CENTENARY, Ohio — Unfortunately for the Blue Angels, Gallia Academy High School served as a no-passing zone on Thursday night.
As the visiting Ironton Fighting Tigers constantly ran through the Blue Angel passing lanes, and turned turnovers into points, the Fighting Tigers tallied a 72-36 victory over Gallia Academy — in an Ohio Valley Conference girls basketball tilt.
Spearheaded by its swarming full-court pressure defense, and even in its half-court sets, Ironton alertly covered Gallia Academy’s passing angles —collecting several steals and converting them into easy transition buckets.
As a result, the early estimate on the damage done to the Blue Angels was their 24-0 deficit just nine minutes into the game.
As for the late total, the Fighting Tigers’ largest advantage stood at 72-34 with a minute and 34 seconds remaining — on a Haylee Stevens old-fashioned three-point play.
Ironton outscored the Blue Angels 22-0 in the opening quarter, as Gallia Academy amassed 15 second-stanza points to trail 41-15 at halftime.
The Blue Angels then fell 17-10 in the third period, as Ironton’s insurmountable cushion swelled to 62-25 with seven minutes to play.
With the loss, Gallia Academy fell to 6-10 — and 2-7 in the OVC.
Ironton, tied with Fairland (9-1) for the league lead, raised its record to 13-4 — and 9-1 in the conference.
It was all Lady Tigers all the time on Thursday, as their first-half blitzkrieg gave them three 28-point leads (35-7, 37-9 and 39-11) — by the two-minute mark of the second quarter.
The Blue Angels finally scored with 10 minutes and five seconds gone by —when Jenelle Stevens scored inside to make it 24-2.
The closest the Blue and White came from there was at the five-minute mark of the stanza —when Stevens scored again to make it 27-7.
At the 5:48 mark, Adrienne Jenkins drilled a three-pointer for a 26-5 deficit, as she also scored a deuce in the period — along with a two in the third.
Alex Barnes, the Gallia Academy freshman who had five field goals and a free throw, led the Blue Angels with 11 points.
All 11 came in the middle two cantos, as Ironton only outscored the Blue Angels 50-36 over the final three quarters.
Stevens sank a final basket for six points, as Kimberly Edelmann — on a fourth-quarter two and three — added five.
Hunter Copley canned a third-frame three-ball, followed by fourth-quarter buckets by Aubrey Unroe and Abby Cremeans.
The Fighting Tigers, in addition to doubling up GAHS on the scoreboard, did so in total field goals 32-16.
Ironton also made more free throws (six) than the Blue Angels even attempted (five).
Five Fighting Tigers finished in double figures — paced by Alyssa Lewis’ 17 points.
Lewis landed eight total field goals, as freshman Lexie Arden added 15 points — on six field goals and 3-of-6 foul shots.
Lexi Wise, on five baskets and 2-of-5 free throws, chipped in a dozen —as Sydney Webb with 11 and Taiya Hamlet with 10 also netted five hoops.
Lewis and Webb were responsible for a three-point goal apiece.
The Blue Angels return home, and return to OVC action, on Monday night against Coal Grove.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106