PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — In the end, there just wasn’t enough time … even after a month off.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team trailed by 17 points entering the finale of its first game since Dec. 4, but the Blue Devils took things down to the wire before ultimately dropping a 58-55 decision to host Portsmouth in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Scioto County.
The visiting Blue Devils (1-2, 0-1 OVC) built a quick 4-0 lead in the opening minutes of regulation, but the Spartans (4-2, 3-2) reeled off 18 consecutive points while extending a 14-4 first quarter lead out to 18-4 early in the second frame. PHS then made a small 15-13 run to close out the half for a 33-17 intermission advantage.
Brody Fellure scored six points for GAHS in the third frame, but Portsmouth still made an 18-17 run while extending its lead out to 51-34 headed into the fourth.
Cooper Davis netted seven points for Gallia Academy as the guests made a 21-7 surge down the stretch and managed to pull within 56-53 with about a minute left in regulation.
The hosts — who went just 3-of-10 at the free throw line in the finale — made 2-of-4 attempts in the final minute and built a 5-point lead that was trimmed back down to a single possession when the Blue Devils netted a final basket just before the buzzer.
The Trojans were outrebounded by a 32-31 overall margin, but claimed a 14-7 edge on the offensive glass. GAHS also committed 25 of the 40 turnovers in the contest.
The Blue Devils connected on 20-of-43 field goal attempts for 47 percent, including a 4-of-14 effort from behind the arc for 29 percent. The guests were also 11-of-17 at the free throw line for 65 percent.
Isaac Clary led Gallia Academy with 13 points and a team-best seven rebounds, followed by Davis with 11 points and Carson Call with seven markers. Call also dished out a team-high seven assists.
Fellure, Trenton Johnson and Kenyon Franklin were next with six points apiece, while Noah Vanco and Wesley Saunders completed the scoring with three markers each.
Portsmouth made 21-of-57 shot attempts for 37 percent, including a 6-of-20 effort from 3-point territory for 30 percent. PHS also netted 10-of-19 at the charity stripe for 53 percent.
Chris Duff paced the Trojans with a game-high 23 points, followed by Miles Shipp with 10 points. Amare Johnson and Drew Roe were next with seven markers each, while Daewin Spence and Donavon Carr respectively added four and three points.
Dariyonne Bryant and Devin Lattimore finished the winning tally with two points apiece.
Gallia Academy makes its home debut on Friday when it hosts Chesapeake in an OVC contest at 7 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.