Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — Jacob Sharpshooting Shipley. That’s what you shall call him from now on.
Adena’s senior guard admitted after Tuesday’s Division III district semifinal that he doesn’t dribble the basketball. That’s not his job. But he shoots the rock like nobody’s business.
Shipley began the game with three consecutive triples, setting the tone of a 74-48 win over South Point.
The three triples came within 96 seconds of each other at the 7:15, 6:19 and 5:39 marks.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
“My job is super easy. I say this all the time,” Shipley said after the win. “I don’t have to dribble the basketball. My teammates put me in such great positions and I got lucky, got a couple of open shots and got us rolling. We just took off from there.”
That’s a significant understatement, given how the rest of the contest unfolded.
The No. 3 seeded Warriors (23-2) took a double-digit lead early in the second quarter and possessed at least an eight-point advantage throughout the rest of the night.
In a game that many thought would be close, Adena bullied South Point (15-5) all night long.
“Holding [Austin] Webb to eight points was huge for us,” Adena coach Kyle Bradley said. “[South Point’s] two best players are Webb and [Nakyan] Turner. Turner had 15 points and he’s a quick, shifty guard. Webb makes them go at 6-foot-3. He can knock it down from anywhere. Our guys did a great job on him and there were multiple guys doing it. That was the key.”
While Shipley provided an early punch, Dillon McDonald delivered the knockout blow for Adena.
The junior scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter, including two transition buckets that he created with defensive pressure.
“Dillon has been a great defender for us all season,” Bradley said. “He moved to the bench for us and he never whined. It could’ve been easy to do so. But he’s kind of owned that role for us. He gives us a nice spark. We know he’s going to give us energy defensively and we know he’s capable of hitting open shots. He’s giving us great contributions right now.”
Shipley’s nine points were the Warriors’ first nine of the night. By the 5:39 mark, he had outscored South Point 9-5 by his lonesome. McDonald then made it an 11-6 game before Jarrett Garrison and Preston Sykes teamed up to put Adena ahead 15-12 with 1:12 remaining.
Logan Bennett closed the first with two free throws, making it a 17-12 tally after one.
In the second, after South Point cut the lead to two, the Warriors ripped off an 8-0 run — powered by Sykes and Bennett — to go ahead 25-14 with 5:24 left. Garrison, Bennett and Sykes then hit three straight buckets late in the quarter, extending the lead to 35-21, before the Pointers hit a 3 at the buzzer to produce a 35-24 halftime tally.
“For four years, Jacob Shipley has spaced the floor for us and he’s been a smart basketball player,” Bradley said. “To come out in a district semifinal game and hit his first three shots, that opened things up for us. Teams are going to come in focusing on Logan and Preston. So when another guy comes in and does those things, it’s going to open up the offense for us.”
Shipley hit his fourth 3 with 2:20 left in the third, pushing the advantage to 42-28, before Bennett followed suit for a 45-30 count at the 1:45 mark. Bennett, the SVC Player of the Year, later ended the quarter with four straight points, handing Adena a 51-39 advantage after three.
South Point got a bucket to fall to begin the final period, cutting the lead to 10, but McDonald began to come alive. After Sykes and Bennett scored, McDonald got a bucket and a foul shot to fall, putting Adena ahead 58-41. He followed with two more scores, making it a 62-41 count.
From there, cruise control was enabled and the Warriors put away a 26-point victory.
“We knew we had to play a little different than we did in our sectional final game,” Sykes said. “We knew we were going to have to slow down a bit because [South Point] likes to run. They weren’t really disciplined and when we sat down in the halfcourt, it gave them problems.”
Bennett led Adena statistically with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Sykes followed with 13 points and 11 boards. Shipley had 12 points, Garrison tallied 10, and Mcdonald added nine of his own.
Turner led South Point with 15 points while Mason Kazee had 10 points and four rebounds. Webb ended the night with eight points and three rebounds.
Adena now advances to a Division III district final where it will face top-seeded Fairland. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday at a site to be determined.
If the Warriors win, it would be the program’s fifth district title and second in the past three seasons.
“Fairland is the one seed for the reason and that team has been here and done this,” Bradley said. “I’m sure, in that locker room, they want to get back to where they couldn’t finish last season. They’ve got kids that flat out shoot it and they play smart, disciplined basketball. Coach [Nathan] Speed does a good job with them. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
South Point: 12-12-15-9 — 48
Adena: 17-18-16-23 — 74
South Point: 18-45 FG, 10-20 FT, 2-12 3pt., 15 rebounds (Kazee 4), 12 turnovers, 5 assists (Kazee 2, Taylor 2). Scoring: Turner 15, Kazee 10, Webb 8, Pegran 8, Adams 5, Dornon 2.
Adena: 29-48 FG, 10-16 FT, 6-12 3pt., 34 rebounds (Sykes 11), 11 turnovers, 11 assists (Bennett 5). Scoring: Bennett 22, Sykes 13, Shipley 12, Garrison 10, McDonald 9, Throckmorton 4, Kerns 2, Osborne 2.