CENTENARY, Ohio — They say basketball is a game of runs.
The Big Blacks made a run, then the Blue Devils stayed on one.
The Gallia Academy basketball team made a 44-9 first half charge and eventually rolled to a 74-26 victory over visiting Point Pleasant on Tuesday night in a non-conference contest held on Senior Night in Gallia County.
The Blue Devils (19-3) found themselves in an early 3-0 hole, but the hosts countered with a 10-2 run that led to a five-point cushion with 2:04 remaining in the opening period.
From there, the Blue and White spent the next 5:43 of the first half stringing together 22 consecutive points while opening up a 37-5 lead with 4:21 left in the second frame.
The Big Blacks (3-17) ended a six-minute scoreless drought with a Kyle Martin basket at the 4:07 mark, but the guests were ultimately never closer than that 32-7 tally.
GAHS — which hit its first five trifecta attempts in the second quarter — ended the half with a 12-2 surge and took a commanding 35-point advantage into the break.
The Blue Devils were simply dominant in the opening 16 minutes as the hosts shot 67 percent from the field and had more made field goals (18) at halftime than Point Pleasant had attempted (17). PPHS was also outrebounded 16-7 overall and committed nine of the 12 turnovers before the intermission.
Gallia Academy — which made 25 of its first 40 shot attempts — continued its hot hand into the third frame after making 7-of-13 shots as part of a 14-8 run, allowing the Blue and White to secure a 58-17 lead headed into the finale.
The Red and Black were never closer than 40 points the rest of the way and the final 48-point margin of victory was Gallia Academy’s largest lead of the night.
The Blue Devils had all 14 players reach the scoring column while collectively shooting 55 percent from the field, which allowed the hosts to claim a season sweep. Gallia Academy won by a 60-39 margin in Point Pleasant back on Jan. 6.
Trace Derenberger gave Point its only lead with a trifecta two minutes into regulation, but the hosts countered with 10 consecutive points before Derenberger converted a layup with 2:04 left for a 10-5 contest.
The Blue and White followed with eight straight points to close out the first period with an 18-5 edge, then hit five of their first six shot attempts as part of a 14-0 run to start the second canto — making it a 32-5 contest with 4:21 left.
PPHS answered with a small 4-3 run over the next minute to close back to within 26 points, but Gallia Academy closed the final 2:58 on a 9-0 run to take a 35-point lead at the break.
GAHS twice led by as many as 41 points in the third quarter, including the 58-17 lead entering the fourth.
Casey Lowery capped a small 4-3 run with a pair of free throws at the 5:26 mark for a 61-21 contest. The Blue Devils ended regulation with a 13-5 spurt to wrap up the triumph.
Gallia Academy outrebounded the guests by a sizable 34-21 overall margin, including an 11-4 edge on the offensive glass. PPHS also committed 22 of the 32 total turnovers in the contest.
The hosts made 29-of-53 shot attempts overall, including a 7-of-18 effort from behind the arc for 39 percent. GAHS was also 9-of-19 at the free throw line for 47 percent.
Cory Call led the Blue and White with a game-high 13 points, followed by Logan Blouir with 11 points and Gage Harrison with nine markers. Justin McClelland was next with eight points and Evan Wiseman chipped in six points.
Caleb Henry and Kaden Thomas were next with five markers apiece, while Zach Loveday contributed four points to go along with a team-best three blocks.
Cole Davis and Bailey Walker added three points each, with Blaine Carter, Spencer Harris and Ben Cox chipping in two points apiece. Brendan Carter completed the winning tally with a single point.
Loveday and Wiseman each hauled in five rebounds, with Call and Henry both hauling in four boards apiece.
The Big Blacks connected on 10-of-37 shot attempts for 27 percent, including a 2-of-13 effort from three-point range for 15 percent. The guests were also 4-of-10 at the charity stripe for 40 percent.
Derenberger paced Point Pleasant with five points, followed by Malik Butler, Logan Cochran and Hunter Bush with three points apiece. Aidan Sang, Casey Lowery, Kyle Martin, Camron Long, Kade Oliver and Braxton Lovejoy completed the PPHS scoring with two markers each.
Butler led Point with four rebounds, with Martin and Lowery grabbing three boards apiece.
Point Pleasant returned to action Wednesday when it hosted Wahama in a battle of Mason County teams at 7 p.m. The Big Blacks will also open tournament play on Monday when they travel to Sissonville for a 7 p.m. contest.
Gallia Academy — which honored seniors Evan Wiseman, Kaden Thomas and Gage Harrison before the game — returns to action Friday night when it travels to Southeastern High School for a Division II sectional final contest against Zane Trace at 8:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.