Opening weekend could have gone better for the White Falcons.
After falling to Little Kanawha Conference guest Parkersburg Catholic 67-53 in its season-opener on Friday night at Gary Clark Court, the Wahama boys basketball team came up just short on Saturday, dropping a 58-56 decision at Huntington St. Joseph.
Wahama (0-2, 0-1 LKC) was down 21-12 a quarter into Friday’s game, and the Crusaders made their lead double digits, at 36-26, headed into halftime.
A 20-to-13 third period made the Parkersburg Catholic lead 56-39 with eight minutes to play. The White Falcons outscored their guest 14-to-11 in the fourth and fell 67-53.
For the game, WHS made 19-of-61 (31.1 percent) field goal attempts, including 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) three-point tries. Wahama was 10-for-13 (76.9 percent) at the foul line, where PCHS went 2-for-6 (33.3 percent).
The Red and White came up with 38 rebounds, including 17 offensive boards. The White Falcons collected 11 steals and seven assists, while committing 15 turnovers.
Sawyer VanMatre led Wahama with a double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds. Bryce Zuspan finished with 11 points and a team-best four assists, while Ethan Gray scored 10 points for the hosts. Michael VanMatre was next with five points, followed by Josiah Lloyd with four, Brennan Grate with three, and Isaac Roush with two.
Zuspan and Gray had three steals apiece to lead the WHS defense.
Xavier Collie led the guests with 24 points, followed by Will Hart with 19 and Charlie Sumney with 16. Blake Lewis scored four for the guests, while Brayden Nguyen and Ethan Lang both had two.
On Saturday, the White Falcons were down 14-13 eight minutes into play, and 32-28 at halftime. The Fighting Irish added another point to the margin with a 14-to-13 third quarter, and headed into the finale on top 46-41.
WHS poured in 15 points over the final eight minutes, but SJHS came up with the dozen it needed to seal the 58-56 victory.
Wahama shot 22-of-55 (40 percent) from the field, including 4-of-18 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc, while hitting 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) foul shots. St. Joe was 8-of-14 (57.1) from the foul line, and had six of its 22 field goals come from three-point range.
WHS came up with 21 defensive rebounds, eight offensive boards, nine assists, and eight steals, while committing 13 turnovers.
Leading the White Falcons, Sawyer VanMatre marked 21 points and seven rebounds, while Gray had 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Zuspan recorded seven points and a team-best four steals, Lloyd added five points, while Roush and Michael VanMatre had two points apiece, with VanMatre also grabbing seven boards.
Christian Layne led the Fighting Irish with 31 points. Caden Ehirim was next with 13 points, followed by Marshall Reynolds with 11 and Phil Ignatiadis with three.
Wahama will have its shot at revenge for both setbacks, visiting Parkersburg Catholic on March 30, and hosting St. Joe on April 13.
Next, Wahama travels to Ravenswood on Tuesday.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.