CENTENARY, Ohio — It was worth the wait.
An 8-5 run in overtime ultimately allowed the Gallia Academy girls basketball team to notch its first win of the season Monday night during a hard-fought 42-39 decision over visiting Portsmouth in an Ohio Valley Conference contest held in Gallia County.
The Blue Angels (1-6, 1-4 OVC) battled the Lady Trojans (4-5, 1-4) through 14 lead changes and six ties over the course of 36 minutes, but the hosts secured a permanent lead with 1:45 left in overtime as Chanee Cremeens converted a basket that resulted in a 40-39 edge.
Alex Barnes added two free throws with 1:07 left in the extra frame for a 3-point cushion, and neither team ended up scoring the rest of the way.
PHS had one last chance to force another overtime as the guests had a side-out possession with 1.5 seconds remaining.
With the ball out of bounds in front of the GAHS bench and needing to cover three-quarters of the court, the Red and Blue attempted to throw a baseball pass down the sideline in front of their bench.
Cremeens, however, stepped in front of the pass and held on to the ball as the clock wound down to triple zeros — allowing the Blue Angels to snap a 13-game losing skid that dates back to a 45-42 win at Rock Hill on Jan. 17 of last season.
Gallia Academy — which never trailed by more than one possession — also snapped a 10-game losing skid in OVC play.
Afterwards, GAHS coach Jordan Deel admitted that it was nice to finally pick up that elusive first victory.
More importantly, as the second year mentor noted, the outcome was a reflection of the collective effort his troops left on the floor.
“We’ve been putting three, three-and-a-half quarters together here of late, but tonight was the first time we put four quarters of basketball together … and a little bit more. Ultimately, we got where we needed to go,” Deel said. “I’m super proud of the girls because we battled through a lot of tests tonight. Portsmouth showed up ready to play and it went down to the wire. We were able to do just enough to get the win.
“We have some momentum to work with and we have two more games before Christmas break, so hopefully we’ll continue to play hard and get a few more wins between now and then.”
The game was tied at the end of the first and third periods, as well as at the end of regulation. Portsmouth twice led by three points in the first half, while Maddy Petro scored four consecutive points to start the second frame and gave GAHS a 9-5 cushion with 5:58 left.
PHS reeled off seven consecutive points and led 12-9 with 1:57 remaining, but Barnes converted a pair of free throws a dozen seconds later while bringing the halftime score to 12-11.
Both teams led by three points in the third quarter, but the Blue Angels eventually won the period by a 9-8 count for a 20-all contest entering the fourth.
Hughes hit a basket 47 seconds into the finale, giving PHS its final lead of regulation at 22-20. Gallia Academy countered with a 12-2 surge over the next five minutes as Petro converted an old-fashioned 3-point play that resulted in its largest lead of the game at 32-24 with 2:08 remaining.
The Lady Trojans responded with a 7-2 run that closed the deficit down 34-31 with 52 seconds remaining, then Hughes nailed a trifecta and tied things up with 39 seconds left. The game went into overtime tied at 34.
Both teams traded baskets — and leads — five different times in the extra 4-minute session. The Blue and White also went a combined 9-of-13 from the field in the final 12 minutes of play.
Gallia Academy outrebounded the guests by a sizable 33-17 overall margin that included a 10-4 edge on the offensive glass. The hosts also committed 22 of the 33 turnovers in the contest.
The Blue Angels netted 15-of-42 field goal attempts for 36 percent, including a 2-of-9 effort from behind the arc for 22 percent. GAHS was also 10-of-13 at the free throw line for 77 percent.
Cremeens led the hosts with 14 points and Barnes followed with 13 points, while Petro chipped in seven points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds.
Preslee Reed and Asia Griffin completed the winning tally with respective efforts of six and two markers. Barnes also hauled in nine rebounds for the victors.
The Lady Trojans made 16-of-49 shot attempts for 33 percent, including a 5-of-19 effort from behind the arc for 26 percent. PHS was also 2-of-3 at the charity stripe for 67 percent.
Hughes led the guests with a game-high 24 points, followed by Nia Trinidad with nine points and Skilyn Robinson with six markers. Robinson and Ashanti Richardson paced Portsmouth with six rebounds apiece.
Gallia Academy returns to action Thursday when it travels to Chesapeake for an OVC contest at 7:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.