MASON, W.Va. — The start made all the difference in the end.
The Wahama boys basketball team jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back Tuesday night during a 71-55 victory over visiting Eastern in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Mason County.
The White Falcons (3-7, 2-5 TVC Hocking) shot 49 percent from the field and had nine different players score in the wire-to-wire decision, as the hosts built an early 14-point lead just over five minutes into regulation.
The Eagles (0-11, 0-8) missed their first 12 field goal attempts and went just 1-of-14 overall in the first quarter, which resulted in a 20-6 deficit after eight minutes of play. EHS opened the second canto with a basket to pull within 12 at the 7:30 mark, but the guests were never closer the rest of the way.
WHS countered with a 20-11 surge over the final 7:09 of the first half, allowing the White Falcons to secure a comfortable 40-19 cushion at the break.
Wahama forced 11 EHS turnovers in the first half while committing only four giveaways, and the hosts also owned a slim 18-17 edge on the boards at the intermission. WHS netted 47 percent of its shot attempts (16-of-34) in the opening 16 minutes of play, while the Eagles made just 5-of-29 floor attempts for 17 percent.
The White Falcons claimed their biggest lead of the night at 28 points after Ryan Thomas netted a layup with 6:19 remaining in the third, making it a 47-19 contest. Eastern, however, closed the period with a 15-9 run to pull to within 56-34 entering the finale.
The Eagles whittled their deficit down to 15 points (66-51) after Daschle Facemyer sank a free throw with 2:57 left in regulation, but Wahama closed things out with a 5-4 spurt to wrap up the 16-point triumph.
The White Falcons were outrebounded by a 40-36 overall margin that also included a 17-10 deficit on the offensive glass, but the hosts committed just nine turnovers in the game — compared to 13 by EHS.
Wahama connected on 29-of-59 field goal attempts overall, including a 5-of-14 effort from three-point range for 36 percent. The hosts were also 8-of-18 at the free throw line for 44 percent.
Hunter Bradley led the White Falcons with a game-high 15 points, followed by Wyatt Zuspan with 14 points and Hunter Rose with 12 markers. Ryan Thomas was next with eight points, while Ben Foreman contributed seven markers to the winning cause.
Michael Hendricks and Derek Hysell each chipped in four points and Brent Larck added two markers, while Ricky Kearns rounded out the scoring with one point.
Eastern made just 18-of-66 shot attempts for 27 percent, including a 3-of-21 effort from behind the arc for 14 percent. The guests were also 16-of-23 at the charity stripe for 70 percent.
Jett Facemyer and Cameron Richmond both paced EHS with 14 points apiece, followed by Christian Speelman with 10 markers. Daschle Facemyer was next with seven points, while Chase Jenkins contributed four markers in the setback.
Andrew Stobart, Greyson Wolfe and Dylan Swatzel had two points each to round out the Eastern tally. The guests outscored Wahama 40-31 over the final 17:10 of the contest.