CENTENARY, Ohio — Jim Osborne and Norm Persin would have been the opposing coaches the last time it happened, although nobody is quite sure how long ago the feat actually took place — including Jim Osborne and Norm Persin.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team claimed its first victory over Chesapeake since the turn of the millennium on Tuesday night following a resounding 53-31 decision in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both programs in Gallia County.
The Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0 OVC) were simply dominant from the start as the hosts used a balanced inside-out attack to hit six of their first nine shots while strolling out to a 12-0 advantage six minutes into regulation.
The visiting Panthers (0-3, 0-1), on the other hand, missed their first eight shot attempts and came up scoreless on 10 straight possessions to start the night. Casey McComas converted a layup with 11 seconds left in the opening canto to get CHS on the board while closing to within 12-2 after eight minutes of play.
The Purple and White — who entered Tuesday with a perfect 10-0 mark against GAHS under current Chesapeake coach Ryan Davis — never came closer than nine points the rest of the way as the Blue Devils again netted 6-of-9 shot attempts to start the second canto en route to a commanding 25-6 lead.
The Panthers — who went just 3-of-19 from the field in the first half — ended a near three-minute scoreless drought after Jake Stevens converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 54 seconds left, making it a 25-9 contest.
Justin Peck completed a 14-point performance in the first half with a basket just before the buzzer, allowing the Blue and White to take a comfortable 18-point cushion into the intermission.
The Blue Devils shot a blistering 65 percent (13-of-20) from the field before halftime, which included a 1-of-4 effort from behind the arc. All but five of Gallia Academy’s first half points came from the interior duo of Peck and Zach Loveday.
Chesapeake finally broke into double digits on their 28th possession of the game as Stevens canned a three-pointer 32 seconds into the third quarter, but the hosts countered with a 14-5 surge to close out the period for a 43-17 advantage headed into the finale.
The Panthers ended regulation with a small 14-10 run, but never came closer than 20 points (51-31) with 1:06 left. GAHS claimed its biggest lead of 28 points at 40-12 with 3:45 remaining in the third.
After dropping his previous five encounters against CHS by double digits, Harrison admitted that it was nice to have a Panther-sized gorilla off of his back.
He also acknowledged that his troops put in one really solid effort to help make that happen.
“It’s a great win for us. I told the kids that it’s my fourth year here and we’ve never beaten Chesapeake. In fact, I don’t even think we’ve been within 20 points in any of those previous games,” Harrison said. “We felt coming in that they didn’t have anyone that could handle our bigs … and they didn’t. We wanted to get the ball inside and not settle for three-pointers, and we did a really good job of that tonight.
“We came out hot and rode the momentum, and they were cold … and we just kept feeding off of that. Our kids played hard and I’m very happy for them tonight. It’s a good start to league play with a win like this.”
The hosts outrebounded CHS by a favorable 35-27 overall margin, but the Panthers did claim a 16-14 edge on the offensive glass after an 8-1 margin in the fourth quarter. Both teams also committed 15 turnovers in the contest, including eight apiece before the break.
Overall, the Blue Devils made 23-of-47 shot attempts for 49 percent, including a 1-of-6 effort from three-point range for 17 percent. GAHS was also 6-of-9 at the free throw line for 67 percent.
Gallia Academy received a pair of double-double efforts in the triumph, with Peck leading the way with game-highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds. Loveday also added 13 points, 10 boards and six blocked shots for the hosts.
Evan Wiseman was next with six points, while Justin McClelland and Kaden Thomas respectively chipped in four points and three points. Miles Cornwell and Cory Call rounded out the winning tally with two markers each.
Chesapeake connected on 11-of-50 field goal attempts for 22 percent, including a 4-of-22 effort from behind the arc for 18 percent. The guests were also 5-of-9 at the charity stripe for 56 percent.
Stevens paced the Panthers with 13 points, followed by Cecil Fletcher with five points and Tanner Hair with four markers. Austin Jackson was next with three points, while McComas, Eric Hair and Zach Wright rounded things out with two points apiece.
Both Osborne and Persin were contacted afterwards about the last time GAHS defeated Chesapeake, but neither could come up with a definitive answer.
Persin, who left Chesapeake after the 2005-06 campaign, said in an email that he remembered a loss somewhere in the early to mid-1990s — but was not certain on the exact year.
Gallia Academy returns to action Friday when it hosts Rock Hill in an OVC contest at 7:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.