MASON, W. Va. — For the Lady White Falcons, they actually got three birds with one single stone on Thursday.
That’s because Wahama had a win, a home victory, and a triumph over its county rival in one fell swoop.
Bolstered by stymieing the visiting Hannan Wildcats to single digits in all four quarters, Wahama won at Gary Clark Court for the first time in four full calendar years — as the White Falcons captured a 35-18 girls basketball victory.
The last time Wahama won at home — Barack Obama was starting his second term as President of the United States.
Both teams are now 2-11, as the White Falcons led from the very end of the opening quarter on.
Wahama won the first quarter 9-6, doubled up the Lady Wildcats 12-6 in the second stanza, and held Hannan to six total points in the entire second half.
With a 21-12 halftime deficit, the Wildcats got no closer than 21-14 — on a pair of Madison Staggs free throws early in the third period.
As Lauren Bissell made a layup with two minutes and 45 seconds remaining for Wahama’s largest lead at 35-18, it became clear that the White Falcons’ long home losing streak was finally coming to an end.
It almost did a night earlier on Wednesday, but Wahama lost to Wirt County 47-36.
“We had a great effort last night, got within three in the fourth quarter and didn’t finish the game. Tonight we gave great effort and were able to finish a game,” said Wahama head coach John Arnott. “There are certain things we have to learn yet, and we aren’t playing masterfully yet, but we are learning. This is a good win for us and one that we needed.”
Truth be told, any win is a good win for the young White Falcons.
Prior to Thursday, the Red and White last won at home against Southern (53-48) on Jan. 14, 2013 — as its only win since then had been at Buffalo on Dec. 6 of this season.
The White Falcons endured a 68-game losing streak in between those two triumphs — as the season split with Hannan snapped a 10-game skid.
The Wildcats won the first meeting between the two Mason County clubs on Dec. 29 — a 32-28 outcome that stretched Hannan’s win streak over Wahama to seven.
The Blue and White’s loss was its fourth consecutive — all coming since that win over the White Falcons.
The Wildcats did lead 6-4 at the 2:40 mark of the opening quarter —scoring six straight points in less than a minute on baskets by Maggie Waugh and Josie McCoy and two free throws by Waugh.
But Maddy VanMatre, who scored Wahama’s opening field goal before Bissell made two free throws, tied the contest at 6-6 with 31 seconds left in the first.
Hannah Rose then drained her first of two three-pointers to beat the first-quarter buzzer, giving the White Falcons the lead for good.
Staggs made two free throws —just seven seconds into the second quarter — to get the Wildcats within 9-8, but Wahama held Hannan scoreless for approximately the next seven minutes.
Josie Cooper, with two foul shots at the 53-second mark and a basket just 20 seconds later, were Hannan’s only other points in the stanza.
The White Falcons reeled off 10 unanswered and 12 total in the second, making it 19-8 and 21-10 — as Rose rained in her other three at the 3:47 mark.
In the second half, the Wildcats got two field goals from Cassidy Duffer — near the end of the third frame and just 52 seconds into the fourth.
Unfortunately for Hannan, in trailing 29-18, it failed to score for the final 7:08.
“We were unable to get anything running. We were not taking shots that we should have taken. We had open shots, but we passed them up. We passed the ball and lost it. We have to get to the point where we are comfortable and confident enough to take shots,” said Hannan head coach Kellie Thomas. “Whenever we do that, we will start scoring. We didn’t play well defensively either. We missed a lot of rebounds we should have had. It was an overall off night for us.”
But, credit some of those Wildcat struggles for Wahama “playing better defense”.
“We’re playing better defense. With that ‘diamond’ defense, we’re taking their best player and denying her the ball and the other four kids are in a diamond,” said Arnott.
The White Falcons finished with a 14-5 edge in total field goals, as VanMatre scored six field goals and sank two free throws for 14 points.
Rose recorded a dozen markers on five field goals, as Nena Hunt with two buckets and Gracie VanMeter with a third-quarter free throw rounded out the Wahama scoring.
The White Falcons return home, and return to Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division action, tonight (Saturday, Jan. 21) against Southern.
Tipoff time is set for 7:30 p.m.
Hannan has an entire week off before hosting another county rival next Friday (Jan. 27) in Point Pleasant.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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