SOUTH POINT, Ohio — In a bit of a cliff-hanger, the Blue Devils managed to hold on.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team won each of the first three quarters, then held off a late charge to claim a 59-57 victory over host South Point on Tuesday night during an Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Lawrence County.
The Blue Devils (9-1, 4-1 OVC) battled back and forth with the Pointers (3-5, 1-3) throughout the course of 32 minutes, but the guests managed to gradually build a two-possession lead that ultimately proved huge down the stretch.
And, in the end, it was a more-balanced approach that landed the Blue and White their fourth consecutive triumph after having seven players reach the scoring column — compared to only five players scoring for SPHS.
Cory Call helped GAHS out of the starting blocks by scoring six points as part of a slim 13-11 first quarter run, then Evan Wiseman netted four points and Zach Loveday added three points during a 13-10 surge that allowed the guests to secure a 26-21 cushion headed into the break.
Loveday and Tayshawn Fox — who scored all but seven of the Pointers’ first half points, including all 10 in the second period — started a personal duel in the second half as each player scored at least 18 points after the break, but Gallia Academy did get a little more help from its collective unit.
Loveday scored a dozen markers and Fox added 14 points for their respective squads in the third canto, and the Blue Devils capitalized with a small 22-21 spurt that gave them a 48-42 edge entering the fourth.
Fox and Loveday finished the fourth with seven and six markers, respectively, but the hosts ended regulation with a 15-11 run. The Blue and Gold, however, ultimately ran out of time as their comeback bid came up one possession short.
It was a game that was decided at the free throw line, though neither team shot the ball particularly well at the charity stripe. GAHS went 13-of-27 for 48 percent, while the hosts netted 15-of-25 freebies for 60 percent.
The Blue Devils made 23 total field goals — all two-pointers — and went 5-of-10 at the free throw line in the fourth period.
South Point, conversely, netted 18 total field goals — including six trifectas — and also went 5-of-10 at the free throw line over the final eight minutes.
Loveday — who was held to seven points in the first half — led the Blue Devils with 25 points, followed by Call with a dozen points.
Wiseman, Caleb Henry, Justin McClelland and Logan Blouir were next with five points apiece, while Kaden Thomas completed the winning tally with two markers.
Fox led the Pointers with a game-high 35 points, followed by Douglas Shaffer with nine points and Austin Webb with seven markers. Chance Gunther, Roger Staggs and Jared Whitt completed the SPHS tally with two points apiece.
Gallia Academy returns to action Saturday when it hosts Washington Court House in a non-conference matchup at approximately 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.