Tomcats slip past South Gallia, 60-59 OT

By Alex Hawley -

MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Four quarters just weren’t enough.

The Trimble and South Gallia boys basketball teams sat tied at 51 after 32 minutes of action in Friday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division bout in Gallia County, with the visiting Tomcats escaping with a 60-59 overtime victory to stay unbeaten on the year.

South Gallia (4-3, 2-2 TVC Hocking) led by as many as five points, at 7-2, in the opening quarter, but the Tomcats (3-0, 3-0) battled back to tie the game at eight with 2:45 left in the stanza. The Rebels outscored THS 7-to-6 over the remainder of the period and took a 15-14 edge into the second.

The Tomcats to scored seven of the first 11 points in the second quarter and led 21-19 with 6:30 remaining. South Gallia, however, ended the half with a 15-to-7 run and took a 34-28 lead into halftime.

The guests were held scoreless for the first 5:30 of the second half, as the Rebels increased their lead to double digits, at 38-28. Trimble more than made up for lost time, closing the quarter with an 11-to-1 spurt, tying the game at 39 with eight minutes to play.

THS had a 42-39 lead after Brayden Weber hit a three-pointer to open the period, but Nick Hicks answered with a trifecta of his own to bring the game back to a stalemate. An old-fashioned three-pointer by the Tomcats was answered with six straight points from SGHS senior Garrett Saunders, giving the the hosts a 48-45 lead with 3:00 left in regulation.

The guests were once again in front after back-to-back two pointers, but an and-1 play by Kyle Northup gave SGHS a 51-49 edge with 1:15 to go. With just over 30 seconds left in the fourth, Weber hit a two-pointer, tying the game at 51 and ultimately forcing overtime.

Hicks hit a two-pointer to give the Rebels a 53-51 lead in the extra session, but Cameron Kittle made an and-1 to give the guests a one-point advantage with 2:45 to play. The Tomcats added another point to their lead a minute later, but a Braxton Hardy two-pointer tied the game, and a bucket by Saunders gave the Rebels a 57-55 lead with a minute remaining.

Blake Guffey hit a two-pointer to tie the game at 57 with 45 seconds left, but Hardy answered with a two-pointer to reestablish the SGHS lead with under 30 seconds to play. The Tomcats had one final answer left in tank, as Kittle hit a three-pointer with time winding down, lifting Trimble to the 60-59 victory.

In the contest, SGHS made 23-of-54 (42.6 percent) field goal attempts, including 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) three-point tries. Meanwhile, the Tomcats shot 22-of-54 (40.7 percent) from the field, including 6-of-10 (60 percent) from deep. South Gallia was just 8-of-20 (40 percent) from the free throw line, where Trimble was 10-of-17 (58.8 percent).

The Tomcats won the rebounding battle by a 28-to-25 clip — including 10-to-8 on the offensive end — but committed 15 turnovers, seven more than the Rebels. SGHS finished with team totals of 10 steals and five assists, while Trimble marked nine assists and five steals.

Hardy led the hosts with 19 points, coming on seven two-pointers, one trifecta and a pair of free throws. Saunders finished with 14 points and a pair of assists, Hicks wound up with seven markers, while Jared Burdette scored six points on a pair of triples.

Kyle Northup and Eli Ellis tallied five points apiece, with Ellis earning nine rebounds and a pair of assists. Christian Mayse capped off the SGHS total with three points in the setback, while Hardy and Northup led the Rebel defense with three steals apiece.

Weber paced the guests with 19 points, including nine from long range. Kittle finished with 18 points and a game-high five assists, while Blake Guffey added 10 points and a team-best six rebounds. Kyle Kennedy with six points, Zach Guffey with four and Conner Wright with three rounded out the winning total. Weber and Blake Guffey led the visiting defense with two steals apiece.

The rematch between the Tomcats and Rebels is slated for Jan. 25 in Glouster. SGHS will be back in action at Symmes Valley on Friday.

By Alex Hawley

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.