Belpre boys earn win against Wahama

STEVE HEMMELGARN The Marietta Times Belpre’s Cole Knotts (3) guards Wahama’s Brady Bumgarner (23) during the host Golden Eagles’ 69-63 over the White Falcons Tuesday night.

BELPRE — First-year Belpre head boys basketball coach Tyler Leasure gave a lot of the credit for the Golden Eagles’ 69-63 win over visiting Wahama Tuesday night to the talking-to at halftime to the team by some of its seniors without the coaches present.

After that, Belpre, down 38-33 at the half, outscored the White Falcons 36-25 in the second half to notch its first win of the season at home after two losses on the road to start the season.

“We had guys that were passionate at halftime,” said Leasure, “after they had a very sluggish first half and we weren’t really happy with their effort.”

In the Belpre locker room at halftime, captains Bailey Sprague and Cole Knotts “really did a good job, and Nate Godfey as well, stepping up in the locker room while us coaches stood out in the hallway and just kind of let them go for a minute and listened to what they said, and they were dead-on,” said Leasure. “And the players came out ready to play in the second half.”

In the first quarter, the game was close, although Wahama, now 0-2, led 17-12 at the end.

The second stanza saw Jacob Lloyd pop in four treys as the White Falcons built the lead to eight twice and then 10 at 30-20 midway through the period. Still, Belpre got the margin down to three at 36-33 with 24 seconds remaining before a Wahama hoop made it a five-point game at intermission.

Even after “we let them go up by nine (44-35) early in the third quarter, we battled back and did a great job of working together and communicating to eventually get the win,” said Leasure.

Third-quarter-back-to-back baskets by Logan Adams lifted Belpre on top at 45-44 at the 3:18 mark, and a Sprague rebound bucket at 1:13 made it a 47-46 lead for the hosts, but the Eagles were down again, 48-47, with only a quarter left.

After a 50-50 tie, Belpre forged a 56-52 advantage only to see Wahama inch within 57-56 before three straight inside hoops by the Eagles’ 6-6 center Jerimiah Stitt propelled the hosts out to a 63-58 lead with only 2:01 to play.

Then began a foul-shot duel down the stretch, with Belpre never ahead by less than three on only one occasion.

Lloyd paced all scorers with 31 points, with him dropping in six treys, while Belpre, which next plays at Trimble Friday night, got 26 points from Sprague, 17 from Brandon Simoniette, who had three treys in the third period, nine from Stitt and eight from Godfrey.