CENTENARY, Ohio — They were never out of it … but the Blue Angels were never really in it either.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team needed 10:52 to score its first basket and never overcame the slow start on Thursday night during a 40-28 setback to visiting Ironton in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup in Gallia County.
The Blue Angels (2-3, 2-3 OVC) missed their first nine shot attempts and committed 13 turnovers before finally getting a basket from Koren Truance at the 5:08 mark of the second frame, allowing the hosts to close to within 15-4 after falling behind 8-1 in the opening frame.
GAHS ultimately shot 33 percent from the field after the first quarter and never trailed by more than 13 points throughout the contest, with the Blue and White eventually getting as close as 17-11 after a Truance trifecta with 2:12 left in the first half.
The Lady Tigers (4-5, 3-4), on the other hand, got a 3-pointer from Isabel Morgan just before the break, which extended the lead out to 20-11.
IHS — which hit four of its seven trifectas before the intermission — answered with two more long-range daggers to start and finish the third frame as the Orange and Black made an 11-7 run for a 31-18 cushion headed into the finale.
Preslee Reed scored back-to-back baskets to whittle the lead down to three possessions at 31-22 with 4:42 left in regulation, but Morgan drilled the final Ironton 3-pointer just 18 seconds later while increasing the lead back out to a dozen points.
Maddy Petro converted consecutive buckets and closed the gap down to 34-26 with 1:43 left, but the hosts were never closer the rest of the way. Ironton closed regulation with a 6-2 spurt to complete the 12-point outcome.
The Lady Tigers also salvaged a season split with GAHS after dropping a 35-32 overtime decision in Ironton back on Nov. 30, 2020.
Gallia Academy outrebounded the guests by a 34-27 overall margin, including a 12-8 edge on the offensive glass. The hosts also committed 20 of the 33 turnovers in the game.
The Blue Angels netted 11-of-42 field goal attempts for 26 percent, including a 1-of-5 effort from behind the arc for 20 percent. GAHS was also 5-of-8 at the free throw line for 63 percent.
Petro paced Gallia Academy with 10 points and also hauled in eight rebounds, followed by Reed with six points and six boards.
Truance and Chanee Cremeens were next with five points apiece, with Cremeens grabbing a team-best nine caroms. Mary Howell completed the tally with two markers.
Ironton made 13-of-44 shot attempts for 30 percent, including a 7-of-25 effort from 3-point territory for 28 percent. The guests were also 7-of-11 at the charity stripe for 64 percent.
Evan Williams led IHS with a game-high 14 points, followed by Kirsten Williams with 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Morgan was next with nine markers, while Lilly Zornes completed the winning mark with five points.
The Blue Angels return to action Saturday when they host Ironton Saint Joseph at 11 a.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.