POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — It was a similar sequence between the Blue Angels and Lady Knights on Thursday night.
A Point Pleasant pass, an Alex Barnes interception for Gallia Academy — and ultimately a Blue Angel layup.
As a result of forcing 33 Lady Knight turnovers, visiting Gallia Academy amassed an easy 58-26 girls basketball victory inside the Point Pleasant Lady Knights’ gym.
It was the Blue Angels’ opening road tilt, and the Lady Knights’ opener at home, as Gallia Academy is now 2-0 while Point Pleasant falls to 0-2.
The Blue Angels opened with a 43-27 win over River Valley on Monday, while the Lady Knights lost at Poca on Tuesday 75-31.
For Gallia Academy, in amassing more first-half points (35) and offensive rebounds (28) than Point Pleasant posted points (26) in the entire game — it was a good confidence-builder for the young Blue Angels.
“The girls are getting confidence and playing hard. And tonight, we had a good opportunity for our young ones to get in and get some minutes in preparing for further on in the season,” said GAHS coach Joe Justice. “We did a really good job on the offensive boards. Defensively, we challenged them (Blue Angels) to step up and get in the passing lanes. Alex Barnes does a great job up top putting pressure on the ball. That allows our wings to get out in the passing lanes and turn our defense into offense.”
Barnes, the Blue Angels’ freshman point guard, got in the Point Pleasant passing lanes early and often.
So too did Hunter Copley and Carly Shriver.
Barnes with eight steals and Copley and Shriver with three thefts apiece were part of 19 total takeaways for the Blue Angels — which turned several of those steals into uncontested layups.
Copley led the way with 16 points on six field goals and 4-of-5 free throws, as 14 of those came in the first half.
Barnes, on four field goals and a free throw, scored all nine of her markers in the opening 16 minutes.
The Lady Knights’ only leads were 2-0 and 4-2, as there were also two ties at 2-2 and 4-4.
But back-to-back field goals by Adrienne Jenkins gave the Blue Angels the lead at the 5:48 mark of the first quarter, as Copley converted a three-point play off a steal at the five-and-a-half minute point.
After the Lady Knights’ Lanea Cochran scored 21 seconds later to make it 9-6, Point Pleasant never got any closer — as Copley had a rebound putback followed by back-to-back Barnes steals and layups.
The Blue Angels led 17-11 after the opening period, then outscored the Lady Knights 18-2 in the second stanza to lead 35-13 at halftime.
Gallia Academy amounted the first 16 points of the period, before Brooke Campbell scored for Point Pleasant with 1:11 to play.
The entire Lady Knight scoring drought spanned almost eight-and-a-half minutes.
After each of the middle two quarters, the Blue Angels enjoyed their largest leads at 35-13 and 45-19, before building the advantage to 57-24 with a minute remaining.
Point Pleasant played better in spots in the second half, but the 16-point second-quarter deficit did it in.
“It was disappointing to say the least,” said PPHS coach John Fields. “We had 33 turnovers and they had 28 offensive rebounds. We only had 25 (rebounds) period for the game. The mentality you saw in the second half…if we would have started the game like that, this game would have come down to the wire or maybe we are even on the other end of this score. We’re young, but this is just no excuse.”
Jenkins scored six second-half points, including the game’s only three-pointer, toward 10 total markers.
Shriver scored eight on three field goals and 2-of-2 free throws — all through the first three frames.
Aubrey Unroe — on two field goals and 2-of-4 free throws — scored six fourth-period points, as Kimberly Edelmann added four on a field goal and two foul shots.
Jenelle Stevens, on a fourth-quarter field goal and a free throw, and Abby Cremeans — with two free throws — rounded out the Blue and White.
Campbell, on three field goals and 3-of-5 free throws, led the Lady Knights with nine points.
Michaela Cottrill collected five points for Point Pleasant, as the Blue Angels amassed a 21-10 advantage in total field goals.
Justice said Thursday’s bout — and win — was about getting better and getting prepared for Ohio Valley Conference play, which begins on Monday against visiting Chesapeake.
“We want defense to create our offense, but at the same time, we’re getting better and getting more confidence in the (half-court) offense. If they run it through, they are going to get easy buckets instead of sitting out trying to shoot the three,” he said. “This was a good game for us as far as the OVC is going to be. Real physical. It prepares us for our league and we’ll work on getting better from there.”
Point Pleasant plays at Buffalo tonight (Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.), as the Lady Knights need a confidence pick-me-up.
“We come to practice everyday and we keep it simple. We don’t have a lot of offensive plays. But it’s like they get on the floor and that anxiety or whatever it is they are feeling, it gets the best of them. We can’t wait until we’re down 20 to get motivated and start playing hard,” said Fields. “But we’re going back to the drawing board, we play at Buffalo on Saturday, and we’ll see if we can right this ship before it gets too late.”
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106