BIDWELL, Ohio — A happy home-opener.
The River Valley girls basketball team claimed a 56-32 victory over non-conference guest Gallia Academy, in the Lady Raiders first home game of the season on Monday in Gallia County.
River Valley (2-0) never trailed in the contest, fighting through a tie at 2-2 before charging out to a 13-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Gallia Academy (0-1) began the second period with a 7-to-6 run, but the Lady Raiders scored 12 of the next 18 points and went into halftime with a 31-19 edge.
A 12-to-7 third quarter run gave the Silver and Black a 43-26 advantage headed into the finale.
RVHS extended its lead to a game-high 26 points in the final quarter, and settled for the 56-32 win.
Following the victory, third-year River Valley head coach Stephen Roderick talked about moving to 2-0 and doing so against the Blue Angels, who had won five straight in the head-to-head series.
“I know the girls are happy, this was a big one for us with the county rival,” Roderick said. “Coach (Jordan) Deel does a good job, they have some nice players over there, and I thought that we got after it a little bit more than they did. I felt like we wanted it a little bit more. These girls are ready for a big season, and it started tonight.
“We have some girls who are really playing hard, accepting their roles, and I’m just really, really proud of them. It was a little muddy there for a while, but they came together, and I don’t think we’ve ever had the support from our team that we do this year. The girls have really bought into a team attitude, and it’s making a difference in how we play. There will be nights that are tougher than others, it’s always easy to get up for a rival. We’ve been on the other side of that plenty, so it feels good, it feels real good.”
River Valley won the rebounding battle by a 38-to-25 count, including 13-to-5 on the offensive end. The Silver and Black finished with 19 steals, 15 assists, three blocked shots and 18 turnovers in the win, while the Blue Angels ended with 11 steals, five assists, one block and 27 turnovers.
After the contest, second-year Gallia Academy head coach Jordan Deel acknowledged the Blue Angels turnover troubles.
“It starts with turnovers, turnovers, turnovers, that’s something we talked about right afterwards,” Deel said. “You have to take care of the basketball, each possession you give it up is a lack of opportunity for us, and they capitalized on it tonight.
“Hat’s off to River Valley, they showed up, they were a lot better and we knew they were going to be better than they were last year. Coach Roderick is doing a great job of having them get up and down the court, and having them finish around the rim. We didn’t rebound well, they did, they hit shots, we didn’t, and we turned the ball over, and they didn’t, that’s the big difference in tonight’s game.”
For the contest, RVHS shot 22-of-59 (37.3 percent) from the field, including 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, GAHS was 10-of-41 (24.4 percent) from the field, including 0-of-4 from deep. The Lady Raiders were 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) from the free throw line, where the Blue Angels shot 12-of-19 (63.2 percent).
Hannah Jacks led the victors in four categories, scoring 17 points, grabbing nine rebounds, coming up with seven steals, and blocking two shots. Sierra Somerville scored 14 points in the win, Payton Crabtree added nine points and a game-best four assists, while Kasey Birchfield posted seven points. Lauren Twyman and Savannah Reese scored three points apiece for River Valley, while Kaylee Tucker scored two and Kaylee Gillman scored one.
Maddy Petro paced the guests with 23 points and nine rebounds, to go with five steals and a rejection. Alex Barnes scored eight points for Gallia Academy, while Preslee Reed added one marker.
These teams are schedule to meet again on Jan. 20 at GAHS.
Next, River Valley visits South Gallia on Saturday, and Gallia Academy welcomes Ironton on Monday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.