Belpre defeats South Gallia

BELPRE-Belpre’s Dakota Hoffman decided to take matters into his own hands Wednesday night at the Golden Eagles’ gym as the senior tallied a game-high 22 points-11 in the final eight minutes of play-to lead Belpre to a 61-54 win over Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division rival South Gallia.

Trailing by one, 50-49, after a Brayden Greer deuce with 2:20 left on the clock, Hoffman hit junior Brennen Ferrell with a perfect feed for an uncontested triple, followed that up with a steal and assist on a Sam Petty layin and finished with a short jump shot as the Eagles went on a 6-0 run over the next 80 seconds to turn the one-point deficit into a six-point, 56-50, lead.

Another bucket by Greer, who scored a team-high 17 points for the Rebels (5-15), sliced the margin to four, 56-52, with 40 second remaining. But, two free throws by Hoffman, two from Nick Therriault and a one-for-two effort at the line from Ryan Leasure was more than enough to hold off South Gallia down the stretch.

With the win Belpre improves to 11-9 overall and 11-4 in the Hocking Division with a home contest against Waterford slated for Friday night.

The game began as expected with each team making small runs during the opening eight minutes of play. Five points from Hoffman and four each from Bryce Pittenger and Leasure was enough to help the Golden Eagles take a slim, two-point (15-13) lead to the sidelines at the horn.

South Gallia kept the game close behind the three-point shooting of Kody Lambert, who swished a pair of triples in the period, and the inside play of Ethan Swain. That duo continued to give the Golden Eagles fits in the second quarter as Lambert nailed his third trey of the half and Swain scored a couple of inside buckets to lead the Rebels to a 23-22 lead at the intermission.

The score continued to sway back and forth as Belpre opened the second half with a 5-2 run to take a 27-25 lead on Hoffman’s one-of-two effort at the free throw line with 4:38 showing on the clock.

Next, it was the Rebels’ turn to surge into the lead as a bucket by Swain off of a Michael Wheeler pass and a three-point play by Landon Hutchinson lifted the visitors in front by three, 30-27, with 2:48 left in the quarter.

Five straight points by Hoffman-a triple with 2:30 showing on the clock and a coast-to-coast layin 20 seconds later-sent the hosts back into the lead, 32-30.

South Gallia answered with a bucket by Swain to knot the game at 32 only to have Belpre’s Austin Forshey grab the lead back with a triple with 95 seconds left in the frame. Again the Rebels answered with a three-point play by Hutchinson, but a rebound bucket by Therriault was more than enough to offset a one-for-two effort by Hutchinson at the charity stripe as Belpre headed into the final eight minutes of play leading by one, 37-36.