MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Crunch time is where games are won.
The Symmes Valley boys basketball team out scored SGHS 9-to-2 over the final four minutes of Friday night’s game to take the 51-44 victory over non-conference host South Gallia.
The Vikings (4-3) began the game with a 13-to-2 run over the first four minutes of the game to gain the early momentum. South Gallia (3-4) answered with an 11-to-2 run to end the opening stanza, trimming the SVHS lead to just two points.
The Vikings picked their defense up in the second quarter, holding SGHS to just six points, while scoring 14 of their own. Symmes Valley held a 10 point halftime edge.
SVHS opened the second half with a quick bucket extending its lead to 12 points. South Gallia scored 12 straight points to tie the game at 31. Symmes Valley got back on track with a two-pointer to break the tie but the Rebels hit back-to-back threes to take their first lead of the game. SVHS hit another two-pointer before the end of the third and SGHS led 37-35.
Symmes Valley battled back and regained the lead with 3:44 remaining in regulation. South Gallia managed to tie the game but never regained a lead and SVHS took the 51-44 victory.
“We just didn’t execute when we had to,” South Gallia coach Larry Howell said after the game. “We had plenty of opportunities to tie the game we didn’t make the shots and we turned the ball over. Our effort is good we’re just not executing when we get opportunities.”
South Gallia was led by Brayden Greer with 13 points, Kody Lambert with 12 points and Ethan Swain with 11 points. Landon Hutchinson, Michael Wheeler, Alex Stapleton, and CJ Johnston each finished with two points to round out the SGHS scoring.
The Rebels connected on six three-pointers in the game led by Lambert with four. Swain and Greer each had one three-pointer. South Gallia was 4-of-8 (50 percent) from the free throw line in the game.
“If we play a great defensive possession we have to take advantage of that and execute offensively and we didn’t do that tonight,” said Howell. “They play so hard, their never out of the game because of their energy. Once we learn how to execute we’re gonna win some games.”
The Vikings were led by Tyler Rowe, who finished with 21 points including 11 in the fourth quarter. Austin Baldwin had 12 points, DJ Miller finished with 11, Dylan Malone had five and Seth Jarrell finished with two.
SVHS converted on four three-point attempts on the night led by Miller with three. Malone had one three-pointer.Symmes Valley was 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) from the charity stripe in the contest.
“I was so proud of the kids I’ve coached before, the job coach Howell did, and I was really proud of my kids that I’m coaching now,”Saunders said. One improvement they’ve made is when the game got a little rowdy we kept control of ourselves and came back.
Saunders, who left South Gallia in the offseason, led the Rebels to four sectional championships and a district final in his eight year tenure.
“I was glad to be home,” Symmes Valley coach Donnie Saunders said. “You can’t beat leaving home and getting to go home.”