MERCERVILLE, Ohio — In the end, it came down to the beginning.
The South Gallia boys basketball team hit half of its 20 shot attempts during a 24-9 first quarter surge that ultimately led to a 66-56 victory over visiting River Valley in a non-conference matchup between Gallia County programs.
The host Rebels (4-2) collectively put the game away early as four different players scored at least five points during that opening canto, and the Raiders (1-4) simply couldn’t catch up despite a 4-of-12 effort from the field.
The Silver and Black, however, made their big push in the second frame as a 6-of-11 shooting effort and nine points from Jordan Lambert allowed the guests to make a 19-15 run that trimmed the halftime deficit down to 39-28.
The Raiders managed to trim the lead down again with a 12-10 third quarter spurt that made it a 49-40 contest headed into the finale, but the Red and Gold made 8-of-16 free throws down the stretch as part of 17-16 run to wrap up the double-digit triumph.
The Rebels were outrebounded by a slim 33-31 overall margin, but claimed a considerable 15-9 edge on the offensive glass. RVHS committed 18 turnovers in the contest, compared to only 11 giveaways by the hosts.
South Gallia connected on 23-of-57 field goal attempts for 40 percent, including a 4-of-18 effort from behind the arc for 22 percent. SGHS was also 16-of-34 at the free throw line for 47 percent.
Braxton Hardy led the Rebels with 26 points, followed by Garrett Saunders and Jared Burdette with 10 points apiece. Eli Ellis was next with nine markers and Nick Hicks added seven points, while C.J. Mayse and Kyle Northup completed the winning tally with two points each.
The Raiders netted 22-of-50 shot attempts for 44 percent, including a 6-of-17 effort from 3-point range for 35 percent. The guests were also 6-of-10 at the charity stripe for 60 percent.
Lambert paced River Valley with a game-high 27 points, followed by Layne Fitch with 10 points and Myles Morrison with nine markers.
Rory Twyman and Jordan Burns were next with three points each, while Chase Caldwell and Darian Peck completed the scoring with two markers apiece.
South Gallia — winners of two straight — returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Ohio Valley Christian at 7 p.m.
The Raiders travel to Albany on Tuesday for a TVC Ohio contest with Alexander at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.