CENTENARY, Ohio — As it turned out, Adrienne Jenkins’ pain was only temporary.
That’s because, chances are, the Gallia Academy senior will remember her final minute on Monday night for a long time to come.
After briefly leaving the game due to an injured left knee, Jenkins checked back in to score five final-minute points —and more importantly lead the host Blue Angels to a 50-42 Ohio Valley Conference girls basketball victory over the Coal Grove Lady Hornets.
In a contest which featured eight ties and four lead changes, Jenkins made sure she left the court on Monday night on her own terms.
In a battle for a loose ball with Coal Grove’s Lauren Crum with 1:14 remaining, she appeared to be in serious pain in grabbing for her left knee — which dons a brace from a once-torn ACL.
She left the floor on her own power, however — and returned a few seconds later to make a major impact.
With the Blue Angels ahead 43-42, the Lady Hornets missed a shot and turned the ball over, giving Gallia Academy another possession.
From midcourt, fellow senior Carly Shriver lobbed a long inbounds pass to Jenkins near the basket, as the five-foot, nine-inches Jenkins gained inside position on Crum.
Jenkins caught the lob from Shriver, squared to the basket, and converted an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 46-42 with only 48 seconds remaining.
Then, just 16 seconds later, after Coal Grove’s Destiny Dolen missed a three-point attempt, Jenkins dropped in both of the one-and-one free throws — upping the advantage to 48-42.
Indeed, it was a solid finish from the Blue Angel senior, who finished with four field goals for 11 points — in addition to a team-high seven rebounds.
“Adrienne Jenkins goes down, she says she is alright. She said ‘three more possessions, I can do this.’ She puts her brace back on, goes back in, and makes a huge play then two more free throws for us,” said Gallia Academy coach Joe Justice.
Shriver then secured the Blue Angel win — with two more free throws with 15-and-a-half seconds left to play.
The 50-42 final score, of which GAHS held Coal Grove to only five fourth-quarter points and none in the final 1:47, was either team’s largest lead.
Justice added that Jenkins’ play highlighted the Blue Angels’ ability to finally “finish” a game.
The Blue Angels improved to 7-10 — and 3-7 in the OVC, as they split the season series with Coal Grove.
“We started out well each quarter, but we struggled finishing quarters. In the fourth quarter, I thought we did a good job of finishing. We held them to five points in the fourth quarter, where the first three quarters they were getting six or seven points in the last two-and-a-half minutes,” said Justice. “We did a really good job of defense the last two minutes shutting them out, finishing free throws, rebounding the ball, just finishing the quarter strong and the game strong.”
That the Blue Angels did, leading for the final two minutes — after Hunter Copley canned a three-pointer to make it 43-41.
Emily Compliment, the Hornets’ top player whose two baskets made it 41-40 Coal Grove with 3:20 remaining, scored the final Hornet point on a free throw with 1:47 to go.
Hence, it was seven unanswered to end the game for Gallia Academy, which dropped the Hornets to 10-8 — and 5-6 in the OVC.
Copley, who made five two-pointers prior to her go-ahead three-ball, led the Blue and White with 13 points.
Jenkins and Shriver, who also had four field goals including her second-quarter three that made it 31-24 with 1:50 to play, added 11 points apiece.
Abby Cremeans connected for a triple and a technical-foul free throw that made it 37-32, then drained another trifecta to break a 37-37 tie — only 20 seconds into the fourth period.
Alex Barnes and Jenelle Stevens, on a pair of first-half buckets, scored four points apiece.
While Gallia Academy only made four of a dozen three-pointers, and only corralled 19 rebounds, the Blue Angels only committed 13 turnovers —while collecting nine assists and tallying 10 steals.
Copley chalked up five assists, while Barnes made off with four thefts.
The Blue Angels scored six straight points to break a 4-4 tie, then led 14-9 with 1:11 left in the opening canto.
But the Hornets hit for seven straight points over the next 1:46 to take their first lead (16-14), then staked their largest lead at 20-16 — with five-and-a-half minutes left in the first half.
Over the next three minutes and 20 seconds, though, the Blue Angels amassed a 15-4 run — capped off by Shriver’s triple for the largest lead at that point.
Coal Grove trimmed the halftime deficit to 31-27, and outscored Gallia Academy 14-9 over the next 12:40 — taking its final advantage of the night.
Compliment paced the Lady Hornets and all scorers with 17 points, posting eight of their 17 field goals.
Crum converted two twos and two threes in the opening period, then split a pair of free throws in the third.
Dolen, on two buckets and 3-of-4 foul shots, scored all seven of her points in the second frame.
Kasey Murphy, on two field goals, and Bailee McKnight —on a third-quarter three-pointer — rounded out the Lady Hornets.
The Blue Angels return to the road, and return to OVC action, on Thursday night at South Point.
Justice said his young squad is capable of Monday’s performance — each and every time it takes the floor.
“You saw what kind of team we can have — once we decide we want to play instead of coming out and doing whatever we want to. Tonight we came out and did a really good job defensively, rebounded the ball well, shot the ball well, took better care of the ball. We’re improving every day. We’re finishing the season where we need to start the season,” he said. “We’re getting more confidence and they (Blue Angels) are starting to believe that they can do this. Our youth is stepping up and our seniors have led us.”
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106