MASON, W.Va. — This one was truly for the birds.
The Wahama boys basketball team rallied back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and salvaged a season split with visiting Belpre Tuesday night during a 48-46 victory in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Mason County.
The White Falcons (7-9, 6-7 TVC Hocking) held a brief lead in the opening minutes, but the hosts missed their first 16 trifecta tries — allowing the Golden Eagles to control the lead throughout most of regulation.
BHS (8-11, 7-6) took its biggest advantage of the night early in the fourth, as Deijon Bedgood hit a jumper with 7:23 left to give the guests a double-digit cushion of 40-30. Then, Wahama found its touch.
Hunter Bradley netted the hosts’ first three-pointer with 3:54 remaining, capping an 8-2 run that allowed WHS to close the deficit down to 42-38.
Nick Therriault ended a 2:41 scoreless drought for the guests at the 2:38 mark, allowing Belpre to reclaim a two-possession lead at 44-38.
Wyatt Zuspan, however, answered with a trifecta at the 2:28 mark to whittle the deficit back down to three, then Bradley converted an old-fashioned three-point play 13 seconds later — allowing the White Falcons to knot things up at 44-all.
Bradley gave Wahama its first lead since the opening three minutes of regulation with a jumper at the 1:45 mark, but Therriault answered with basket with 33 seconds left — tying the game 46 apiece.
Wahama inbounded the ball and let the clock run down to 12.4 seconds before burning another timeout. On the ensuing possession, Hunter Rose found Bradley open along the baseline.
Bradley drove strong to the hole and released a five-footer that caromed long off the rim and into the hands of teammate Brent Larck, who hauled in the offensive rebound and released the putback attempt. The ball went off the glass and through the net as time expired, allowing Wahama to rally back for the two-point triumph.
The win allowed the White Falcons to finish .500 against Belpre this winter after dropping a 69-56 decision at BHS back on January 10. The victory is also the fifth in the last seven games for Wahama, which owns a 4-2 home record against league opponents this year.
Afterwards, first-year WHS coach Ron Bradley couldn’t say enough about the character and grit that his troops showed Tuesday night.
“This is such a good group of kids. We are gutsy and we work so hard because we may not be as talented as some of these teams we are playing, but we never say die,” Bradley said. “I knew once we got it down to a possession that we had a chance, because you could just see it in their eyes. We were going to win this basketball game.
“I’m proud to be their coach because they always give you everything that they’ve got. Tonight was just an example of the heart that these guys have.”
Wahama trailed 13-9 after eight minutes of play and was down by as many as eight (25-17) midway through the second quarter, but the hosts countered with a 9-4 spurt over the final four minutes to close the halftime deficit down to 29-26.
The Golden Eagles stymied the hosts in the third canto, using a 9-4 run to extend its lead back out to eight at 38-30.
The guests outrebounded WHS by a 32-26 overall margin and committed 21 turnovers in the setback, compared to just 10 giveaways by the victors. Belpre also coughed up a dozen of its 21 miscues in the second half.
Wahama connected on 19-of-55 field goal attempts for 35 percent, including a 2-of-18 effort from three-point range for 11 percent. The White Falcons were also 8-of-15 at the free throw line for 53 percent.
Hunter Bradley led WHS with a game-high 16 points, half of which came in the fourth quarter. Hunter Rose was next with 14 points, while Wyatt Zuspan chipped in 10 markers to the winning cause.
Brent Larck and Ryan Thomas rounded out the scoring with four points apiece. Bradley also hauled in a team-high eight rebounds.
Belpre netted 19-of-46 shot attempts for 41 percent, which included a 7-of-21 effort from behind the arc for 33 percent. The Golden Eagles were also 1-of-4 at the free throw line — all of which came during the third canto — for 25 percent.
Logan Plummer paced BHS with 15 points, followed by Nick Therriault with a double-double performance of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Deijon Bedgood and Brennen Ferrell also added eight and five points, respectively, in the setback.
Therriault missed the final 3:08 of the second quarter after picking up his third foul. Therriault also picked up No. 4 with 3:32 left in regulation.