Belpre holds off rally to down White Falcons

BELPRE – Entering the final eight minutes of play with an eight-point lead, host Belpre held off a rally from visiting Wahama to pull out a 74-72 Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division victory.

The Golden Eagles, now 9-8 overall and 9-4 in divisional play, return to action tonight when they travel to Warren Local for a 7:30 p.m. showdown with their Washington County rivals while the White Falcons (6-10) will look to rebound at home against visiting Trimble on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Wahama jumped out to a 5-4 lead with 5:33 left in the opening quarter on buckets by Austin Jordan and Trenton Gibbs and a free throw from Hunter Bradley, but that would be the White Falcons last lead until a Wyatt Zuspan triple put the Mason Countians on top by one, 65-64, with 3:18 left in the game.

Dakota Hoffman,who finished with a game-high 27 points, returned the lead back to the Orange and Black with a short jumper 23 seconds later and the senior would make sure his Golden Eagles would stay on top by scoring six of Belpre’s final eight points of the game.

The two TVC Hocking Division rivals battled to an 18-18 tie after the first quarter as Bradley tossed in eight of his team-high 20 points while Hoffman netted the same number of points for the Golden Eagles.

Belpre would open the second eight minutes of action with an 11-2 run to take a 29-20 lead on a Nick Therriault trey with 5:15 left until the intermission. But, the White Falcons would claw themselves back into the game and knotted the score at 39 when Zuspan took a Bradley feed and hit an inside bucket with 16 ticks showing on the clock.

The hosts would open the third quarter of action with another run-this time jumping out to a 56-45 advantage on a Ryan Leasure triple with 4:45 left in the period-only to have Wahama slice the deficit to eight on a three-point play by Jordan with 38.2 left in the quarter.

It would be the White Falcons turn to open a quarter with a surge as Gibbs ignited an 11-2 spurt by the visitors with a one-for-two showing at the free throw line. Zuspan’s second of three triples in the period gave the Falcons only their second lead of the game, 65-64, but it would be a shortlived one.

Joining Hoffman in double figures for Belpre were Therriault with 19 points and Bryce Pittenger with 12. Wahama was led by Bradley’s double-double (20 points, 10 assists) while Jordan chipped in with 19 points and Zuspan added 16.