MERCERVILLE, Ohio —Despite the slow start, the Rebels are back in the win column.
The South Gallia boys basketball team trailed by eight points after four minutes of play in Friday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division tilt in Gallia County, but the host Rebels shook it off and snapped their two-game skid with a 58-48 victory over Federal Hocking.
The Lancers (0-4, 0-2 TVC Hocking) scored the first six points of the game and stretched their advantage to 10-2 by the four minute mark. South Gallia (3-2, 2-1) scored five straight points to make it a one possession game, but Federal Hocking tallied the final two points of the quarter and headed into the second with a 12-7 edge.
After a Rebel two-pointer to start the stanza, The Maroon and Gold hit back-to-back buckets and led 16-9 with 6:30 left in the half. FHHS was held without a field goal for the remainder of the period, as the Rebels went on an 11-to-2 run to take a 20-18 lead into halftime.
South Gallia — which never trailed in the second half — connected on a trio of three-pointers in the third quarter, stretching their lead to 38-31 with eight minutes to play.
SGHS made its advantage double-digits with a 6-to-3 run to start the finale, but the Lancers cut the margin back to six points with six minutes to play. However, Federal Hocking never got closer, as the Rebels closed the 58-48 win with a 14-to-9 spurt.
Second-year SGHS head coach Kent Wolfe talked about using last season’s home loss to the Lancers as added motivation for his team, and what eventually propelled his squad to victory.
“They came in last year and beat us here,” Wolfe said. “We were looking to take care of some business here. We got off to a poor start, but our defense kept us in it. We wanted to rely on the three-point shot too much early, but then we started taking it inside.
“I thought our half court defense was very good. They do a great job with ball-screens and rolling off of ball-screens, that hurt us a couple of times, but overall we did a real nice job on it.”
Along with his team’s defense, Wolfe also noted that changing the tempo helped the Rebels seal their third win of the year.
“I thought the press got it to a tempo that we like, 20-18 at halftime is not our tempo,” Wolfe said. “We were able to press, get some shots, make some and get the tempo where we wanted it. Federal Hocking has a very nice team, they do a very nice job controlling the tempo, but I thought we did a good job in spurts of pushing the tempo and making them a little bit uncomfortable.”
The Rebels made 21-of-55 (38.2 percent) of their field goal attempts, including 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) three-point tries. FHHS shot 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) from the field, including 3-of-20 (15 percent) from deep. SGHS was 9-of-18 (50 percent) from the foul line, where the Lancers were 9-of-12 (75 percent).
Federal Hocking won the rebounding battle by a 35-to-26 clip, including a narrow 9-to-8 edge in offensive boards. South Gallia finished with team totals of 13 assists, nine steals, one rejection and 16 turnovers, while the Lancers combined for 12 assists, seven steals, two rejections and 19 turnovers.
SGHS senior Braxton Hardy led the hosts with 15 points, coming on one triple, five two-pointers and a pair of free throws. Jared Burdette drained a game-best four three-pointers on his way to 13 points, while Garrett Saunders finished with 11 points and seven assists, after scoring nine in the final quarter.
Kyle Northup contributed seven points to the winning cause, while Christian Mayse, Nick Hicks and Eli Ellis chipped in with four apiece.
Ellis pulled in a team-best eight rebounds, Hicks led the Rebels with three steals, while Burdette claimed the team’s lone rejection.
Brad Russell led the guests with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Hunter Smith marked 12 points for the Lancers, Wes Carpenter added eight, while Colin Jarvis finished with six points and five assists. Elijah Lucas scored four for FHHS, while Quinton Basem and Ian Miller ended with two points each.
Miller led the Lancer defense with three steals, while Russell and Smith both added a block.
The Rebels will look to make it a season sweep when these teams meet on Feb. 1 in Stewart.
After hosting River Valley on Saturday, the Rebels will welcome Ohio Valley Christian to Mercerville on Tuesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.