MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Make every shot count.
The South Gallia girls basketball team got off to an early lead and stayed there, as the Lady Rebels defeated the visiting Miller Lady Falcons 44-26 in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup on Monday night in Gallia County.
The Red and Gold (3-7, 3-4 TVC Hocking) dominated the first quarter, led by six points from Aaliyah Howell. The Lady Falcons (2-7, 2-5) didn’t get on the board until Brooklyn Wilson connected on a free-throw with 1:23 left. Howell punctuated the quarter with a three with five seconds remaining to give the home squad a 12-1 advantage.
The Lady Falcon offense came alive in the second quarter starting with a bucket from Sanae Dutiel at the 7:16 mark. After a South Gallia bucket, Wilson scored three points to get Miller back into the contest.
Miller proceeded on a 6-0 run with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, capped off by a three from Chole Rine with 24 seconds left. Erin Evans responded with a three of her own with six seconds left in the period to give South Gallia a 19-12 lead at the break.
The Lady Falcons had a 24-19 rebound advantage over the Lady Rebels in the first half — 14 of which were offensive rebounds. The Purple and White only connected on three field goals in 27 attempts after 16 minutes of play, while South Gallia shot 7-of-15 from the field.
Evans scored South Gallia’s first bucket of the second half at the 7:46 mark. Rine and Lacey Alexander scored consecutive baskets for the Lady Falcons two minutes into the third quarter. Evans kicked off a 10-0 run for South Gallia with a three at the 3:37 mark. The Lady Rebels took a 31-16 lead into the finale.
Josie Perani opened Miller’s scoring in the fourth quarter with a three at the 5:53 marl. After a basket from Dutiel, Ashley Northup connected on a shot from beyond the arc with a little over four minutes left in the contest. Mikayla Poling’s five points in the fourth quarter helped carry the home team to the win.
“Overall, we played better as a team,” South Gallia coach Corey Small said. “We moved the ball around better and didn’t focus on one person. We’ve gotta limit our turnovers and box out better. I think, in the first half, all of [Miller’s] points came off second chance points. In the second half, we did a better job of boxing out.”
Poling led the Red and Gold with 14 points, followed by Evans with 12 points. Northup finished with nine points, while Howell and Watson contributed five points and four points respectively for the Lady Rebels.
Rine led the Lady Falcons with nine points, followed by Perani with six points. Wilson and Dutiel had four points each, while Olivia Houk had three points for Miller.
South Gallia finished the contest shooting 17-of-50 field goals (34 percent), while Miller shot 9-of-67 (13 percent) from the field. The Lady Falcons outrebounded the Lady Rebels 46-to-38, but the visitors turned the ball over 11 times. South Gallia had eight turnovers in the contest.
Both teams will meet again on Feb. 1 in Corning. South Gallia will be back in action on Monday, when they host Sciotoville.
Donald Lambert can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106