LOGAN, Ohio — They are the district’s top seed for a reason.
Sheridan had 11 different players reach the scoring column and shot 59 percent through three quarters of play Wednesday night en route to a 99-39 victory over eighth-seeded Gallia Academy in a Division II sectional semifinal girls basketball contest at Katie Smith Gymnasium on the campus of Logan Middle School in Hocking County.
The Blue Angels (10-14) — who served as the visiting team on the scoreboard — led 2-0 following a Jenelle Stevens basket 36 seconds into regulation, which quickly prompted a timeout by SHS coach J.D. Walters.
After a quick berating of his troops about a lack of early passion, the top-seeded Lady Generals (19-4) followed by making four trifectas as part of five consecutive field goals over the next two minutes, which resulted in a 14-2 cushion with 5:34 left.
GAHS twice cut the lead down to two possessions with an 8-2 surge over the next 1:41 of play, which ultimately resulted in a 16-10 contest following a Carly Shriver basket with 3:52 remaining. The Blue and White, however, were never closer the rest of the way.
Sheridan followed with a 16-1 charge as Rachel Cooke hit five trifectas and scored 19 points in the opening frame, allowing the Red and Gray to secure a 32-11 advantage through eight minutes of play.
SHS opened the second frame with a 10-1 run for a 42-12 edge a little over two minutes into the second canto, but the Blue Angels rallied with a 9-6 spurt to close to within 48-21 with 3:46 left.
The Lady Generals again answered with a large run as the hosts scored the final 13 points of the first half, giving SHS a sizable 61-21 lead at the break.
GAHS was 5-of-6 from three-point range and 7-of-17 overall from the field in the opening 16 minutes, but the guests also committed 16 of the 17 turnovers by both teams during that same span.
Sheridan, on the other hand, netted a blistering 24-of-40 shot attempts in the first half — including a 9-of-20 effort from downtown.
The Lady Generals kept their momentum moving forward after hitting 9-of-16 shot attempts during a 23-5 third period run, which led to an 84-26 lead headed into the finale.
Shriver capped an 8-2 start to the fourth quarter with a basket at the 3:43 mark, which trimmed the deficit down to 86-34. Sheridan ended regulation with a 13-5 run to wrap up the 60-point triumph, its largest lead of the night.
It was the third time in four years that the Lady Generals eliminated Gallia Academy in postseason play. SHS now advances to the sectional final at 1 p.m. Saturday when it faces fourth-seeded Meigs at Jim Myers Gymnasium at Logan High School.
The Blue Angels — who have now won at least one postseason game in each of the last two years — were lights out from behind the arc, connecting on 8-of-12 attempts in the contest for 67 percent.
The Blue and White, however, committed 25 of the 29 turnovers in the game and finished the night only 13-of-40 from the field for 33 percent.
It was the final basketball game for seniors Jenelle Stevens, Carly Shriver, Adrienne Jenkins and Kimberly Edelmann in the Blue and White.
Fourth-year GAHS coach Joe Justice was disappointed in the final outcome afterwards, but he also acknowledged that his kids simply ran into a superior opponent.
Justice, however, was nothing but respectful of his troops and their efforts this season — particularly his four seniors.
“Give Sheridan credit because they came out and hit a lot of shots there in the first half. Their pressure gave us fits like it has almost all year long, and those turnovers really hurt us because we did a decent job of shooting the ball when we got shot attempts,” Justice said. “These seniors are my first four-year group and I really hate to see them go because I know how much they have grown as players and as people during that time. I really am proud of those girls.
“At the same time, we have a lot of younger kids coming back with some quality experience … and they have had good mentors on where hard work can take you. Hopefully we will all work on getting better this summer, but the future looks bright for the program.”
Sheridan outrebounded the guests by a 36-22 overall margin, which included a 17-4 edge on the offensive glass.
Shriver paced Gallia Academy with six trifectas and 22 points, followed by Jenkins with six points and Stevens with four markers. Alex Barnes and Hunter Copley were next with three points apiece, while Edelmann rounded out the scoring with one point.
Shriver, Stevens and Jenkins each hauled in five rebounds apiece for GAHS. The Blue Angels were also 5-of-9 at the free throw line for 56 percent.
The Lady Generals — who hit 33-of-56 shot attempts through three periods — finished the game 40-of-76 from the field for 53 percent, including an 11-of-32 effort from behind the arc for 34 percent.
Cooke — a sophomore — hit nine trifectas and paced Sheridan with a game-high 31 points, followed by Jayden Geary with 18 points and Emma Conrad with 17 markers. Kendyl Mack also reached double figures with 14 points.
Mikayla Rhodes was next with six points, while Jena Wharton and Jalynn Moyer each contributed three points. Sydney Cooperrider, Liberty Justice and Sara Cooper each chipped in two markers, while Claire Montgomery completed the winning tally with one point.
Conrad hauled in a game-high eight rebounds for the hosts, who went 8-of-10 at the charity stripe for 80 percent. Rhodes and Cooper also grabbed seven and six boards, respectively.
Gallia Academy completed its 2016-17 campaign with a 4-10 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play, which was good enough for sixth place in the eight-team league.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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