IRONTON, Ohio — Making the most of golden opportunities.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team shot 83 percent from the free throw line and never trailed on Friday night during an impressive 51-46 victory over host Ironton in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Lawrence County.
The Blue Devils (4-6, 2-5 OVC) offset an off-shooting night by coming up clutch at the charity stripe, as the guests sank 20-of-24 free throw attempts over the course of regulation while netting only 35 percent of their field goal attempts.
Despite those offensive struggles, GAHS held the Fighting Tigers (3-3, 3-3) to just two field goals in the opening canto and built a 14-8 edge through eight minutes of play.
The Blue and White hit only two field goals in the second stanza, both of which were 3-point buckets. Kenyon Franklin had one of those trifectas and scored six points as part of a small 13-12 run to close out the half — giving the guests a 27-20 lead at the break.
The Blue Devils made a quick 7-4 push out of the second half gates and established their first double-digit lead at 34-24, but IHS countered with a 12-2 surge to knot things up at 36-all headed into the finale.
GAHS opened the fourth with a 9-4 run and led 45-40, but the Orange and Black countered with four straight points and pulled to within 45-44 with just over a minute left in the regulation.
The guests — behind eight fourth quarter points from Brody Fellure — ended the game with a 6-2 spurt to wrap up the 5-point triumph.
The Blue Devils outrebounded the hosts by a 29-24 overall margin, including a 10-9 edge on the offensive glass. Gallia Academy also committed a dozen of the 26 turnovers in the contest.
GAHS netted 14-of-40 field goal attempts for 35 percent, including a 3-of-16 effort from behind the arc for 19 percent. The Blue and White also went 20-of-24 at the free throw line overall, including a 7-of-8 effort in the final stanza.
Fellure paced the guests with a game-high 14 points and a team-high six assists, followed by Franklin, Cooper Davis and Isaac Clary with 11 markers each. Clary also hauled in a team-best nine rebounds, while Fellure grabbed six caroms as well.
Drake Phillips and Connor Walter completed the winning tally with two points apiece.
Ironton made 17-of-45 shot attempts for 38 percent, including a 2-of-18 performance from 3-point range for 11 percent. The hosts were also 10-of-13 at the charity stripe for 77 percent.
Landon Wilson and Aaron Masters both led IHS with 13 points, followed by Erickson Barnes with eight points and Will York with six markers. Jaxon Vance and Blake Porter completed the respective scoring with four and two points.
Gallia Academy returns to action on Tuesday when it starts a 3-game home stand with Rock Hill at 7 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.