MASON, W.Va. — The Rebels keep rolling … and the White Falcons are still reeling.
The South Gallia boys basketball team won its second straight road game in league and also salvaged a season split with host Wahama on Friday night following a 62-52 victory in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest at Gary Clark Court in Mason County.
The Rebels (6-11, 4-7 TVC Hocking) led the final 30:01 of regulation as the guests built a 15-6 first quarter lead en route to their fifth triumph in their last seven contests. SGHS also avenged a 49-48 setback in Mercerville back on Dec. 22, 2017.
The White Falcons (3-13, 2-9) — who have now dropped six consecutive decisions — claimed their only lead of the night on a pair of Noah Litchfield free throws 30 seconds into the game, and that lead held up until the 6:52 mark as Braxton Hardy tied things up with a basket.
Hardy, however, followed with eight more consecutive points over the next three-plus minutes, allowing the Red and Gold to build a 10-2 cushion.
Wahama countered with a small 4-2 run to close back to within two possessions at 12-6, but Eli Ellis nailed a trifecta just before the first quarter buzzer — giving the guests a 15-6 edge through eight minutes of play.
Bryce Nolan opened the second canto with a three-pointer that ended up giving SGHS its largest lead of the night at 18-6 just 26 seconds in, but the Red and White answered with a 10-2 charge over the next five-plus minutes while closing to within 20-16 with 1:58 left until halftime.
The Rebels — who shot just 3-of-13 from the field in the second stanza — closed the half with a small 4-2 spurt to secure a 24-18 cushion at the break.
The White Falcons whittled the lead down to 29-26 following a Jacob Warth bucket at the 5:02 mark of the third frame, but the hosts were ultimately never closer the rest of the way.
SGHS countered with three straight trifectas and a 9-1 surge over the next two-plus minutes that re-established a double-digit lead at 38-27 with 3:46 left, but the hosts responded with a 7-4 run to close out the quarter facing a 42-34 deficit.
The White Falcons were never closer than seven points down the stretch, and South Gallia never led by more than 10 points during that same span. The Rebels won the final period by a slim 20-18 margin to wrap up the 10-point decision.
South Gallia shot 45 percent from the field and had three players reach double figures, all while committing only seven turnovers as a team. The guests also forced nine of Wahama’s 13 turnovers during that pivotal first half run.
Afterwards, SGHS coach Kent Wolfe was pretty pleased to get of West Virginia with a victory — particularly with one of such quality.
“I’m proud of the kids because this is not an easy place to come into and win. A lot of good teams have struggled here over the years,” Wolfe said. “We did a lot of things well tonight on both ends of the floor, particularly in playing with a lead throughout the game.
“Honestly, the kids are giving it everything they have night in and night out. They are having fun right now and it shows in how they are playing. I like the way we are playing right now.”
Wahama shot a respectable 39 percent from the floor and claimed a 34-24 edge in rebounds, including a 9-4 advantage on the offensive glass.
The nearly 2-to-1 turnover ratio, however, ultimately caught up with the hosts — particularly the 9-3 difference in miscues before halftime.
That was something the WHS coach Ron Bradley struggled with following the game, particularly given the fact that his troops put together about three-and-a-half quarters of decent basketball.
“You have to play 32 minutes, and that’s been our story all year,” Bradley said. “These kids give the effort and they play hard, so I cannot fault them there. We just can’t match our execution and our effort because we have too many empty possessions due to turnovers.
“Shooting percentage is a very misleading stat when another team has 10 or 15 more shots than you do. It wasn’t that way tonight, but we gave them enough extra chances that it came back to bite us. We have to take better care of the basketball all the way through.”
South Gallia made 21-of-47 shot attempts overall, including a 6-of-19 effort from three-point range for 32 percent. The guests were also 14-of-24 at the free throw line for 58 percent.
Hardy led the Rebels with a game-high 26 points, with 16 of those coming the second half. Ellis was next with 15 points and a team-best six rebounds, followed by Curtis Haner with 14 markers.
Austin Stapleton was next with four points, while Nolan completed the winning tally with three markers. Hardy and Stapleton also hauled in five and four rebounds, respectively.
The White Falcons netted 18-of-46 floor attempts overall, including a 3-of-11 effort from behind the arc for 27 percent. The hosts were also 13-of-26 at the charity stripe for 50 percent.
Noah Litchfield led WHS with 20 points, followed by Abram Pauley with 15 points and Dakota Belcher with nine points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds.
Warth and Tyler Bumgarner completed the Wahama tally with four points apiece. Pauley and Litchfield also hauled in eight and six caroms, respectively.
South Gallia returns to action Monday when it hosts Trimble in a TVC Hocking contest at 7 p.m. The Rebels also travel to Waterford on Tuesday for a TVC Hocking matchup at 7 p.m.
Wahama returns to action Tuesday when it travels to Tuppers Plains for a TVC Hocking contest against Eastern at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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