VINCENT - Host Warren shot 80 percent (12 of 15) from the field in a decisive third quarter as the Warriors scored 29 points in period to break open a close game with neighboring rival Belpre Saturday afternoon en route to a 69-45 boys basketball win over the Golden Eagles.
After a 9-8 Belpre lead after the first quarter and a 25-22 Warren advantage at the half, the Warriors were ahead just 37-32 over halfway through the third period when they found their shooting touch from 3-point land.
Evan Yabs connected for a trey from the corner, Evan French drilled in a 3-ball and, after a fast-break hoop by Belpre's Dakota Hoffman, Yabs again hit from behind the arc to push Warren out to a 46-34 lead at the 2:34 mark.
But the Warriors weren't done just yet as they continued on in the third quarter, tallying eight of the last 10 points in the period to surge ahead 54-36 going to the fourth quarter.
The lead eventually crested at 26 twice in the final three minutes of play as Warren improved to 18-1 on the season while Belpre dropped to 10-9
Topping the point-production for Warren, which clinched the SEOAL championship Friday night at Chillicothe and hosts Marietta Tuesday, were four players in double digits, led by French's 17 and Michael Hall's 16, followed Yabs' 12 on four treys and Reece Patton's 10.
French, who scored 33 at Belpre in an earlier game this season, set a single-game Warren boys record of 44 points versus the Cavaliers Friday, eclipsing the old mark of 42.
Hoffman paced Belpre's scoring with 16 points while Nick Therriault netted 13 and Ryan Leasure added 12.
The Golden Eagles are still in the running for a second straight TVC Hocking title with two division games left, both at home with South Gallia Wednesday and Waterford Friday.
The Golden Eagles wanted a slower pace and fewer possessions for Warren, so were very deliberate with the ball on offense throughout most of the first half.
''We wanted to be patient early and pretty much were able to keep the game under control,'' said Belpre head coach Jordan Thornhill. ''When you work like heck to stop French and Patton, although Hall had a nice game today, and then they have guys like Yabs step up and make big shots, they're an excellent team.
''We held our own the first half and limited their second-chance opportunities. But they eventually started to shoot the ball really well, and were the better team in the second half.''
''We fortunately got hot in the third quarter,'' said Warren head coach Blaine Maddox. ''They slowed the game down a little bit in the first quarter, and we didn't shoot the ball real well. So it took us a while to get rolling, but once we did in the third quarter, I thought we did a good job.
''We've got a lot of scorers, and Yabs stepped up big-time in the third quarter with three 3s' as we got on a couple big runs,''