RACINE, Ohio — Carson, Letterman, Leno and Kimmel … all kings of late night entertainment.
But, if you were specifically looking for someone to anchor the ‘Early Show’ desk on Tuesday night — then Grant Barton would have been the runaway choice.
Barton, a freshman, hit three trifectas in the opening 90 seconds of regulation and finished with a career-high 28 points while guiding visiting Point Pleasant to a 58-51 victory over the Southern boys basketball team in a non-conference contest in Meigs County.
Barton made Point’s first three shot attempts and gave the Big Blacks (4-5) a quick 9-0 lead, and ultimately hit five 3-pointers while scoring 17 first quarter points en route to a 25-8 advantage through eight minutes of play.
The Tornadoes (4-10) — who went just 3-of-11 from the field with seven turnovers in the opening canto — battled their way back throughout the next three periods, but the hosts eventually came no closer than seven points in either half.
PPHS netted 10-of-18 field goal attempts — including 5-of-9 from behind the arc — in that opening stanza en route to their initial 17-point lead, but the Red and Black went cold in the second stanza in netting just 2-of-13 shot attempts.
SHS — which trailed by as many as 20 points (28-8) just 19 seconds into the second period — made a 15-2 run from there, with Cade Anderson and Derek Griffith respectively pouring in eight and seven points while whittling the halftime deficit down to 30-23.
Peyton Murphy scored eight points and Barton added another five as Point Pleasant went 7-of-14 from the floor in the third canto as part of an 18-11 push that extended the lead out to 48-34 entering the finale.
Southern, behind back-to-back Brayden Otto 3-pointers in the final 23 seconds, ended up closing regulation with a 17-10 surge that ultimately wrapped up the 7-point outcome.
The Tornadoes outrebounded PPHS by a sizable 39-23 overall margin, including an 11-5 edge on the offensive glass. The hosts also committed 21 of the 34 turnovers in the contest en route to their ninth straight loss.
The Big Blacks made 22-of-55 field goal attempts for 40 percent, including a 10-of-28 effort from 3-point range for 36 percent. The guests also netted 4-of-6 free throw attempts for 67 percent.
Barton ended up hitting seven 3-pointers en route to leading PPHS with 28 points, followed by Murphy with 15 points and Eric Chapman with five markers.
Josh Chapman and Luke Derenberger were next with four points apiece, while Zach Beckett completed the winning tally with two points.
Beckett and Eric Chapman — who was riddled with second half foul trouble before fouling out with five minutes left in regulation — both hauled in six rebounds each for the Big Blacks.
Southern went 21-of-56 from the field for 38 percent, including a 7-of-21 mark from behind the arc for 33 percent. SHS sank 4-of-9 charity tosses for 44 percent.
Lincoln Rose paced the hosts with a double-double effort of 13 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Griffith with nine points and Anderson with eight markers. Griffith also hauled in a dozen boards in the setback.
Aiden Hill and Otto were next with seven and six points, respectively. Cruz Brinager and Damien Miller chipped in three points each, with Tanner Lisle wrapping things up with two points.
Point Pleasant — winners of four of its last five outings — returns to action Friday when it hosts Lincoln County at 7 p.m.
Southern returns to the hardwood Friday when it travels to Tuppers Plains for a TVC Hocking matchup with rival Eastern at 7 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.