THE PLAINS, Ohio — Rebounding leads the Golden Eagles back to the sectional final.
The Belpre boys basketball team out rebounded River Valley 37-to-24 Tuesday night in a 43-32 victory over the Raiders in the sectional semi-final held at Charles McAfee Gymnasium on the campus of Athens High School.
The Golden Eagles (13-9) scored eight points through the first 5:30 of the game, while holding RVHS (3-20) scoreless. River Valley scored back to back buckets in to close the quarter trailing 8-4.
The Raiders scored the opening basket of the second quarter but Belpre went on a 10-0 run, expanding the lead to 12 with 3:00 remaining in the half. The Silver and Black closed the first half with a 4-to-2 spurt and trailed 20-10 at the midway point. The Raiders shot just 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) in the first half of play.
After the intermission BHS went on a 10-to-4 run that put their lead at 16 midway through the third period. River Valley was able to out score BHS 5-to-3 over the remainder of the third but the Golden Eagles hed the 32-19 advantage with eight minutes remaining.
The Raiders had their best offensive period of the night in the fourth, as they turned the ball over just once while shooting 5-of-15 from the field. River Valley out scored Belpre 13-to-10 in the final period but the Orange and Black claimed the 43-32 victory.
“The rebounding hurt us, especially in the first half,” River Valley coach Jordan Hill said. “We out rebounded them the first game but we knew coming in with their size and they style of defense that we play, rebounding was going to be critical. We didn’t get the job done in the first half and compound that with our shooting percentage, that adds up to the final score.”
The Raiders were led by freshman Tyler Twyman with 10 points in the game, followed by John Qualls and Seann Roberts with eight apiece. Joseph Loyd, Jacob Gilmore and Brycen Hatfield each marked two points, rounding out the RVHS scoring.
The Sliver and Black shot 14-of-50 (28 percent) from the field, including 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc. Twyman and Qualls each accounted for a pair of RVHS triples. River Valley was 0-of-1 from the charity stripe with Qualls attempting the lone free throw on an and-1 situation in the first period. RVHS turned the ball over 14 times in the game.
The Golden Eagles were led by Nick Therriault, Ryan Leasure and Dakota Hoffman with 10 points each, while Bryce Pittenger had eight. Sam Petty added five points, rounding out the BHS scoring.
Belpre shot 16-of-44 (36.4 percent) from the field, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. Hoffman accounted for both Golden Eagle three’s. BHS was 9-of-14 from the free-throw line for 64.3 percent. Belpre turned over the 14 times in the game.
River Valley was victorious in the first meeting between these teams, which was held at Marietta College as part of the Ohio River Classic. The Raiders won that game 56-52, while holding a 25-16 rebounding advantage in the contest. RVHS shot over 51 percent (23-of-45) in that game.
This marks the final game for River Valley seniors Ethan Dovenbarger, Jacob Gilmore, Joesph Loyd, Kyle Bays and Zack Crow. “Obviously, when you lose any group of seniors it’s disappointing,” noted Hill.
The victory makes it a season-high three in a row for the Washington County team, while RVHS finishes its season on a seven game skid. This is the first non-conference victory for Belpre this season, as they were 0-5 against non-Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division teams before Tuesday.
Belpre will now face Zane Trace in the sectional final at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Athens High School. This game will be a rematch of last season’s sectional final in which Zane Trace won 57-43.