WELLSTON, Ohio — As it turned out, the Wellston Fire Department didn’t need called in on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately for the South Gallia Lady Rebels, they cooled off on their own.
After a sizzling shooting start in their non-league tilt at Wellston, the Lady Rebels went ice cold —and things went sour —en route to a 53-51 overtime loss to the Wellston Golden Rockets.
Just how much did the Rebels cool off on Wednesday?
They amassed 19 points in the game’s first four minutes, but only averaged a point per minute for the final 32.
That’s correct: South Gallia garnered only 32 points the rest of the way — and that included the overtime period of an extra four minutes.
Although, for the first 3:55, the contest appeared to look like a Lady Rebel runaway — as South Gallia raced out to a 19-6 lead.
In fact, the Lady Rebels led for all but a minute and 50 seconds of regulation, but the Golden Rockets rallied —stymieing South Gallia to only six fourth-period points.
Then, while the Rebels did force overtime on an Amaya Howell free throw, they allowed a pair of dagger three-pointers from Wellson’s Tori Doles —the second of which gave Wellston the lead for good (50-48 with 40 seconds remaining).
Following a Howell misfire of a three with 25 seconds remaining, Rocket sophomore Sydney Mullins made 3-of-4 double-bonus free throws in a span of eight seconds.
Kiley Stapleton sank a three-pointer at the buzzer for South Gallia, but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Rebels —arguably —let one get away.
With the loss, South Gallia slipped to 3-15, while the Lady Rockets raised their record to 6-13.
“After that hot start, our youth and inexperience kicked in,” said South Gallia coach Corey Small. “We shot the ball so well in the first quarter. But after that, it wasn’t even forced turnovers. It was unforced turnover after unforced turnover. Then Wellston started hitting shots, so credit to them. But we helped them with having a few defensive breakdowns. Just our youth and not being experienced enough to close out games like this.”
Indeed, the senior-less Lady Rebels didn’t close things out.
Missed shots started piling up, turnovers turned their ugly heads on several possessions, and they went a struggling 4-of-13 from the free-throw line.
In a 68-62 double-overtime triumph over River Valley, the Rebels went 16-of-41 from the stripe —but got away with it.
That wasn’t the case with Wellston.
“Ah, free throws. Yes,” said Small. “What did we shoot (from the line) anyway?”
Well, coach, those were 4-of-13 — and only 2-of-8 in the fourth quarter alone.
In that final stanza, the Lady Rebels carried in a 38-31 advantage — thanks to an Erin Evans three-ball to beat the buzzer.
But after Evans’ two-point basket just 45 seconds in made it 40-33, South Gallia’s only other points prior to Howell’s foul shot were a bucket by Christine Griffith at the 1:46 mark —and a free throw by Aaliyah Howell which made it 43-42.
Wellston, which led 2-0 and 4-2 before the Rebels gained the lead, finally tied the game for the second time at 42-42 — on a Mullins triple with a minute-and-a-half left in regulation.
Doles then scored to give Wellston the lead again (44-43), but the Rebels got bailed out by the Rockets — when Mya Bouska fouled Amaya Howell with 3.8 seconds left.
Howell, shooting the double-bonus freebies, made the first but missed the second — thus resulting in the extra session.
Howell hit four treys and a pair of deuces en route to a team-high 17 points, including three threes and 11 total points as part of the fast 19-6 start.
Aaliyah Howell had five field goals and 2-of-4 free throws towards 12 points, including seven straight points in the second quarter.
Griffith, on four buckets and a first-quarter foul shot, netted nine points — as Olivia Hornsby with a two and Evans with a three scored the final five points of the Lady Rebels’ early run.
However, South Gallia endured an epic scoring drought — spanning 10 minutes and 10 seconds, as Bouska’s three-point play made it 19-14.
Aaliyah Howell then scored her seven consecutive counters, as Griffith got the other basket to make it 28-15 with 20 seconds left in the half.
“We’ll learn a lot from this game I believe,” said Small. “But tonight was just youth and inexperience taking over.”
Wellston, which outscored South Gallia 27-16 in the second 16 minutes, was paced by Doles with a game-high 19 points.
She amounted six total field goals including three trifectas, and also made a crucial 4-of-5 free throws.
Mullins — with all 13 of her points in the second half and overtime — had two threes, a two and 5-of-7 foul shots.
Bouska added eight on three field goals and 2-of-3 free throws, while Jasmyn Wilson — on two second-half field goals —scored four.
Khloe Thacker dialed in a first-period three, while Kaylee Taynor, Sydney Spencer and Emily Kisor canned one field goal apiece.
The Rebels, which returned home to play Wahama on Thursday night, will complete a suspended game against Symmes Valley on Saturday.
That non-league bout was stopped two minutes into the second half on Nov. 30 — with a power outage at South Gallia High School.
The game will resume, with the Rebels trailing 29-10, at 4:30 p.m.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106