MERCERVILLE, Ohio — They didn’t lead until it mattered most.
The Waterford boys basketball team claimed a 54-51 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host South Gallia on Thursday in Gallia County, with Holden Dailey’s game-winning three-pointer giving the Wildcats their first lead of the game after the final buzzer sounded.
After ties at 2-2 and 5-5, the Rebels (12-9, 4-7 TVC Hocking) established their advantage, and were up 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The Red and Gold added a point to their edge with a 12-to-11 second quarter, and went into halftime on top 26-23.
South Gallia’s lead was at seven points, 40-33, 5:22 into the third period, but Waterford scored the final five points of the stanza and headed into the fourth down 40-38.
SGHS scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, and led by a game-high eight points with 5:25 remaining. The Wildcats clawed back and tied it the game at 51 on a two-pointer by Jacob Huffman with 38 seconds to play.
After missed opportunities on each side, WHS was able to set up an inbound play from the side with 1.5 seconds left. Dailey took the entry pass, made one move, and sank the long-range three-pointer with a Rebel in his face.
In the 54-51 setback, South Gallia made 20 field goals, three of which came from three-point range. Meanwhile, Waterford hit 22 field goals, including six triples. At the foul line, SGHS shot 8-for-10 (80 percent), while the Wildcats were 4-for-11 (36.4 percent).
Jaxxin Mabe led the Red and Gold with 20 points, a dozen of which came in the third quarter. Brayden Hammond scored 12 points, all before halftime, while Layne Ours came up with 10 in the setback. Andrew Small contributed four points to the Rebel cause, Tristan Saber added three, while Ean Combs chipped in with two.
Garrett Armstrong led the guests with 16 points, a dozen of which came from beyond the arc. Dailey was next with 14 points, followed by Huffman with 11, Luke Teters with seven, Wade Smith with five, and Grant McCutcheon with one.
The gives the Green and White the season sweep of SGHS, as the Wildcats rallied for a 49-47 overtime victory over the Rebels on Jan. 22 in Washington County.
Next, South Gallia will visit Peebles in the Division IV sectional championship on Saturday.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.