BUFFALO, W.Va. — The Wahama boys basketball team had its 2012-13 campaign come to an end Wednesday night following a 69-58 setback to host Buffalo in a Class A Region IV, Section 2 semifinal contest at The Barn in Putnam County.
The third-seeded White Falcons (10-13) managed to keep pace with the second-seeded Bison (20-3) for a half, but the guests lost grip of the reins in the third canto — as BHS made a 22-11 charge to turn a three-point halftime lead into a sizable 59-45 cushion headed into the finale.
Wahama managed to pull within seven points with a little over four minutes left in regulation, but Buffalo closed the game with a 10-6 spurt to wrap up its third win over WHS this year while also securing a date at Charleston Catholic in the Section 2 final on Friday night.
Wahama — which lost 75-67 and 100-67 in both previous matchups — played about as well against the eighth-ranked team in the state as possible. But as WHS coach Mike Wolfe noted afterwards, Buffalo has more than enough firepower to get away from any opponent in a very short amount of time.
“We had a real good game plan coming in and our guys executed it to the letter there in the first half,” Wolfe said. “The bottom line is this though. Buffalo is just a little faster than us and they are able to score both inside and out.
“We knew we had to survive some runs, and we did a good job of that until the third quarter. They made that run and it was just too much for us to overcome. I’m proud that my guys played hard and gave it everything they had until the final buzzer tonight.”
There were nine lead changes and five ties in the contest, and all of those came in the opening 16 minutes of play. Wahama also owned the biggest lead for either squad before the break at eight points.
The White Falcons jumped out to an early 4-0 edge, but the Bison countered with a 7-3 run to knot things up at the 5:15 mark of the opening period. Wahama answered with a 5-0 surge over the next 88 seconds for a 12-7 cushion, but Levi Jordan netted three straight trifectas to give the hosts a 16-12 lead with 1:58 remaining in the stanza.
Dylan Rich netted a field goal at the 1:16 mark to give BHS its biggest lead of the first half at 18-12, but Wahama countered with a 6-2 run to close the first quarter trailing by a slim 20-18 margin.
Trenton Gibbs tied the game at 20-all with a field goal 26 seconds into the second period, which sparked an 8-0 run to start the quarter. Another Gibbs basket at the 5:19 mark capped that surge and gave WHS its biggest lead of the night at 28-20.
Buffalo retaliated with a 10-0 charge over the next 2:35 to reclaim the lead at 30-28, but Wahama answered with a small 5-3 spurt for the final tie of the contest at 33-all with 1:23 remaining in the half.
Jordan Fletcher netted a basket at the 1:08 mark, giving BHS a permanent lead at 35-33. The hosts closed the half with a 2-1 run for a 37-34 deficit at the intermission.
The White Falcons made 11-of-29 field goals before the break for 38 percent, including a 6-of-13 effort from three-point range for 46 percent. WHS also had 10 turnovers in the first half, compared to seven by the hosts. BHS made 14-of-35 shot attempts for 40 percent before halftime, including a 6-of-13 performance from behind the arc for 46 percent.
The Bison made their big charge in the opening five minutes of the third quarter, as the hosts went on a 20-5 run for a 57-39 lead with 3:03 left in the period. WHS answered with six straight points to get to within 57-45 with 1:12 remaining, but a Brad Harris basket with eight seconds left allowed Buffalo to secure a 59-45 cushion headed into the fourth.
BHS had four turnovers and 11 missed field goals in the opening three minutes of the finale, and Wahama managed to close to within 59-52 with 4:23 left in the contest. WHS, however, was never closer the rest of the way, as Dylan Rich capped a 10-6 run with a run-out two-handed slam just before the buzzer — allowing the Bison to secure the 11-point decision.
Wahama was 21-of-64 from the field for 33 percent overall, including a 9-of-28 effort from behind the arc for 32 percent. The guests committed 18 turnovers and also went 7-of-15 at the free throw line for 47 percent.
Austin Jordan led WHS with 21 points, followed by Trenton Gibbs with 17 points and Wyatt Zuspan with 14 markers. Hunter Bradley and Dakota Sisk rounded out the scoring with five points and one point, respectively.
Buffalo netted 26-of-67 shot attempts for 39 percent overall, including an 11-of-23 effort from three-point territory for 48 percent. The hosts committed 16 turnovers and also went 6-of-8 at the charity stripe for 75 percent.
Levi Jordan paced BHS with a game-high 30 points, 25 of which came before halftime. Laythen Good was next with 16 points, followed by Dylan Rich with 11 points and Isaiah Robinson with six markers. Brad Harris and Jordan Fletcher rounded out the respective scoring with four and two points.
It was the final basketball game for seniors Austin Jordan, Trenton Gibbs, Jacob Ortiz, Dakota Sisk and Preston Hudnall in the Red and White.
“I’m sure these five young men will go on to do bigger and better things,” Wolfe said. “I’m excited for them in that sense, but I will miss them. They’ve made a lot of great contributions to this program over the years.”
Wahama finished the season with a 7-9 mark in the TVC Hocking Division, which earned a share of sixth place in the standings with Eastern.