MASON, W.Va. — The Rebels set the tone early and never looked back.
The South Gallia boys basketball team scored the first 12 points of Friday night’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division bout at Gary Clark Court, and the visiting Rebels rolled to a 64-34 victory over Wahama.
South Gallia (7-3, 3-2 TVC Hocking) needed just 2:30 to establish its 12-0 lead, but the Wahama (1-8, 1-4) claimed the next five points and trailed by seven with 3:30 left in the first. WHS didn’t score again in the period, however, as the Rebels stretched their lead to 16-5 by the end of the stanza.
The White Falcons were back to within single digits after opening the second quarter with a two-pointer, but SGHS claimed the next 10 points and led 26-7 with 3:45 left in the half. WHS earned six of the next seven points, but surrendered an 11-to-3 run to close the half, and headed into the break behind 38-16.
South Gallia outscored its host by an 8-to-4 count in the third period and headed into the finale with a 46-20 edge.
The Rebels led by as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter and cruised to the 64-34 victory.
Following the triumph, SGHS head coach Kent Wolfe commended his team for putting together a full 32 minutes of basketball.
“In the two years I’ve been here, that’s probably the best overall game we’ve played from opening buzzer to the final buzzer,” Wolfe said. “Our press was effective, we got the ball moving up and down the floor, and had some nice steals. Everybody contributed tonight, it wasn’t just an individual effort, it was everybody we put in the ball game. That first half, you hold Wahama to 16 points with the two guards that they have, I was really happy with our defensive performance.”
For the White Falcons, head coach Ron Bradley acknowledged his team simply wasn’t up to the challenge South Gallia presented.
“We didn’t match their effort and intensity from the very beginning, and that’s the tale of the game,” Bradley said. “Their kids came to play, and played hard. I told our kids ‘you’ve got to match the other team’s intensity, you have to match their physicality, and you have to match their hustle.’ We didn’t do it, and as a result, you see the score.”
For the game, South Gallia shot 28-of-63 (44.4 percent) from the field, including 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) from three-point range, while Wahama was 15-of-45 (33.3 percent) from the field, including 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Both teams shot six foul shots, the Rebels making three for 50 percent, and the White Falcons sinking two for 33.3 percent.
SGHS earned a 36-to-23 rebounding advantage, which included 14-to-6 on the offensive glass. The Rebels committed just nine turnovers, 10 fewer than Wahama. The guests combined for team totals of 14 assists, 14 steals and four rejections, while WHS ended with nine assists, three steals and four blocked shots.
Leading the Rebels, Braxton Hardy scored 17 points and dished out five assists. Eli Ellis recorded 11 points and seven rebounds in the win, while Jared Burdette and Nick Hicks added nine points apiece.
Garrett Saunders — who led the Rebel defense with six steals and a rejection — scored seven points for the guests, while Christian Mayse came up with six points and seven boards. Rounding out the winning total were Kyle Northup with three points and Austin Day with two.
Abram Pauley paced the White Falcon offense with 11 points and five assists. Brayden Davenport and Jacob Warth scored six points apiece for the hosts, while Dakota Belcher marked four points and a team-best five rebounds.
Jacob Lloyd earned three points in the setback, while Cooper Peters and Brady Bumgarner had two apiece. Peters led the WHS defense with a steal and a block.
While not the evening the White Falcons were hoping for, Bradley noted that it was nice to see a pair players come off the bench to battle the Rebels.
“I thought we had a couple guys go in and play hard at the end of the game,” Bradley said. “Adam Groves went in and did some good things. Cooper Peters, who has been out with an injury, he went in and played hard. Hopefully as we go along, he can be healthy and he can give us some positive minutes.”
With Friday serving as South Gallia’s first of five road games in the month of January, Wolfe hopes the Rebels can continue to succeed in enemy territory.
“It’s really hard to play here,” Wolfe said. “For us to come out here and play like we did, I just commend the kids so much, they played so hard and so well tonight. Now we have to build from it, it doesn’t get any easier, we’ve got Belpre on Tuesday and Waterford on Friday. The kids are starting to believe in themselves a little bit, we’ve got a lot of road games in January, and it’s nice to win one on the road. No matter where you go, or who you play, this league is pretty balanced.”
These teams will meet again in two weeks at SGHS.
On Tuesday, the Rebels will be home against Belpre, while the White Falcons travel to Federal Hocking.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.