MASON, W.Va. — Don’t look now, but the hottest team in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division doesn’t have a winning record.
Then again, the Wahama boys basketball squad has been working real hard over the last few weeks to change all of that.
The host White Falcons — after starting the year 3-7 overall — notched their fourth straight decision while snapping a six-game Southern winning streak Tuesday night with a 59-57 overtime victory in a pivotal TVC Hocking matchup in Mason County.
Wahama (7-7, 6-4 TVC Hocking) never led in regulation and also trailed 45-33 with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter, but WHS held the visiting Tornadoes (10-2, 7-2) scoreless over the final 3:56 while going on a 14-2 charge to tie things up with 1:08 remaining.
Neither team managed a single point over the next 68 seconds, which forced an overtime session with the score tied at 47.
SHS — which led all but 5:10 of regulation by at least four points — scored the opening point of the extra session for a 48-47 edge with 3:39 remaining, but Hunter Oliver answered with a WHS basket at 2:51 for its first lead of the night at 49-48.
That basket sparked a 7-0 run over the next 1:40, as the White Falcons stormed out to their biggest lead of the night at 54-48 with 1:59 remaining.
Trailing 56-51 with 1:26 remaining, SHS caught a break when Wahama coach Mike Wolfe received a technical foul for being out of the coach’s box while disputing a call. Ryan Taylor sank both free throws at the 1:21 mark to pull Southern within a possession (56-53), then Andrew Roseberry added a layup on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit down to one point with 1:07 left.
Oliver sank two free throws with 45 seconds remaining to put the hosts up 58-55, but Roseberry answered with a basket with 36 ticks left for another one-point contest. The Tornadoes, however, never came closer the rest of the way.
Wyatt Zuspan added a free throw with 14 seconds left for a 59-57 edge, and Southern came up empty on its ensuing possession — allowing Wahama to escape with a thrilling come-from-behind win. WHS also avenged an earlier setback to Southern in the season opener at Charles W. Hayman Gymnasium in Racine, a 60-41 setback on Dec. 9.
The Tornadoes jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, then both teams traded 10 points apiece over the final 5:45 of the opening canto — giving the guests an 18-8 edge after one period of play.
SHS kept that momentum going in the second period, as the Tornadoes went on a small 4-2 spurt for their biggest lead of the first half at 22-10 with 4:40 remaining. Wahama, however, countered with a 6-0 run to pull within 22-18 with 3:09 left, then both teams went scoreless overthe remainder of the half.
Southern led by 10 points on three different occasions in the third stanza, and Wahama never came closer than six points in that frame — as the guests used a 15-11 run to take a 37-29 advantage into the fourth quarter. SHS also opened the final period with an 8-4 run to establish its 12-point cushion with 5:25 left in regulation.
Wahama outscored the Tornadoes 26-12 over next nine-plus minutes of the contest, allowing the White Falcons to cap a three-game home stand in style.
The hosts connected on 20-of-50 field goal attempts for 40 percent, including a 2-of-17 effort from three-point range for 12 percent. Wahama was also outrebounded by a 36-28 overall margin, but only committed 14 turnovers in the triumph — two fewer than Southern’s tally of 16 turnovers.
Isaac Lee was held scoreless in overtime, but the senior still led WHS with a game-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Hunter Oliver was next with 18 points, followed by Wyatt Zuspan with 16 points and Tyler Roush with two markers. Wahama was 17-of-20 at the free throw line for 85 percent, including a 7-for-8 effort in the extra session.
Southern made 21-of-55 field goal attempts for 38 percent, including a 4-of-16 effort from beyond the arc for 25 percent. The guests were also 11-of-15 at the charity stripe for 73 percent, but went only 3-of-5 at the line during the overtime period.
Andrew Roseberry paced the Tornadoes with a double-double effort of 17 points and 15 rebounds, followed by Ryan Taylor with 16 points and Marcus Hill with eight markers. Ethan Martin and Chandler Drummer both chipped in six points apiece, while Nathan Roberts rounded out the scoring with four markers.
SHS, with the loss, now trailed Belpre by one game for the league lead, while Wahama now sits tied with Federal Hocking for fourth place in the standings.
Both teams return to TVC Hocking action Friday, as Southern hosts South Gallia and Wahama travels to Waterford for 6 p.m. tipoffs.
Wahama 59, Southern 57 (OT)
S18-4-15-10-10 — 57
W 10-8-11-18-12 — 59
SOUTHERN (10-2, 7-2 TVC Hocking): Ethan Martin 2 1-3 6, Andrew Roseberry 7 3-4 17, Andrew Ginther 0 0-0 0, Ryan Taylor 5 3-4 16, Nathan Roberts 2 0-0 4, Adam Pape 0 0-0 0, Marcus Hill 3 2-2 8, Casey Pickens 0 0-0 0, Chandler Drummer 2 2-2 6. TOTALS: 21 11-15 57. Three-point goals: 4 (Taylor 3, Martin). Field Goals: 21-55 (.382). Rebounds: 36 (Roseberry 15). Turnovers: 16.
WAHAMA (7-7, 6-4 TVC Hocking): Isaac Lee 9 4-4 23, Wyatt Zuspan 6 3-3 16, Tyler Roush 1 0-2 2, Austin Jordan 0 0-0 0, Hunter Oliver 4 10-11 18, Jacob Ortiz 0 0-0 0, D.J. Gibbs 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 20 17-20 59. Three-point goals: 2 (Lee, Zuspan). Field Goals: 20-50 (.400). Rebounds: 28 (Lee 11). Turnovers: 14.