Chieftains charge past GAHS, 66-46

By Bryan Walters -

Gallia Academy senior Russell Matthew (11) dribbles between a pair of Logan defenders during the second half of Tuesday night’s SEOAL boys basketball contest in Centenary, Ohio.

Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

CENTENARY, Ohio — The difference came after the break.

Visiting Logan used a 23-6 third quarter run to pull away from the Gallia Academy boys basketball team Tuesday night during a 66-46 decision in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League contest in Gallia County.

The Blue Devils (6-12, 1-4 SEOAL) put up quite a fight in their final SEOAL home game, as the Blue and White shot 55 percent from the field in the first half en route to a slim 29-27 deficit at the intermission.

The Chieftains (11-9, 4-0), however, made a 6-0 run to start the third period and went 9-of-17 overall from the field during that span, which allowed the Purple and White to turn a tightly-contested one-possession contest into a commanding 52-33 lead headed into the finale.

LHS — which ended regulation with a small 14-13 run — helped its own cause in the second half by dominating the glass. The guests outrebounded GAHS by a 23-10 overall margin after halftime, including a sizable 11-5 edge on the offensive boards.

The Chieftains had nine offensive caroms and 13 total rebounds in the third quarter alone, compared to just four boards (two offensive) by the Blue and White during that span. Logan also held a slim 13-12 overall edge on the boards at half.

That rebounding discrepancy, combined with a 4-of-17 second half shooting performance, ultimately spelled doom for the Blue Devils. Third-year GAHS coach Gary Harrison was proud of the overall effort by his troops, especially early on, but he also noted that the Chieftains eventually just had a few too many horses in their stable.

“Logan’s got a good team, and they are deep. They’re a tough matchup for us because of their size. We knew what Logan was going to do and our kids gave a really good effort there in the first half,” Harrison said. “We were a little dejected afterwards about how things went there in that third quarter, particularly on the offensive glass, but in all reality they probably wore us down a little bit with that size advantage.

“The one thing that this group hasn’t done all year is quit. We’ve continued to battle and we’ve started peaking a little bit here of late. I still think that this group is going to be scary at the end of the season and headed into the tournament.”

The Chieftains netted 13-of-26 field goal attempts after halftime, which included a 4-of-8 effort from behind the arc. Needless to say, it took a little time for Logan to warm up — unlike the first contest between these teams back on January 16 when LHS jumped out to a 19-0 advantage en route to a 69-40 decision at Jim Myers Gymnasium.

First-year Logan coach Gary Kellough was impressed with how far Gallia Academy had come in three weeks, but a few key halftime adjustments allowed the Chieftains to get out of the Old French City with the triumph.

“We told the kids we’re not going to start out ahead 20-0,” Kellough said. “That’s just one of those games. We knew it would be a dogfight. They’re getting better as the year goes on. They were up three on Warren at halftime the other day. We preached to our kids it wasn’t going to be easy this time.

“At halftime we didn’t panic,” he added. “We got down a little bit when they came down and hit some shots and (we were) playing bad on defense. At halftime we made some adjustments to take Jarrell out of the game, and we did. Our kids came out in the third quarter and made the adjustments to make it tough for Jarrell down in the block and making it tough for him to score.”

Senior Wes Jarrell was the main catalyst for GAHS in the first half, scoring 15 points while hauling in nine rebounds in 16 minutes of action. Jarrell finished the evening with game-highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds to go along with a team-best three assists.

The Blue Devils never led in the opening canto, but found themselves deadlocked at 13-all through eight minutes of action. GAHS then led by six points on two different occasions in the second stanza — the last of which came at 22-16 with 4:43 remaining — but the Chieftains answered with a 13-5 run over the final 4:13 to take a slim two-point edge at halftime.

Logan ended the evening with a 36-22 overall advantage in rebounds, including a 17-8 edge on the offensive glass. The guests also committed 14 turnovers in the contest, one fewer than the Blue Devils.

Gallia Academy connected on 16-of-38 field goal attempts for 42 percent, including a 1-of-11 effort from three-point range for nine percent. The hosts were also 13-of-21 at the free throw line for 62 percent.

Kole Carter — who was hampered with first half foul trouble — followed Jarrell with 11 points, while Evan Wiseman and Russell Matthew each contributed four markers. Drew VanSickle was next with three points, while Justin McClelland Devin Henry completed the scoring with two markers apiece.

The Purple and White netted 24-of-52 field goal attempts for 46 percent, including an 8-of-19 effort from behind the arc for 42 percent. LHS also made 10-of-17 charity tosses for 59 percent.

Sam Evans paced the guests with 15 points and seven rebounds, followed by Lane Little and Bo Myers with a dozen markers apiece. Caiden Landis and Kory Henthorne respectively chipped in nine and five points to the winning cause as well.

Isaiah Smith was next with four points, while Caleb Bell and Coby Bell each added three points. Wes Brooks wrapped up the Chieftain tally with two markers.

Gallia Academy returns to action Friday when it hosts South Point in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup at 6 p.m.

Logan Daily News sports editor Craig Dunn contributed to this report. Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Gallia Academy senior Russell Matthew (11) dribbles between a pair of Logan defenders during the second half of Tuesday night’s SEOAL boys basketball contest in Centenary, Ohio. Academy senior Russell Matthew (11) dribbles between a pair of Logan defenders during the second half of Tuesday night’s SEOAL boys basketball contest in Centenary, Ohio. Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

By Bryan Walters