DANVILLE — The Loudonville Redbirds put a stranglehold on the Mid-Buckeye Conference lead.
But they had to survive a furious Danville Blue Devil comeback to do it.
The Blue Devils rebounded from a 30-12 halftime deficit to close to within five, but they could not get over the hump as the Redbirds won, 55-49, in boys basketball action.
Sophomore Andy Payne led the charge with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils. He scored 10 points in the third quarter — a wild quarter that saw Danville narrow the gap from 18 to nine.
Following a Bryce Staats 3-pointer, Payne hit two free throws, then scored on consecutive baskets.
“I just knew we needed a spark to have any chance of winning this game,” said Payne. “This makes us feel like we got out of our slump.”
“The kid has been in the gym since he learned to walk,” Danville head coach Doug Selvey said of Payne. “You have confidence in a young man like that. He knows basketball like the back of his hand.”
In the fourth, Danville shrank the lead to five on two Marcus Durbin free throws, then again on another Staats 3.