Prep boys basketball: Belpre drills Waterford, 73-48

BELPRE – Senior point guard Dakota Hoffman scored a career-high 30 points-20 in the second half-as Belpre rolled over visiting Waterford by a 73-48 margin Friday night, finishing a win short in its quest for a second straight TVC Hocking Division title.

After Hoffman, the Golden Eagles, now 12-9 overall, got 14 points from Bryce Pittenger and 12 from Nick Therriault, while Waterford (7-12, 4-11 TVC Hocking) was led by Austin Shriver with 12 points, followed by Brian Moore with 11 and Cody Paxton with 10.

Belpre, at 12-4 in the league, came in second, a game behind new Hocking champion Federal Hocking with three losses.

Friday, the Golden Eagles got off to a good start on Senior Night, bursting out to an 11-2 lead while dominating the boards.

The score mounted to 16-5 on a Pittenger hoop at 6:23 of the second stanza, before the Wildcats rallied behind Paxton to cut their deficit down to 18-12 by the 4:36 mark,

But then Belpre got rolling again in the final 4:13 of the half with a 16-2 run up to the halftime horn to zoom out to a 34-14 spread at intermission. In the spurt, Therriault and Hoffman scored all the points, each with eight, to fuel the run.

The third quarter saw Hoffman can three of his five treys as Belpre moved ahead by 25.

And although a Shriver 3-ball with 58.5 seconds left in the period made it only a 14-point (49-35) game, 15 of the next 18 points belonged to the Golden Eagles, who soared out to a commanding 64-38 lead with 4:14 to play with Hoffman’s nine points sparking the decisive run.

Belpre head coach Jordan Thornhill praised Hoffman’s work ethic after the game. ”He’s worked extremely hard and his confidence has come such a long way that he deserves tonight.

”I think too our seniors were determined for maximum effort on every defensive possession on Senior Night tonight, and Dakota was the difference in the game.

”It was also the first time that our big guys (Ryan Leasure and Pittenger) played like dominant big guys. We had 30 rebounds between the two of them, Ryan with 17 and Bryce with 13.”

Belpre next plays on Tuesday in the Division III sectional tournament at Athens High School versus River Valley at 6:15 p.m.