PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — The middle made the difference.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team fell to Ohio Valley Conference host Fairland by a 59-35 count on Thursday in Lawrence County, with the Lady Dragons outscoring their guest by a combined 23 points in the second and third periods.
Gallia Academy (6-5, 1-4 OVC) trailed by just four points, at 14-10, eight minutes into play, but Fairland (8-3, 5-0) went on a 21-7 run in the second quarter and took a 35-17 lead into the half.
FHS carried the momentum through the break and outscored GAHS by a 17-8 clip in the third quarter, giving the hosts a 52-25 lead with eight minutes to play.
In the finale, Gallia Academy outscored the Lady Dragons by a 10-7 count, but it was too little, too late, as FHS sealed the 59-35 victory.
For the game, GAHS shot 12-of-40 (30 percent) from the field, including 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from three-point range. The Lady Dragons combined to shoot 20-of-49 (40.8 percent) from the field, including 9-of-27 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Blue Angels shot 6-of-12 (50 percent) from the charity stripe, where Fairland shot 10-of-13 (76.9 percent).
FHS claimed a narrow 28-to-25 edge on the glass, with an 8-to-7 advantage in offensive rebounds. Fairland also earned advantages of 16-to-3 in assists and 18-to-4 in steals, while GAHS accounted for all-3 of the game’s blocked shots. The Blue and White committed 22 turnovers, five more than Fairland.
Gallia Academy junior Hunter Copley led the guests with 12 points on a two triples, a pair of two-pointers and a 2-of-2 mark at the line. Abby Cremeans and Ryelee Sipple both scored six points, with Cremeans hitting two trifectas and Sipple pulling in a game-high eight rebounds.
Alex Barnes and Ashton Webb scored four points apiece, while Macey Siders drained a three-pointer to round out the GAHS scoring column.
Webb and Barnes led the Blue Angel defense with three blocks and two steals respectively.
Emily Chapman and Allie Marshall paced the hosts with 16 points apiece, with Chapman dishing out a game-best seven assists. Alesha Simpson — who led the FHS defense with six steals — recorded 10 points and six rebounds, while Taylar Wilson and Harley Lyons scored five points apiece, with Lyons also grabbing six rebounds.
Jenna Stone contributed three points to the winning cause, while Kirsten Orsbon and Kelsie Warnock chipped in with two points apiece.
GAHS will look to avenge this loss when the Lady Dragons travel to Centenary on Feb. 1.
The Blue Angels are back in action on their home court against Portsmouth on Monday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.