MASON, W.Va. — Missed opportunities.
The Wahama girls basketball team hit just two of its first 21 shot attempts and ultimately never recovered from the slow start Thursday evening during a 52-45 setback to visiting Belpre in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest at Gary Clark Court in Mason County.
The Lady Falcons (2-2, 2-2 TVC Hocking) managed to hit two of their first nine shot attempts while jumping out to a small 5-4 advantage at the 3:39 mark of the first quarter, but the hosts missed their final 10 shots as the Golden Lady Eagles (6-2, 4-1) made a 3-0 run to secure a 7-5 edge through eight minutes of play.
BHS followed by hitting half of its first dozen shot attempts in the second canto, and the Red and White went almost eight minutes without field goal as the guests extended their lead out to 22-12 with 1:03 left in regulation.
Wahama — which had seven turnovers and seven shot attempts in the second frame — ended the half with consecutive baskets and a 4-0 run to close the deficit down to 22-16 at the break.
The Orange and Black hit half of their first eight shot attempts, and a Kaitlin Richards basket at the 3:20 mark made it 31-18.
The Lady Falcons, however, held BHS without a field goal during a 7-1 surge that pulled the deficit down to 32-25 headed into the finale.
Hannah Rose cut the lead down to six points with a free throw 19 seconds in, but Belpre answered with a quick 10-0 run on 5-of-6 shooting that resulted in the largest lead of the game at 42-26 with 5:27 remaining.
Rose — who was limited to 10 points through three frames — followed with a trio of 3-pointers as part of a 14-4 charge over three minutes, allowing the hosts to close within 46-40 with 2:30 left.
Wahama ultimately closed the gap to 49-45 after a pair of Lauren Noble free throws with six seconds left, but Kyna Waderker mustered the last of her 12 fourth quarter points on an old-fashioned 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left — wrapping up the final outcome.
The Lady Falcons currently have seven healthy players, while Belpre was able to use nine different players over the course of the game.
WHS coach John Arnott quickly noted that the start wasn’t beneficial, especially with a limited amount of rest time over the remainder of the game.
But, Arnott was also very impressed with how his troops continued to fight through somewhat of a struggling evening.
“The first quarter killed us, but I was very pleased that the kids didn’t quit,” Arnott said. “We don’t have a lot of depth and that caught up with us, but we still managed to turn some double-digit deficits into a two-possession game.
“We battled through a lot of adversity in this game and we still managed to keep it competitive. Everybody wants to win, but we put ourselves in a position to have a chance at the end. We just need to have a little more balance.”
Wahama outrebounded the guests by a 37-35 overall margin, including a 15-12 edge on the offensive glass. The hosts also committed 23 turnovers, three more than the Lady Golden Eagles.
The Lady Falcons netted 13-of-49 field goal attempts for 27 percent, including a 3-of-7 effort from behind the arc for 43 percent. WHS was also 16-of-24 at the free throw line for 67 percent.
Rose paced Wahama with a game-high 23 points, followed by Emma Gibbs with a double-double effort of 12 points and 16 rebounds. Lauren Noble was next with five points, while Aleisia Barnitz and Harley Roush respectively completed things with four points and one point.
Noble followed Gibbs with seven rebounds and Rose also grabbed five boards. Gibbs also had four blocked shots in the setback.
The Golden Lady Eagles made 22-of-51 shot attempts for 43 percent, including a 2-of-7 effort from 3-point range for 17 percent. BHS was just 6-of-20 at the charity stripe for 30 percent.
Waderker paced Belpre with 22 points and a dozen rebounds, followed by Curstin Giffin with nine markers and six caroms. Richards was next with seven points, while Sydney Spencer and Abbey LaFatch contributed four points apiece.
Wahama returns to action Monday when it hosts Federal Hocking in a TVC Hocking contest at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.