BIDWELL, Ohio — Ending the skid and completing the sweep.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team snapped its four-game losing skid with 44-31 victory over non-conference host River Valley on Monday in Gallia County, giving the Blue Angels a season sweep of the Lady Raiders for a third straight campaign.
River Valley (4-6) scored the first five points, holding the Blue Angels (4-4) scoreless for the opening 3:40. GAHS cut its deficit to one point, at 7-6, but the Lady Raiders scored the final bucket of the period and led 9-6 headed into the second.
Gallia Academy began the second stanza with a 7-0 run and led 13-9 with 5:45 remaining in the half. RVHS regained the lead, at 15-13, with a 6-0 spurt, but the guests scored the final seven points of the quarter and went into the break with a 22-15 edge.
The Blue Angels never surrendered the advantage in the second half, holding RVHS off the board for the first 4:50, while stretching the lead to 27-15. The Lady Raiders were back within single digits, at 29-21, with 50 seconds left in the third, but GAHS answered with its second trifecta of the period and took a 32-21 lead into the finale.
Gallia Academy scored the first eight points of the fourth and led by as many as 21 points, at 44-23, with 2:50 to play. The Silver and Black ended the night with eight unanswered points.
Following the 44-31 victory, first-year GAHS head coach Jordan Deel was happy to get his club back in the win column and is hoping to be able to turn the triumph into momentum.
“It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a win, it feels really good,” Deel said. “It was a nice team-win tonight, we’ve had some good practices coming in. I knew Coach (Stephen) Roderick and the Raiders would be ready for us, and they were. It was a tight ball game at first, but we put four quarters together, which we’ve been trying to do for a couple weeks now.
“It’s definitely a win we can build off of. Even though we won tonight, we still have several things we need to improve on in practice. We have a couple days to prepare for Point Pleasant, and we’re hoping to keep things going as we head into Christmas break.”
For the Lady Raiders — playing for the third time in the span of five days — Coach Roderick acknowledged the difficulty his team faced just two days removed from an emotional victory over South Gallia.
“Saturday was a big high for us, and sometimes you have let down games,” Roderick said. “It’s tough to play both in-county rival games back-to-back, but I thought our girls were more prepared and ready, and they really weren’t themselves tonight. Credit Coach Deel, they’re down a player-or-two and they still were able to give us their best shot.
“I think we were feeling good about ourselves Saturday and didn’t get prepared mentally. We let them get all the 50-50 balls. They killed us on the boards, offensive rebounds, they’d get it and put it back. But the No. 1 thing was hustle plays, they wanted it more than us from the start. Our girls have been doing better with that, but tonight, they looked tired the whole game. We’re all kind of disappointed.”
In the win, Gallia Academy shot 15-of-51 (29.4 percent) from the field, including 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, River Valley connected on 14-of-52 (26.9 percent) field goal attempts, including just 1-of-22 (4.5 percent) three-point tries. At the free throw line, GAHS was 12-of-21 (57.1 percent), while RVHS was 2-of-7 (28.6 percent).
The guests enjoyed a 38-to-26 rebounding advantage, including a 13-to-8 edge in offensive boards. The guests finished with team totals of 17 steals, eight assists, three blocked shots and 27 turnovers, while the Lady Raiders combined for 15 steals, nine assists, three rejections and 28 turnovers.
Leading the Blue and White with double-doubles were senior Hunter Copley and sophomore Maddy Petro. Copley scored a game-high 18 points and pulled in 11 rebounds, while Petro marked 15 points and grabbed a game-best 13 boards. The duo also led the GAHS defense, with Petro claiming nine steals and a blocked shot, and Copley adding four steals with a pair of blocks.
Abby Cremeans and Brooklyn Hill contributed four points apiece to the winning total, while Junon Ohmura chipped in with three points and a team-high four assists.
RVHS sophomore Hannah Jacks led the hosts with 12 points and seven rebounds, to go with a game-high three rejections. Lauren Twyman, Kelsey Brown and Kaylee Tucker scored four points apiece for the Lady Raiders, with Twyman recording a team-best five steals.
Savannah Reese came up with three points, six rebounds and a team-high four assists for RVHS, while Cierra Roberts and Kaylee Gillman finished with two points apiece.
Including 51-48 victory on Nov. 26 in Centenary, the Blue Angels have topped RVHS in six straight meetings and eight of the last 10. The Lady Raiders’ last win over GAHS came at Rio Grande on Dec. 5, 2015.
The Lady Raiders get back to work in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division at home against Vinton County on Thursday, when the Blue Angels continue non-league play at home versus Point Pleasant.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.