JACKSON, Ohio — Unfortunately for Gallia Academy, Monday night’s non-league girls basketball tilt was a four-quarter affair — instead of three.
That’s because the Blue Angels only scored a single basket in the entire second stanza, fell behind after staking an early lead, and ultimately lost to the Jackson Ironladies 51-34 at Jackson High School.
With the loss, Gallia Academy (5-8) —despite being more much competitive compared to the two teams’ initial meeting on Dec. 22 —found itself on the wrong end of an Ironlady sweep.
The Blue Angels amassed a 6-2 advantage on Monday night, but only toted a single field goal in the final nine minutes and 45 seconds of the first half.
Thus, the Ironladies (7-8) ended the opening half on an 18-2 run —as the Blue Angels’ only points of the aforementioned span was a Hunter Copley basket off an Alex Barnes assist only 30 seconds into the second quarter.
The Ironladies ended the half with 15 unanswered points, taking a 20-8 lead into the intermission —before outscoring the Blue Angels 31-26 in the second 16 minutes.
Jackson extended its lead to as large as 14 in the third frame — as Gallia Academy inched within nine points twice at 21-12 (with six-and-a-half minutes) and 28-19 (with two minutes left).
Trailing 36-22 at the end of the third quarter, the Blue Angels only got as close as 15 (47-32) from there —on the club’s only three-pointer by Copley with 2:07 to play.
The Ironladies’ largest lead of the entire night was exactly 20 —at 44-24 with 4:45 to go.
Truth be told, the Blue Angels are a young team trying to improve as the season stretches into its second half —and they showed some signs of improvement on Monday night.
Still, however, they need to cut down on turnovers —which especially plagued them in the epic second-stanza scoring drought.
In addition, Gallia Academy only shot 24-percent (13-of-54), including only Copley’s made three on eight attempts.
The Blue Angels endured a scoring drought of exactly seven minutes and 50 seconds.
“We’re getting to a point right now where we are competitive for all four quarters. If you take that second quarter away where we missed several bunnies and had some turnovers, then it’s a different ballgame,” said GAHS coach Joe Justice. “We continued to battle in the second half, we got it down to 11 or 12 a few times, but just didn’t get over the hump. We’re still a young team, but I think the girls are playing hard and getting better every day. That was our goal for this season as we get ready for tournament time.”
Jackson junior Rebekah Green, who almost outscored the Blue Angels by herself in the first meeting with 30 points, garnered a game-high 24 on Monday — despite playing with a badly-injured thumb.
She scored seven two-point goals over the final three periods, and sank 7-of-8 second-half foul shots.
She also grabbed nine of Jackson’s 36 rebounds — and dished out five assists while making off with four steals.
Green canned the Ironladies’ only three-ball to make it 6-5, then scored eight straight points and 10 out of 12 in the second quarter to give the Red and White the lead.
The only other Jackson first-half points came on a pair of Marley Haynes first-quarter free throws, an Emily Brown steal and layup that made it 15-8, and an old-fashioned three-point play by Deb Hill.
As is often the Ironladies’ case, they relied heavily upon their defense to jump-start their offense.
They switched from a 2-3 matchup zone in the first quarter to their traditional man-to-man pressure in the second.
“We held them to eight points in two quarters, and I thought that was a compliment to our defense,” said Jackson coach Matt Walburn. “We did switch it up to man and started to put more pressure on them. I think it helped us offensively to get started as well. Shots started to fall in that second quarter, Rebekah (Green) got to the rim a few times, and (Amelia) Davis hit a few in the second half. I thought our defense and picking up the pressure really helped us get moving offensively.”
The Ironladies amassed a 17-12 advantage in total field goals, as both teams shot 21 free throws — with Jackson draining 16 and Gallia Academy only nine.
Amelia Davis dropped in four field goals and 2-of-2 free throws for 10 points, while Hill had two buckets and 3-of-3 free throws for seven.
Brown bagged three baskets for six points, while Mariah Ridgeway and Ally Irwin split a pair of second-half freebies.
Copley paced the Blue Angels with 14 points — on five total field goals and 3-of-6 tosses.
She scored six of Gallia Academy’s eight markers in the opening half —with Barnes bucketing the other two.
Adrienne Jenkins added 10 points in the second half — on three field goals and 4-of-6 foul shots.
Barnes with two field goals, Abby Cremeans with a third-quarter field goal and free throw, Carly Shriver with a third-frame field goal, and Jenelle Stevens with a foul shot rounded out the Blue and White scoring.
The Blue Angels return to the road, and return to Ohio Valley Conference action, on Thursday night at Chesapeake.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106