WELLSTON, Ohio — Alas, no upset to be had.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team had its 2018-19 campaign come to a close on Thursday in Jackson County, as the seventh-seeded Blue Angels fell to No. 2 seed Sheridan by a 54-11 count in the Division II sectional final.
Sheridan (21-2) — the fifth-ranked team in the final OHSAA Division II AP Poll — scored the first 16 points of the game. Gallia Academy (6-16) got on the board for the first time with an Abby Cremeans two-pointer at the 3:15 mark of the quarter, on just the team’s second shot attempt. SHS closed the first period with a 10-to-2 run and took a 26-4 lead into the second.
After a pair of free throws by the Lady Generals to start the second, GAHS hit its third two-pointer of the game with 6:30 left in the half. SHS, however, claimed the final 11 points of the half and headed into the break with a 39-6 advantage.
The Lady Generals opened the second half with a trifecta, before a Blue Angel bucket with 5:52 left in the third period. Sheridan ended the stanza with an 6-0 spurt and a 47-8 lead.
SHS scored the first seven points of the finale and led by a game-high 46 points, before GAHS hit three free throws in the final two minutes.
In the 54-11 setback, Gallia Academy shot 4-of-21 (36.4 percent) from the field, missing both of its three-point tries. Meanwhile, Sheridan was 21-of-58 (36.2 percent) from the field, including 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from deep. At the foul line, GAHS was 3-of-6 (50 percent) and SHS was 6-of-8 (75 percent).
The Lady Generals claimed a narrow 23-to-21 edge in rebounds, including a 15-to-4 advantage in offensive boards. The Blue and White committed 27 turnovers, while Sheridan had just four giveaways. The Blue Angels combined for three steals, two assists and a rejection, while SHS had two dozen steals, a dozen assists and a pair of blocked shots.
Gallia Academy freshman Preslee Reed made a field goal and two free throws to lead the Blue Angels with four points. Maddy Petro scored three points and pulled in a game-high eight rebounds, while Cremeans and Junon Ohmura scored two apiece.
Petro and Cremeans each earned an assist for GAHS, Cremeans, Ohmura and Reed had a steal apiece, while Petro claimed the team’s lone rejection.
Aubrie White paced Sheridan with 15 points, followed by Rachel Cooke with 10 points and seven boards. Emma Conrad tallied eight points, Kendyl Mick added six points and a game-high four assists, while Liberty Justice had five points.
Bailey Becksteat and Claire Montgomery both scored four in the win, while Faith Stinson added two. Justice and Becksteat had four steals each to lead the SHS defense, while Stinson and Cooke rejected a shot apiece.
This was the final game in the Blue and White for GAHS seniors Abby Cremeans, Katie Carpenter and Hunter Copley, as well as junior exchange student Junon Ohmura.
With the rest of the squad eligible to return, Gallia Academy head coach Jordan Deel is hoping the Blue Angels put in the work this offseason in order to have better campaign next winter.
“One thing I can’t deny, all season our girls showed effort,” Deel said. “Whether things were going our way or not, the effort was consistent. Looking to the offseason, I’m looking for the girls to show up to open gyms and shootouts in the spring and summer time. That’s the time to get better, that’s what I challenged them to do, get better in the offseason. It starts in the spring and summer, you get better for the season in the offseason.
“Due to injuries, a lot of young girls played a lot of varsity basketball for us, and that experience is only going to help us moving forward. Those girls are going to be better due to the experience this season.”
Next for Sheridan, a meeting with third-seeded Unioto in the district semifinal at Southeastern High School on Wednesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.