ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The rubber match, and more importantly a spot in Thursday night’s sectional final, belongs to the Lady Rebels.
The South Gallia girls basketball team — which split the regular season series with Federal Hocking — topped the Lady Lancers by a 45-38 final, in Monday night’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, on the campus of Meigs High School.
“This means a lot for our seniors, they play extremely hard” third-year SGHS head coach Corey Small said afterwards. “We knew coming in it was going to be a dog fight, but out seniors stepped up and played very well.”
The ninth-seeded Lady Rebels (6-17) led the eighth-seeded Lady Lancers (5-18) by an 8-7 clip at the conclusion of the opening stanza, and expanded the lead to 17-13 by halftime.
Federal Hocking outscored SGHS 15-to-10 in the third period, giving the Maroon and Gold a 28-27 edge with eight minutes remaining.
The Lady Rebel defense stepped up in the fourth quarter forcing nine turnovers, while holding the Lady Lancers to 4-of-14 shooting from the field. South Gallia stepped up its offense in the finale as well, posting 18 points — 12 of which came from sophomore Erin Evans — to seal the 45-38 win.
“Right before the fourth quarter, we drew up all of their halfcourt sets,” Small said. “We knew what was coming, we just had to execute. We did a better job closing the game out, it just took us longer than usual. The seniors stepped up and hit some clutch free throws. I’m proud of them.”
South Gallia senior Mikayla Poling led the Lady Rebels with 18 points, 19 rebounds and eight steals, followed by Evans with 13 points. Aaliyah Howell scored eight points, Ashley Northup added four points, three assists and three blocked shots, while Olivia Hornsby rounded out the SGHS total with two points.
For the game, South Gallia shot 14-of-28 (50 percent) from the free throw line and 14-of-48 (29.2 percent) from the field, including 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team the Red and Gold recorded 43 rebounds, six assists, 17 steals, eight blocks and 19 turnovers.
FHHS sophomore Hannah Dunfee led the Lady Lancers with 10 points, three assists and five steals, while Destiny Tabler marked nine points, 11 rebounds and the lone Federal Hocking blocked shot. Audrey Blake and Miranda Scott both scored six points, Kaylli McPherson added five, while Jordan Gillian finished with two points in the setback.
The Lady Lancers shot just 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from the charity stripe and 13-of-51 (25.5 percent) from the field, including 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team FHHS marked 50 rebounds, nine assists, eight steals, one rejection and 26 turnovers.
South Gallia also defeated the Maroon and Gold on December 14, by a 53-44 count in Mercerville, while Federal Hocking topped SGHS on January 27, by a 45-43 clip in Stewart.
The Lady Rebels will now face top-seeded Waterford in the sectional final, on Thursday at MHS. The Lady Cats are 2-0 against South Gallia this season.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.