MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Long live the long ball.
The South Gallia girls basketball team drained a dozen three-pointers and held Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Wahama without a trifecta on Thursday night in Gallia County, as the Lady Rebels rolled to a 59-38 victory.
Wahama (6-14, 3-13 TVC Hocking) led 2-0, but was held without a field goal for the remainder of the first quarter, as South Gallia (7-13, 4-12) opened up a 12-3 advantage by the end of the period.
The Lady Rebels went on a 19-to-5 second quarter run on the strength of four three-point goals, and the hosts went into the break with a 31-8 lead.
South Gallia connected on five triples in the opening five minutes of the second half and pushed its lead to a game-high 37 points, at 51-14. Wahama closed the the third period with a 5-3 run, however, trimming the SGHS lead to 54-19 headed into the finale.
The Lady Falcons outscored South Gallia by a 19-to-5 clip in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late, as the Lady Rebels claimed the 59-38 triumph.
The SGHS win avenges a 45-40 setback to the Lady Falcons from the Jan. 11 meeting at WHS.
“I think when we went up there we underestimated them a little bit honestly,” South Gallia head coach Corey Small said. “We found out that Wahama can play. When they came here our girls were ready, the defensive intensity was a lot better and the ball actually went through the hole a little bit, which helps too. We played an all-around good game.”
On Thursday, the Lady Rebels shot 21-of-62 (33.9 percent) from the field, including 12-of-28 (42.9 percent) from three-point range.
After making just two field goals in the first half, the Lady Falcons finished the game shooting at a 15-of-37 (40.5 percent) rate, while missing all-7 three-point tries.
“We had to play harder,” WHS head coach John Arnott said of the difference in the first and second halves. “We switched our defense up into what I call a diamond, and took that three-point shooter away from them. When the game got on the line in the fourth we had to go to a man-to-man and force the issue a little bit.”
From the free throw line, South Gallia shot 5-of-10 (50 percent) and Wahama was 4-of-12 (33.3 percent).
The guests won the rebounding battle by a 43-to-29 tally, despite SGHS taking a 10-to-9 edge in offensive boards. The Lady Rebels claimed advantages of 18-to-6 in assists and 22-to-3 in steals, while Wahama claimed all-3 of the game’s blocked shots.
The hosts turned the ball over 13 times, nine of which came after the half. After giving the ball away 21 times in the opening 16 minutes, the Lady Falcons turned the ball over 11 times in the second half.
“We turned the ball over ridiculously in the first half, which we didn’t need to do,” Arnott said. “We got shell-shocked with this noise and the pep band, we weren’t ready for all the noise. I thought we played hard in the second half, we made a game of it and kept pushing.”
SGHS was led by Erin Evans with 15 points on five three-pointers. Aaliyah Howell hit a trio of three-pointers en route to 13 points, to go with a game-best five assists. Alyssa Cremeens scored 10 points and Kiley Stapleton added nine, with both players making two triples.
Amaya Howell had four points in the win, Faith Poling chipped in with three, while Brooke Campbell and Christine Griffith had two apiece. Olivia Hornsby rounded out the winning total with one marker.
Evans and Griffith tied for a team-high with five rebounds apiece, while Aaliyah Howell paced the defense with six steals.
Wahama was led by Emma Gibbs with 17 points, 11 of which came in the final period. Next was Hannah Rose, who scored 13 of her 16 in the second half. Victoria VanMatre and Gracie VanMeter each had two points for the guests, while Harley Roush added one.
Gibbs pulled in a game-best 20 rebounds and led the Lady Falcon defense with three blocks and one steal. Roush and VanMatre each assisted on two baskets for the Red and White.
Prior to the game, South Gallia honored its four seniors, Aaliyah Howell, Brooke Campbell, Erin Evans, and Olivia Hornsby for playing in their final home game.
“It’s nice to get a win for the seniors, they played really hard all year,” Small said. “They’re a great group of kids, they work hard in practice and they’re great leaders. I’m just happy we can send them out with a win.”
Thursday marked the regular season finale for the Lady Rebels, who will face Ironton St. Joseph in the Division IV sectional semifinal at Meigs High School on Monday.
“We had open looks and we made them,” Small said. “It’s good timing with tournaments coming up Monday against Ironton St. Joe. Hopefully we can carry this momentum and get us a win in the tournament.”
After visiting Hannan on Friday, the Lady Falcons will have a few days to rest before hosting Ohio Valley Christian on Thursday.
“We’re tired, this is our third game this week and we’re going again tomorrow,” Arnott said. “We’re tired, but we’re alright. With tired legs you don’t shoot the ball well. We’re basically a jayvee team playing a varsity schedule. You get those three freshmen and two sophomores out there, and that’s what we’ve got.”
With this being the last league game for both sides, South Gallia finishes tied for sixth with Southern, while Wahama takes eighth in the final TVC Hocking standings.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.