CENTENARY, Ohio — If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Blue Devils wouldn’t have any luck at all of late.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team dominated the boards, but dropped its second straight decision on Friday night during a 62-55 setback to visiting Fairland in an Ohio Valley Conference contest in Gallia County.
The host Blue Devils (3-3, 1-3 OVC) battled through five ties and nine lead changes over the course of three periods of play, but the Dragons (5-1, 3-1) — behind 48 percent shooting from the field — broke a 50-all tie with a 12-5 run over the final 2:22 of regulation to wrap up a hard-fought 7-point triumph.
There were three ties and four lead changes in the opening half alone, with FHS jumping out to a quick 10-4 lead before the hosts rallied to knot things up at 17-all through one period of play.
GAHS countered with eight straight points to start the second frame and secured its largest lead of the night at 25-17 following a Connor Roe basket with 5:03 left in the half.
Will Davis capped a 13-5 Fairland run with a basket at the 1:04 mark for a 31-30 edge, but a Zane Loveday offensive rebound and putback with 11 seconds remaining allowed the Blue and White to claim a 32-31 lead headed into the break.
A Loveday basket with 4:42 left in the third period gave Gallia Academy its final lead of the night at 39-36, but Aiden Porter answered with an old-fashioned 3-point play just seven seconds later to knot the game up at 39-all. The Dragons closed the third quarter with a small 6-4 run and held a 45-43 advantage entering the finale.
An Isaac Clary bucket with 2:51 left tied the contest at 50-all, but Porter answered with a 3-pointer 29 seconds later — allowing FHS to take a permanent lead at 53-50. The Porter trifecta also sparked an 11-1 surge that gave the guests their largest lead of the night of 61-51 with 34.5 seconds left to play.
The Blue Devils — who never led in the fourth quarter — ultimately ended the game with a 4-1 spurt to complete the 3-possession outcome.
GAHS outrebounded the Dragons by a sizable 39-16 overall margin, including an 18-3 edge on the offensive glass. The hosts also committed 16 of the 23 turnovers in the affair.
The Blue Devils made 23-of-54 field goal attempts for 43 percent, including a 3-of-13 effort from behind the arc for 23 percent. Gallia Academy also sank 4-of-12 free throw attempts for 33 percent.
Clary led the hosts with a double-double effort of 19 points and 15 rebounds, followed by Loveday with 11 points and nine caroms. Kenyon Franklin and Brody Fellure were next with nine points each, while Roe and Carson Call respectively completed the scoring with five and two points.
Fairland made 22-of-46 shot attempts for 48 percent, including a 5-of-15 performance from 3-point range for 33 percent. The guests also netted 13-of-17 charity tosses for 76 percent.
Porter paced FHS with a game-high 22 points, followed by Davis with 14 points and Ethan Taylor with 13 markers. J.D. Thacker was next with nine points, while Chase Allen and Steeler Leep completed the winning tally with two points each.
Porter hauled in a team-best five rebounds, with Davis and Taylor each grabbing three boards for the victors.
The Blue Devils — after a 2-0 start to the season — have now dropped three of their last four decisions overall.
Gallia Academy returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Fairfield Union in a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.