CENTENARY, Ohio — The biggest player on the floor made the largest impact on the final outcome.
Sophomore Isaac Clary posted a double-double effort of 16 points and 18 rebounds while guiding the Gallia Academy boys basketball team to its third consecutive victory on Friday night during a 54-42 decision over visiting Portsmouth in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Gallia County.
Clary, who stands 6-foot-8 and around 275 pounds, gave the host Blue Devils (6-6, 4-5 OVC) a much-needed inside advantage against the smaller, quicker Trojans — whose tallest two starters measured in at just 6-foot-2.
PHS (5-6, 3-3) came out firing on all cylinders early on as the Red and Blue netted five of their first six shot attempts while establishing a 10-5 edge less than three minutes into play. The Blue and White, however, never trailed by more than five points and made a 9-4 push to knot things up at 14-all.
The guests received a basket from Michael Duncan with 10 seconds left and managed to secure a 16-14 lead through eight minutes of play. Portsmouth was also 8-of-16 from the field in the opening quarter.
A Cooper Davis offensive putback tied things up at 16-all with 6:42 left in the half, then Brody Fellure converted a basket at the 5:48 mark that ultimately allowed Gallia Academy to take a permanent lead of 18-16.
Those baskets sparked an 11-3 surge that allowed GAHS to build its largest lead of the first half when Kenyon Franklin converted a free throw at the 2:46 mark for a 25-19 lead.
Chris Duff capped a quick 5-0 response with a trifecta at the 2:03 mark, allowing Portsmouth to close back to within 25-24.
Clary snapped an 80-second scoring drought with an offensive rebound and putback at the 1:25 mark, then Wesley Saunders drilled a 17-footer just before the buzzer — giving GAHS a 29-24 cushion headed into the break.
The Trojans were never closer than 29-26 following a Miles Shipp at the 5:43 mark of the third. The guests eventually went just 1-of-12 from the field, while Gallia Academy closed the period with a 13-3 surge that resulted in a 42-29 advantage entering the finale.
Portsmouth closed to within six points roughly 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the hosts converted 6-of-12 free throws down the stretch and eventually wrapped up the 12-point triumph.
Clary was held to just two points in the first quarter and never managed more than five points in any one quarter of work, but the big man ended up converting at least one offensive putback in each of the four periods. PHS, conversely, produced only five offensive rebounds all night.
The Blue Devils outrebounded the Trojans by a substantial 46-23 overall margin, including a 17-5 edge on the offensive glass. Clary also accounted for 10 of those offensive boards.
Despite committing 17 of the 27 turnovers in the contest, Gallia Academy still put together a decent shooting night after netting 20-of-52 field goal attempts for 38 percent. The hosts went 3-of-11 from behind the arc for 27 percent also made 11-of-18 free throw attempts for 61 percent.
Franklin and Carson Call both followed Clary with eight points apiece, with Davis coming in right behind with seven markers. Call and Davis also grabbed 10 and seven boards, respectively.
Connor Walter chipped in three points, while Saunders completed the winning tally with two points.
Portsmouth made 18-of-57 shot attempts for 32 percent, including a 2-of-15 effort from 3-point territory for 13 percent. The guests were also 4-of-7 at the charity stripe for 57 percent.
Shipp — who battled through foul trouble throughout the evening — paced the Red and Blue with 16 points and six rebounds, followed by Duff and Donavan Carr with five points apiece.
Duncan, Drew Roe and Darryonne Bryant each chipped in four markers, while Amare Johnson and Daewin Spence completed things with two points apiece. Bryant also joined Shipp with a team-high six caroms.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.