CENTENARY, Ohio — For the host Blue Angels on Monday night, they got off to a solid start.
But, unfortunately for Gallia Academy, it was all about how it finished.
In position to make a rally against the Chesapeake Panthers, the Blue Angels only amounted three points over the final nine minutes and 12 seconds — and ultimately fell to the Panthers 62-37 in the Ohio Valley Conference girls basketball opener for both clubs.
The contest also marked the first loss for Gallia Academy, which fell to 2-1 while Chesapeake improved to 2-0.
The Blue Angels, beset by too many turnovers and allowing too many offensive rebounds to the taller Panthers, trailed for the game’s final 25 minutes and 45 seconds.
Chesapeake ended the final two minutes of the opening quarter with seven unanswered points to lead 14-9, then scored the opening eight of the second stanza — staking a 22-9 advantage only a minute and 40 seconds in.
By outscoring the Blue Angels 23-9 in the second quarter, the Panthers pushed their cushion to 37-18 at halftime.
But Gallia Academy mounted a comeback bid, and actually sliced the deficit down to 10 at 44-34 with 1:12 remaining in the third period.
A Kimberly Edelmann three-pointer off the wing, and an Edelmann two-point basket had the hosts thinking a fourth-quarter charge was on the horizon.
However, Chesapeake’s Natalee Hall hit two field goals in the frame’s final minute, as Gallia Academy only got as close as 48-36 and 50-37 from there.
In fact, the Blue Angels’ only points in the fourth quarter came at the 6:23 mark on a Hunter Copley layup off a steal, followed by an Edelmann free throw exactly four minutes and four seconds later.
The Panthers scored the final dozen points to claim their largest lead at 62-37, as a split of free throws by Karli Davis and Hall just two seconds apart were Chesapeake’s only other points of the entire fourth canto.
Hall, on 11 total field goals and 4-of-5 free throws, poured in a game-high 27 points to pace the winners.
Her lone three-ball lifted the Panthers in front for good at 10-9— following two earlier lead changes and the tilt’s only tie at 7-7.
She also stuffed the stat sheet with eight rebounds, five assists, four steals and a blocked shot.
Davis dropped in 11 points on four field goals and 2-of-5 free throws, as her second-quarter triple at the 5:45 mark made it 25-11.
She also grabbed five offensive rebounds, as Brooke Webb wound up with seven second-quarter points — on three field goals and a free throw.
Webb also tied Hall with eight boards — and collected four assists, three blocks and five steals.
Dominique Murphy and Jozy Jones added eight points apiece, as Jones finished with four field goals and Murphy made two first-half treys.
After Copley gave Gallia Academy the 2-0 lead exactly a minute in, Murphy made her first trifecta — before being answered by Carly Shriver.
Alex Barnes then made it 7-3 off a Copley assist, as that was the Blue and White’s largest lead of the entire bout.
Hall hit two shots in a minute-and-a-half to tie it, as Edelmann answered at the two-minute mark to give Gallia Academy its final edge.
Hall then nailed her go-ahead three-pointer, the Panthers never trailed again, and a pair of Copley free throws finally broke a 15-0 drought that spanned exactly four minutes.
Copley converted 5-of-6 free throws to supplement three field goals, as she — along with the seniors Shriver, Edelmann and Adrienne Jenkins — all drained a three.
Jenkins’ four field goals netted her nine points, as Edelmann ended with eight and Shriver scored five.
Abby Cremeans connected on a free throw in the second.
The Panthers held a 25-13 advantage in total field goals.
The Blue Angels return home, and return to OVC action, on Thursday night against Rock Hill.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106