ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — An off night made right.
Senior Braxton Hardy converted his only points of the second half on a layup with seven seconds left in regulation, allowing the South Gallia boys basketball team to rally for a 56-55 victory over 10th-seeded Miller in a Division IV sectional semifinal contest at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium inside Meigs High School.
Hardy — who finished the evening with just five points — hit a twisting layup after driving down the middle of the lane for a one-point edge, and that margin eventually held up in the closing moments.
The Falcons (1-22) launched a potential game-winning 3-pointer from the right corner as time expired, but the shot ultimately missed its mark — allowing the seventh-seeded Rebels (14-9) to move on to the sectional final.
SGHS will face second-seeded Trimble in the D-4 sectional championship matchup at MHS on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Red and Gold started well as the hosts scored the first 15 points of regulation while building a 25-13 advantage through eight minutes of play, but the Falcons started climbing back on the shoulders of Colby Bartley.
Bartley poured in eight points as part of a 17-14 second period spurt that resulted in a 39-30 contest at the break, then Bartley tacked on another 10 markers in the third — including his 1,000th career point — during a 12-4 charge that trimmed the deficit down to 43-42 entering the finale.
Miller used an 11-7 run out of the fourth quarter gates and built a 53-50 advantage following a pair of Bartley free throws with 3:41 left in regulation, but SGHS countered with a small 4-2 run over the next three-plus minutes to whittle the deficit down to a single point at 55-54.
South Gallia now has consecutive opening round postseason victories under second-year coach Kent Wolfe, who defeated Eastern 57-55 in last year’s sectional semifinal round. It’s also a sectional championship rematch for the Rebels, who were eliminated by the Tomcats last winter by a 71-58 count.
SGHS made 22 total field goals — including three trifectas — and also went 9-of-12 from the free throw line for 75 percent.
Eli Ellis led the Rebels with 14 points, with 13 of those coming before halftime. C.J. Mayse was next with 13 points, while Garrett Saunders followed with 11 markers — all of which came in the first canto.
Nick Hicks was next with six points, with Hardy and Kyle Northup respectively adding five and four points. Jared Burdette completed the winning tally with three markers.
Miller made 20 total field goals — including seven 3-pointers — and also went 8-of-16 at the free throw line for 50 percent.
Bartley led the Falcons with a game-high 27 points, followed by Blayton Cox with 11 points. Kylan McClain, Tre McCoy and Drew Starlin were next with five markers each, while Steven Willison completed the scoring with two points.
The Rebels — who defeated Miller by 17 points and 16 points during the regular season — are aiming for their first sectional title since the 2015-16 campaign.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.