BELPRE, Ohio — The Golden Eagles weren’t going to make a comeback like that just to lose.
The Belpre boys basketball team erased a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime in Friday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division showdown with visiting Wahama, and the Golden Eagles outscored WHS 12-to-8 in the extra stanza to take the game by a 75-71 final.
BHS (1-1, 1-1 TVC Hocking) jumped out to a 10-4 lead, but the White Falcons (0-1, 0-1) battled back to take a lead at 12-11. After a pair of lead changes, the teams were tied at 16, but Wahama claimed the final three points of the opening stanza and led 19-16.
The Golden Eagles regained the advantage at 24-23, early in the second period. WHS took the lead back at 25-24 and, after two more lead changes, extended the edge to 31-26. BHS scored the final basket of the first half and headed into break, trailing 31-28.
Wahama didn’t relinquish the lead in the third period, outscoring BHS 18-to-9 in the quarter to expand the lead to 49-37 headed into the finale.
Wahama pushed its lead to 53-37, early in the fourth, but Belpre fought back to tie the game at 61. The White Falcons reestablished the advantage with back-to-back free throw makes by junior Noah Litchfield. However, WHS fouled Belpre’s Mythius Houghton, who made two-of-three free throws to send the teams into overtime, tied at 63.
Wahama claimed the opening basket of the overtime period, but Houghton made a two-pointer to tie the game and followed it up with a trifecta, giving Belpre its first advantage since 26-25, late in the second quarter.
Leading 68-65, Belpre made 7-of-12 free throws over the remainder of the game, sealing the 75-71 victory.
For the game, Wahama shot 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line and 27-of-62 (43.5 percent) from the field, including 3-of-15 (20 percent). Belpre was 16-of-29 (55.2 percent) from the stripe and 27-of-64 (42.2 percent) from the field, including 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from deep.
The White Falcons held a 47-to-32 advantage in rebounding, but committed 27 turnovers, 12 more that BHS.
Before fouling out, Litchfield led Wahama with 32 points, followed by Philip Hoffman with a double-double effort of 22 points and 19 rebounds. Randy Lantz posted eight points, Jacob Lloyd added four, while Travis Kearns had three points and a team-best three steals. Mason Hildreth rounded out the White Falcon scoring with two points, while leading the team with six assists. Kearns and Litchfield both had nine boards for the Bend Area team.
Houghton led Belpre with 23 points, followed by Nate Godfrey with 15 points and Logan Adams with 11. Brandon Simoniette was next with 10 points, followed by Jessie Collins with five. Deijon Bedgood and Cole Knotts both scored four points in the win, while Tojzae Reams rounded out the BHS total with three markers.
Collins and Godfrey led Belpre on the glass with six boards apiece, while Houghton had team-highs in assists with eight and steals with 10.
Wahama will have its chance for revenge when the Golden Eagles visit Mason, on January 20.
The White Falcons return to action on Tuesday, when they host Southern.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.