CENTENARY, Ohio — Two good starts led to one great finish.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team outscored visiting Washington Court House 33-22 in the opening quarter of each half and eventually held on for a 60-53 victory in a non-conference contest in Gallia County.
The Blue Devils (11-1) picked up their season-best sixth consecutive victory and had seven different players reach the scoring column while remaining unbeaten at home this winter.
GAHS received another monumental effort from 7-foot sophomore Zach Loveday, who scored 21 of his game-high 25 points through three quarters of play. The hosts, however, also got points from Justin McClelland, Evan Wiseman and Cory Call in each canto for a more-balanced offensive attack as the night progressed.
Loveday scored six points as part of 15-10 run to open the first quarter, but the Blue Lions (2-8) countered with seven points from Evan Upthegrove and a pair of Trevor Rarick trifectas during a 17-14 second period run that cut the deficit down to 29-27 at the break.
The Blue Devils responded by going to Loveday to start the second half, which led to nine points as part of an 18-12 surge for an 47-39 edge headed into the finale. Washington closed regulation with a small 14-13 run, but never overcame that three-possession deficit.
Gallia Academy hit 24 total field goals — including a pair of three-pointers — and also went 10-of-17 at the free throw line for 59 percent.
McClelland hit both trifectas and joined Loveday in double figures with 12 points, followed by Wiseman with nine points and Call with eight markers. Caleb Henry, Kaden Thomas and Logan Blouir completed the winning tally with two points apiece.
The Blue Lions netted 20 total field goals — including seven three-pointers — and also went 6-of-11 at the charity stripe for 55 percent.
Dillon Steward paced the guests with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half. Upthegrove was next with 13 points, while Rarick was held scoreless in the second half and finished with nine markers.
Garitt Leisure and Miguel O’Flaherty respectively chipped in five and four points, with Blaise Tayese completing things with two markers.
The Blue Devils return to action Tuesday when they host Rock Hill in an Ohio Valley Conference contest at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.