BELPRE - A 13-0 run to finish the first half propelled Belpre into a lead it never relinquished the rest of the game Wednesday night, despite having to hold off rallying Marietta in the fourth quarter, to notch a 73-65 boys basketball win for the Golden Eagles' fourth straight triumph.
Belpre is now 4-2 under new head coach Jordan Thornhill and returns to action Tuesday, hosting Miller in a TVC Hocking Division contest. So far this season, the Golden Eagles are 3-0 in TVC Hocking Division games.
Marietta, now 3-4, welcomes in New Philadelphia to Sutton Gymnasium Friday night.
Drew Nestor led Belpre with 22 points, followed by Jake Ullman with 16, Ryan Leasure with 14, and Bryce Pittenger and Nick Therriault with eight each.
For the visiting Tigers, Tim Grosel tossed in a game-high 25 points while Eli Lenington netted 15, Braden Riley 10, and Nathan Williams seven.
Belpre held a pair of six-point leads in the first quarter, but Marietta tallied eight of the last 10 points of the period to knot the score at 14.
Belpre 73, Marietta 65
Marietta 14 14 18 19 - 65
Belpre 14 25 17 17 - 73
Justin Futrell 1 0-0 3, Mitchel Gearhart 0 0-0 0, Jordan Satterfield 0 0-0 0, Eli Lenington 4 6-10 15, Nathan Williams 3 1-5 7, Matt Thompson 1 0-0 2, Alex Wesel 1 0-0 3, Tim Grosel 8 7-9 25, Braden Riley 5 0-0 10, TOTALS: 23 14-24 65. 3-point goals: Futrell 1, Lenington 1, Wesel 1, Grosel 2
Drew Nestor 7 5-5 22, Dakota Hoffman 0 5-8 5, Jake Ullman 4 6-6 16, Bryce Pittenger 3 2-3 8, Ryan Leasure 7 0-0 14, Nick Therriault 3 1-1 8, Phillip Bailey 0 0-0 0, TOTALS: 24 19-23 73, 3-point goals: Nestor 3, Ullman 2, Therriault 1
JV game: Marietta 56, Belpre 10
JV scoring: Marietta - Cameron Benson 6, Adam Gearhart 8, Connor Beavers 4, John Hogue 5, Billy Weekley 9, Reid Chwalek 5, Corey Hill 4, Andrew Sutherland 15; Belpre - Austin Forshey 6, Jacob McDaniel 2, Phillip Bailey 2
Next games: New Philadelphia at Marietta Friday, Miller at Belpre Tuesday
The Tigers forged a four-point advantage by the middle of the second stanza before Belpre blitzed them with the 13-0 burst in the final 2:27 of the first half to surge on top 39-28 at intermission.
In the spurt to the halftime horn, the Golden Eagles got a pair of back-to-back treys from Nestor, a three-point play by Therriault, and two free throws and then an inside layup with 3.8 seconds left from Ullman.
Marietta cut the deficit to five, 51-46, late in the third quarter as Lenington and Grosel sparked a comeback, and got as close as six thrice in the fourth period by canning five treys. But in the last minute, Belpre scored its final eight points at the foul line, the first four by Nestor and the last four by Dakota Hoffman, to keep the Tigers at bay.
''We made the plays down the stretch to sustain the lead and get us the win,'' said Thornhill. ''Tonight too, our bigger guys made some shots and scored around the rim, which takes some the pressure off our guards, who we've been relying on pretty heavily.''
''We came out here a little bit lackadaisical, and Belpre smacked us,'' said Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest. ''We fought back in the second half. We just had that five-point barrier that we couldn't get over the top of, then maybe things might have changed. When you go on the road, you've got to be ready to play. We came out and we weren't really ready to play.''