GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Gone in 22 seconds.
Visiting Wayne broke away from a 21-all third quarter tie with seven straight points in 22 seconds, which ultimately provided enough breathing room down the stretch Friday night to secure a 40-32 victory over the Ohio Valley Christian boys basketball team in a non-conference matchup in the Old French City.
The host Defenders (4-7) led most of the first half, but the Pioneers (6-2) forced 11 OVCS turnovers in the third quarter while making an 11-4 charge — allowing the guests to claim a 28-22 cushion headed into the finale.
WHS extended its lead out to as much as 32-23 following a Colby Wickline basket at the 6:36 mark, but the Defenders countered with a 6-1 run to claw back to within 33-29 with 3:19 left in regulation.
Ohio Valley Christian was again within four points (36-32) with 50 seconds remaining, but the guests scored the final four points to wrap up the eight-point decision.
Wayne handed OVCS its fourth straight setback while also picking up its fourth consecutive victory. The Pioneers also claimed a season sweep after posting a 75-64 win back on December 17 at WHS.
The Defenders led 13-9 after eight minutes of play, but the guests answered with a small 6-5 second period run to close to within 18-15 at the break. Wayne rallied to tie things up at 21-all with 2:01 left in the third, then got layups off of turnovers during its important 7-0 run for a quick three-possession lead.
Brayden Baker gave WHS a permanent lead at the 1:18 mark of the third, then Brett Justice added a layup with 1:05 left for a 25-21 edge. Grant Ferguson came away with a steal, made a layup and a free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play with 56 seconds left, giving the guests a 28-21 cushion.
Marshall Hood sank one of two free throws with 46 seconds left in the canto, allowing OVCS to pull to within two possessions entering the finale.
OVCS connected on 12-of-43 field goal attempts for 28 percent, which included a 3-of-10 effort from three-point range for 30 percent. The hosts were also 5-of-13 at the free throw line for 38 percent.
T.G. Miller led Ohio Valley Christian with nine points, followed by Marshall Hood with six points and Evan Bowman with five markers. Phil Hollingshead, Dillon Ragan, Elijah McDonald and Austin Ragan rounded out the scoring with three points apiece.
The Pioneers made 13-of-32 field goal attempts for 41 percent, although the guests were 0-for-4 from behind the arc. Wayne also sank 14-of-21 charity tosses for 67 percent overall, including an 8-of-12 effort in the fourth quarter.
Grant Ferguson paced WHS with a game-high 14 points, followed by Tucker Watts with seven markers. Brett Justice and Colby Wickline chipped in six points each, while Alex Elkins added five markers to the winning cause.