BIDWELL, Ohio — Some problems on the home front.
The River Valley girls basketball team dropped its third straight decision Monday night following a disappointing 50-44 loss to visiting Oak Hill in a non-conference matchup in Gallia County.
The Lady Raiders (7-5) trailed 17-7 after eight minutes of play, but the hosts followed with a 23-11 surge over the next 10-plus minutes en route to a 30-28 cushion with 3:33 remaining in the third period.
The Lady Oaks (5-9), however, reeled off three trifectas as part of an 11-1 run over the final 2:26 — giving OHHS a 39-31 advantage headed into the finale.
RVHS cut the lead down to a possession (43-40) with 3:33 left and came as close as 46-44 with 25.2 seconds remaining, but the hosts ultimately went scoreless the rest of the way. Oak Hill hit 4-of-6 free throws to wrap up the final six-point outcome.
The Lady Raiders had numerous chances to tie things up or even take the lead down the stretch, but those missed opportunities ultimately resulted in a fifth loss over their last seven contests. RVHS — which started the year with five straight wins — also fell to 3-5 in home games.
RVHS coach Sarah Evans-Moore was frustrated with the final outcome afterward, not so much because of effort — but rather because of a lack of execution when it was most needed.
“We started slow and battled back with some really good defense, then we captured the lead and never could really make that defensive stop that we needed from there. Then Oak Hill hit those three-pointers towards the end of the third and that really hurt us,” Evans-Moore said. “We kept battling and had several decent looks that we just didn’t convert. It’s hard to beat a good program when you get six or eight layups and can’t make any of them.”
Bethany Blanton scored eight of Oak Hill’s 17 first quarter points en route to establishing an early double-digit lead, but the hosts answered with an 11-4 spurt in the second canto to close the deficit down to 21-18 at the break.
Courtney Smith gave RVHS its first lead of the night following a basket at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter, making it a 24-23 contest. Both teams traded leads two more times each before ending up at a 28-all tie with 3:45 left, then Leia Moore gave the Silver and Black their final lead with a bucket for a 30-28 contest.
Brianna Blanton tied things at 30-all with a basket at the 2:26 mark, then Bethany Blanton gave the guests a permanent lead with a trifecta at the two-minute mark. Shelby Brown netted a free throw for RVHS, then both Blantons connected on three-pointers to give the Lady Oaks an eight-point cushion headed into the finale.
Brown led River Valley with 14 points, followed by Leia Moore with 12 points and Tianna Qualls with eight markers. Smith and Maggie Campbell each had four points, while Erin Jackson rounded things out with two markers. The hosts were 4-of-6 at the free throw line for 67 percent.
Brianna Blanton led OHHS with a game-high 19 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Bethany Blanton hit four trifectas and finished with 15 markers, while Rileigh Swingle contributed seven points to the winning cause.
Carlee Dempsey and Bailey Ward rounded out the Oak Hill tally with respective efforts of five and four markers. The Lady Oaks were 12-of-22 at the charity stripe for 55 percent.
River Valley returns to action Thursday when it travels to Nelsonville for a TVC Ohio matchup with Lady Buckeyes at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.