GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The hosts had a shot to win it, but it just wasn’t to be.
The Ohio Valley Christian boys basketball team fell to visiting Covenant by a 44-42 clip on Friday night in Gallia County, with the potential game-winning three-pointer missing its mark.
The Defenders (5-11) scored the first five points of the night and were ahead 10-6 eight minutes into play.
Covenant (5-5) claimed the first five points in the second quarter for its first lead of the night, but Ohio Valley Christian was back in front after a two-pointer by Mark Oliver with 5:34 left in the half. The Eagles took the lead back 20 seconds later, and led for the rest of the half, taking a 22-17 edge into the break.
The guests started the second half with a 5-0 run for their largest lead of the night, at 27-17. OVCS answered with a 7-to-2 run, and trailed by five points with 1:41 left in the third. Covenant, however, claimed four of the final six points of the period and took a 33-26 edge into the finale.
Ohio Valley Christian started the fourth with a 10-to-2 spurt and took its final lead, at 36-35, on a free throw by Bradley Haley with 2:53 left in regulation. Covenant immediately answered with a two-pointer by Nate Beilstein and the guests never trailed again.
The Defenders tied the game at 37, 39 and 42, but a pair of free throws by Tyler Farley with nine seconds remaining gave the Eagles the 44-42 victory.
OVCS connected on 13-of-50 (26 percent) field goal attempts, including 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) three-point tries, while Covenant shot 19-of-64 (29.7 percent) from the field, including 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) from deep.
The Blue and Gold were 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the free throw line, where the guests were 5-of-17 (29.4 percent), not making two free throws in the same trip to the stripe until their final visit.
The Defenders won the rebounding battle by a 43-to-35 count, despite giving up a 20-to-15 edge in offensive boards. OVCS turned the ball over 30 times, 12 more than Covenant. The hosts combined for 12 steals, nine assists and two blocked shots, while the Eagles had 26 steals, nine rejections and eight assists.
Oliver led Ohio Valley Christian with a double-double of 23 points and 20 rebounds, to go with two steals and a rejection. Haley scored six points and claimed a team-best six steals, while Conner Walter and Austin Beaver scored five each, with Walter corralling nine rebounds. Jeremiah Swab recorded three points and a team-best four assists for the Blue and Gold.
Beilstein led the guests with 13 points, followed by Josh Roten with nine points and eight rebounds. Myles Dickinson recorded eight points and eight boards in the win, D.J. Scarberry added seven points and nine rebounds, Farley finished with four points, and Mackey Herbert scored three.
Leading the guests on defense, Beilstein had eight steals and one block, Josh Roten marked six steals and three blocks, while Dickinson tallied a trio of steals and a quartet of blocks.
Covenant also defeated OVCS earlier this season, winning 66-35 on Dec. 2 in Barboursville.
Next for Ohio Valley Christian, a trip to Belpre on Tuesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.