GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — For the fourth time in five years the Ohio Valley Christian boys basketball team is the OCSAA southeast regional champion.
The Defenders defeated East Richland Christian by a count of 56-45 Friday night in the Old French City to advance to the final four.
The Lions connected on two three-pointers in the opening quarter but OVCS took the 14-8 lead at the end of the first. The Defenders pushed its lead to 30-17 at halftime with a 16-to-9 run in the second period.
Ohio Valley Christian pushed its lead to 35-19 three minutes into the second half but the Lions went on a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 37-31 at the end of the third quarter.
East Richland cut the lead to four points early in the fourth quarter but the Defenders marked 19 points in the finale to hold off the Lions and take the 56-45 triumph.
Ohio Valley Christian was led by T.G. Miller with 19 points and Marshall Hood with 15. Miller and Hood combined for all 19 of the Defenders fourth quarter points. Dillon Ragan marked seven points, Elijah McDonald added three and Evan Bowman rounded out the OVCS total with two points.
The Lions were led by Joel Mott with 18 points and Jeremiah Mott with 10. Logan Lish had eight points, Trevor Hamm added six, Ian Burke marked two, while George Bell rounded out the total with one point.
The Defenders will face the winner of the Northeast regional on Friday at Ohio Christian University.