 team went 10-12. PHS will be vying for its 65th sectional title. Portsmouth already has the most sectional titles, the most district titles (37), the most regional titles (15), and the most state appearances (15) of any school in the SE district. Wheelersburg has the second most district titles in the SE district with 20.

Eastern Brown is 2-0 vs. Portsmouth in tournament play. The Warriors defeated the Trojans in the 2002 D3 district championship 66-48, with EB advancing to the Final 4 that year, losing in the state semifinals. In 2016, Portsmouth defeated Eastern 64-56 in the Chesapeake Beast of the Southeast regular season, then lost to the Warriors 72-58 in the sectional final. It was the last game for Portsmouth's all time leading scorer, Kyre Allison, who ended his career with 31 points. Portsmouth hasn't won a sectional title since 2017, and tonight they will be a big underdog to advance to the Convocation Center in Athens next week.
 
After leading 26-22 at halftime in the D3 Waverly sectional last Saturday, Portsmouth's offense went into a complete meltdown in the 2nd half, scoring only 6 points, and the end result was a 56-32 loss to the Eastern Brown Warriors. This game was very much like the Trojans played for the majority of the 2019-2020 campaign........very good for a quarter or half, then a complete turnaround after that. PHS was shutout in the 3rd quarter, and didn't score in the 4th period until 3 minutes to go in the game. The Warriors went on a 21-0 run to turn a 26-19 deficit into a 40-26 lead, and that was the kill shot that ended Portsmouth's season.

Portsmouth ended with a 10-13 record, its second straight losing season, and 3rd since 2013 (also went 10-13 that year). Even with the last 2 years of below .500 basketball, Coach Eugene Collins has a very fine 173-93 record overall since he became head coach in the 2009-2010 season. He has posted 11 straight seasons of at least 10 wins, and is the second winningest coach in PHS history. PHS has only advanced to the district only once in the past 5 seasons, that being in 2017. Trojan senior Matthew Fraulini ended his outstanding career with 8 points vs. EB, giving him 1,096, tied for 7th all time on the PHS scoring list with Dion McKinley (2012) and Wayne Evans (2012).

PHS ends the 2020 season with 1,468 wins vs. 796 losses.

Portsmouth's returns 4 starters for the 2020-2021 season, but the leading returning scorer is 6-1 wing Miles Shipp (10 PPG) who will be a senior. The Trojans will be seriously challenged offensively, and record wise could struggle again. Whether Coach Collins comes back is uncertain, as he is pondering his future at this time. He can come back if he wants to. He will not be fired and shouldn't be. He took Portsmouth basketball to the top of the mountain in 2011 and 2012, the first state appearances in 21 years. The last 2 years have resulted because of a lack of basketball talent. The Trojans have good all around athletes, but very few true basketball players. Hopefully in the offseason the players coming back will want to get this program turned around, but it will take commitment and nothing less. If they are willing to work, then just maybe the forecast for the 2020-2021 season for the Portsmouth Trojans will bring brighter days.

Lord willing, I hope and plan on posting about the fortunes of my beloved Trojans next season here on yappi. Enjoy spreading the news of the Trojans around the state. As I told some people last Saturday, we won't be down forever. Trojan basketball will rise again!!
 
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