Tomcats slip past South Gallia, 62-61

By Alex Hawley -

GLOUSTER, Ohio — The Rebels simply ran out of time.

The South Gallia boys basketball team never led in the second half of Friday night’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division showdown with host Trimble, but the Rebels were on an 11-4 run when the final buzzer sounded and the Tomcats claimed the 62-61 victory.

The Tomcats (17-3, 13-2 TVC Hocking) — who sit tied with Waterford atop the nine-team league — led 15-to-8, eight minutes into play. SGHS (15-5, 11-4) outscored its host 16-to-11 in the second canto and trailed by a narrow 26-24 margin at halftime.

Trimble surged for 23 points in the third quarter, and led 49-40 with eight minutes to play. THS pushed the lead to 11 with the opening basket of the fourth period, but South Gallia scored seven straight points to cut the margin to 51-47.

The Tomcats scored seven of the next 10 points, gaining some breathing room at 58-50 with 2:21 left in regulation. Over the next two minutes, SGHS outscored Trimble 6-to-1, making the THS lead 59-56 with 21 seconds remaining.

Trimble’s 61-58, three-point lead was stretched to four with a Cody Jones free throw with 7.8 seconds on the clock. South Gallia senior Joseph Ehman hit a trifecta on the next Rebel possession, but time expired before Trimble had to inbound the ball and the Tomcats escaped with the 62-61 win.

SGHS was led by center Darren Drenner with 16 points and six rebounds, followed by Landon Hutchinson with 14 points and five assists. Ehman also marked 14 points for the visitors, while Kane Hutchinson finished with 10 points and six boards. Cory Rhodes scored three points for the Rebels, while Dominick Johnson and Caleb Henry both marked two points in the setback.

The Rebel defense was led by Ehman and Kane Hutchinson with two steals apiece.

South Gallia made 9-of-10 (90 percent) free throw attempts and 23-of-51 (45.1 percent) field goal attempts, including 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) three-point tries. As a team, SGHS recorded 30 rebounds, nine assists, six steals, two blocks and 17 turnovers.

Bryce Guthire led the victors with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocked shots, while Justice Jenkins added 13 points and four assists. Jones also scored 13 points for the Red and Silver, while Randy Hixon marked eight and Tyler Sayre added four. Tyler Slack and Kameron Curry rounded out the THS offense with two points apiece in the win.

The Tomcats shot 14-of-25 (56 percent) from the free throw line and 23-of-44 (52.3 percent) from the field, including 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc. Collectively, the hosts marked 24 rebounds, 11 assists, 12 steals, five blocks and 13 turnovers.

Trimble also defeated the Rebels on February 6, by a 61-51 final in Mercerville.

The Rebels — who were officially knocked out of contention for the league title with the loss — will wrap up their regular season on Monday when Wahama visits Gallia County. SGHS topped the White Falcons by a 63-57 count, in Mason on January 8.

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.

By Alex Hawley