MASON, W. Va. — A night after the year’s first snowstorm swept through, it was raining three-pointers at Gary Clark Court.
And, that was definitely a good thing for the host Wahama White Falcons on Friday night.
Spearheaded by nine three-point goals, and an attack-the-basket approach, Wahama handled the Miller Falcons for a season-high in points — winning easily 81-55 in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division boys basketball tilt.
In addition to the nine trifectas, the 81 points amassed by the White Falcons surpasses their season-high — previously set at 79 against Federal Hocking on Dec. 20.
The White Falcons trailed just twice at 2-0 and 7-5, scored at least 14 points in each quarter, and eventually extended their advantage to as large as 80-48 in the contest’s final few minutes.
With the victory, Wahama evened its record to 4-4 — and 3-3 in the TVC-Hocking.
It was a much-needed win for the White Falcons, which had endured a difficult two weeks in the win-loss column.
Wahama held a double-digit lead against visiting Point Pleasant on Dec. 27 — only to see the archrival intra-county Big Blacks rally back and win that bout at the buzzer.
Two days later, the power went out with 5:13 remaining in its matchup at Hannan — leaving that affair in limbo as far as even being completed.
Then, TVC-Hocking frontrunner Waterford steamrolled the White Falcons 82-40 on Tuesday night.
However, it all went Wahama’s way this time.
“Tonight was a good night,” said Wahama coach Ron Bradley. “We’ve had leads in a lot of basketball games this season — — 10 or 12-point leads and we’ve squandered them a few times. But tonight, we shot the ball extremely well the entire game. Then in the second half, we did an excellent job of taking charge and not letting them ease back into it.”
Wahama held a 20-13 lead following the opening quarter, then outscored the Falcons 14-9 in the second stanza to lead 34-22 at halftime.
Simply put, on a cold night, it was a red-hot sizzling shooting exhibition by the White Falcons.
Wahama was 21-of-28 from inside the arc for a scorching 75-percent, and was almost as fantastic from three-point range at 9-of-13 (69-percent).
And, all of this was done with its leading scorer — senior Philip Hoffman — hitting just four field goals for eight points.
Hoffman, who was impacted a bit by foul trouble, had a box-and-one defense applied against him.
That allowed other White Falcons to score and make shots against Miller’s zone, as nine players reached the scoring column — with eight making at least one field goal.
“They played a box-and-one on Philip (Hoffman), given how well he has been shooting the basketball and scoring for us. We stuck with our regular zone offense and the other kids did a great job of knocking down the open shots. That’s what you have to do when a team tries to take somebody away,” said Bradley. “The other guys have to step up and they did a tremendous job tonight. And Philip did a great job of letting his teammates pick it up.”
Wahama won the third frame 18-10 for a 52-32 bulge after three, before finally racking up 29 points in the fourth period for the 81-55 final.
For the final eight-and-a-half minutes, Wahama was in the bonus free-throw situation — and made 10-of-15 in that span.
Noah Litchfield lit up Miller for a third of the White Falcons’ points, pouring in 27 on nine total field goals and a perfect 8-of-8 free throws.
In fact, Litchfield finished with 16 points in the third quarter — 14 in the final 4:05 and 11 in the final 1:06.
His three-pointer pushed the lead to 43-28, as his old-fashioned point-play at the 1:06 mark made it 46-32.
In the final 30.6 seconds of the canto, Litchfield landed 4-of-4 free throws, then beat the buzzer with a layup after making a nice loose-ball steal.
“Noah does a great job of getting inside and finishing,” said Bradley. “A lot of times he gets body-fouled, and never seems to get a (foul) call. In the second half, when they had their big kid (Seattle Compston) guarding him, we wanted to spread the floor and get the ball in his hands and let him go to work. He did a great job.”
Litchfield finished 9-of-12 from the field himself, as Mason Hildreth hit half of Wahama’a half-dozen first-half treys.
He was 5-of-6 from the field for 13 points, while Randy Lantz (five field goals for 11 points), Travis Kearns (three field goals for nine points) and Jacob Lloyd (two field goals for seven points) also landed three-balls apiece in the first half.
Lantz’s triple gave the White Falcons the lead for good at 8-7 —with four-and-a-half minutes left in the first quarter.
In fact, for the game’s final 23 minutes and 13 seconds, Miller never got closer than a five-point deficit (20-15).
“Mason Hildreth hit some big threes early on in the game when Miller was in that box-and-one. If you let somebody sit in that and your other shooters get timid, it can really hurt you,” said Bradley. “But our kids stepped up and played an excellent ballgame.”
Litchfield drained his three in the third frame, while Kearns canned another and Isaiah Pawley popped one in the fourth.
Tyler Baumgarner with a fourth-quarter basket, and Anthony Ortiz on a final-period foul shot, rounded out the Red and White scoring.
Wahama held a 30-23 advantage in total field goals, and meshed as many foul shots (12) as Miller even attempted.
Seattle Compston, on eight total field goals and a pair of fourth-quarter freebies, paced the Falcons (2-6, 2-3 TVC-Hocking) with 19 points.
Carson Starlin scored six buckets for a dozen points, while Alec Eveland and Colby Bartley both bagged six.
Wahama will return to TVC-Hocking Division action on Tuesday (Jan. 10) — when it travels to South Gallia.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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