McARTHUR - The Vinton County Vikings fell short in their bid to win a share of the 20-21 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division championship with a 47-43 loss to the Athens Bulldogs.

With the win, Athens (11-7 overall and 9-0 TVC Ohio) clinched the title, and the Vikings (13-6, 9-2 had to settle for the runner-up slot.

The regular season is nearly over for the Vikings as they have a makeup game with Meigs remaining. They will face Jackson in a Division II sectional championship game on Thursday. The Ironman wrapped up a Frontier Athletic Conference Championship Monday night.

In the earlier game between Vinton County and Athens, the Bulldogs erased a nine-point lead late in the game and pulled out the win. This time Athens had an eight-point lead, 44-36, with 1:22 left and survived a late rally by the Vikings.

The comeback started when Lance Montgomery hit a three-pointer with 1:22 left to bring Vinton County within five points at 44-39. As time was winding down, Zayne Karr hit a field goal, while Montgomery nailed a free throw to bring the deficit to three points, 46-43, but it would be as close as they would get.

The game was knotted 22-22 at the half, but Athens turned the tide in the third quarter with an 11-4 advantage.

Vinton County was led in scoring by Zayne Karr, who was the only double-digit scorer with 11 points. Eli Radbaugh and Braylon Damron each had nine points, while Montgomery added seven, and Randall Matteson Asa Davidson finished with three and two points, respectively.

Vinton County shot 15-for-52 (28.8 percent) from the field, including a 6-for-28 (21.4 percent)) from three-point range.

The Bulldogs had balanced offensive scoring as four players scored in double figures, led by Will Matters with 15 points. Brayden Whiting added 11 points, while Trey Harris and Derrick Welsh chipped in with 10 each for the Bulldogs, who shot 39.6 percent (19 of 48) from the floor.

The Viking game against Jackson will on Thursday will tip-off at 7 p.m. at Jackson High School. The game will also be broadcast on WKOV (96.7 FM), and can be heard live through the Total Media Radio App.

WELLSTON 62, RIVER VALLEY 47: Wellston used a strong three quarters and a balanced scoring effort to defeat River Valley 62-47 on Saturday afternoon in Wellston.

After suffering a 52-45 loss at River Valley back on January 5, the Golden Rockets got redemption, as seven of its eight players in the game scored points.

With the win, the Rockets improved to 9-8 on the season, and 3-6 in Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division play.

The Rockets were playing its second straight game after coming off a 10-day quarantine due to Covid-19 protocol.

Despite Wellston building a 50-30 lead after three quarters, River Valley battled back, cutting the deficit to 10 points late in the fourth quarter after Mason Rhodes hit a three-pointer with 45-seconds left.

But that was as close as the Raiders would get, as Wellston made five-of-six free throws to end the game.

Evan Brown led three Wellston players in double-digits with 17 points, while Cyan Ervin added 13 and Hunter Smith had 10.

Garrett Brown came off the bench to finish with eight points for Wellston, which shot 48.8 percent (21 of 43) from the field and was 16 of 23 (69.6 percent) from the free-throw line.

Also contributing to the win was Gunnar Harmon with seven points, while Eston Riley added five points and R.J. Kemp had two.

Wellston held a lopsided 44-17 advantage in rebounds, including a 13-3 edge on the offensive glass, led by Evan Brown with 12 boards.

River Valley, which shot 35.4 percent (17 of 48), including eight 3-pointers, was led by Rhodes, who made seven threes to finish with a game-high 28 points.

VINTON COUNTY 76, WELLSTON 51: The Vinton County Vikings picked up a 76-51 win over visiting Wellston Friday night at VCHS High School.

With the win, Vinton county improves to 12-5 on the season and 8-1 in Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division play.

Five Vikings scored in double figures, as Zayne Karr and Eli Radabaugh led the way with 16 points apiece. Asa Davidson added 13 points, Braylon Damron followed with 11 points, and Lance Montgomery had 10 in the win.

Also, Esiason Herrold finished with four points, Brayden Cain had three, while Brock Hamon and Luke Bledsoe had two points each.

Wellston was led by Eston Riley with 13 points, while Hunter Smith had 12. Garrett Brown (9 points), Cyan Ervin (7 points), Evan Brown (5 points), Gunnar Harmon (3 points), and Jarrod Wilbur (2 points) rounded out the scoring for Wellston.

The game was close early, as Vinton County led 18-10 after one-quarter of play, but the Vikings pushed the lead to 34-22 at the half.

The Vikings extended the lead to 54-36 at the end of the third quarter, while outscoring Wellston 22-15 in the fourth for the 25-point victory.

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Telegram Sports Editor Todd Compston also contributed to this story