MASON, W.Va. — One bad spell, but a bright future.
The Wahama boys basketball team fell to guest Man by a 64-51 count in the Class A, Region IV co-final on Wednesday at Gary Clark Court, with the Hillbillies outscoring WHS 26-9 in the third period of the White Falcons’ first regional contest since 2007.
The Red and White (7-12) — who had three sophomores and two freshman account for all-51 points — were down 13-9 a quarter into play.
Man (13-2) opened the second period with a two-pointer, but Wahama scored the next eight points, taking the lead at 17-15 on a Sawyer VanMatre putback with 6:26 left in the half. The Hillbillies answered with an 11-0 run, but WHS was back within six, at 30-24, by halftime.
The hosts scored the opening point of the second half, but Man scored 26 of the next 34 points and headed into the fourth on top 56-33.
The Red and White were back to within 10, at 60-50, with a 17-4 start to the finale, but couldn’t get closer, ultimately falling 64-51.
For the game, WHS was 19-of-64 (29.7 percent) from the field, including 8-of-21 (38.1 percent) from beyond the arc, while MHS made 28-of-65 (43.1 percent) field goal attempts, including 7-of-24 (29.2 percent) three-point tries. At the foul line, Wahama made 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) and Man hit 1-of-3 (33.3 percent).
The White Falcons won the rebounding battle by a 42-to-35 count, including 13-to-8 on the offensive end. WHS committed 14 turnovers, while Man gave the ball away six times, all in the first half. Wahama recorded 14 assists and five steals, while MHS came up with 20 assists, 10 steals and six blocked shots.
WHS sophomore Josiah Lloyd led the Red and White with 15 points, nine of which came from three-point range. Sawyer VanMatre had a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds, Bryce Zuspan added 10 points and a team-best six assists, while Ethan Gray chipped in with nine points, a dozen rebounds and a pair of steals. Harrison Panko-Shields scored four points for the hosts, while Michael VanMatre grabbed nine rebounds.
Man junior Austin Ball led all-scorers with 23 points on 11 field goals. Caleb Blevins was next with 15 points, followed by Jackson Tackett with nine. Jeremiah Harless had eight points and team-highs of 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals, Ryan Cozart finished with five points, while Christian Toler tallied three points.
MHS advances to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.