CENTENARY, Ohio — In a four-team league, it was a three-way tie, but the Blue Devils definitely won’t turn it down.
That’s because the Gallia Academy High School tennis team, in the forever final Southeastern Ohio Athletic League match on Monday, gained its share of the SEOAL championship —by edging the visiting Jackson Ironmen by a count of 3-2.
And, the Blue Devils did the job this time — by doing the reverse of so many of their 3-2 outcomes this season.
That was winning both doubles matches, instead of sweeping the three singles contests.
They also changed up their lineup, and moved Miles Cornwell — the GAHS senior captain — from his regular third-singles spot to team with fellow senior MiKayla Edelmann at first doubles.
The move paid off and helped clinched the championship share, as Gallia Academy, Jackson and Logan all finished at 4-2 in the league — while Athens went winless at 0-6.
The Blue Devils, Ironmen and Logan all split their meetings with one another, but the Blue Devils needed to defeat Jackson in order to earn their piece of the title.
The Ironmen already owned at least a share — and aimed for their second consecutive SEOAL outright crown.
Last season, Jackson had denied the Blue Devils a fourth consecutive conference championship, as the league dropped down to its final four clubs before the last academic year.
Monday’s decision was also, believe it or not, the 10th such 3-2 match for the Blue Devils.
They were 6-4 in those 10 bouts — with losses to Logan, Wheelersburg, Ironton and Jackson.
Gallia Academy, with three non-league matches getting cancelled and not rescheduled, ended its season at 10-4.
In the Blue and White’s first meeting against Jackson on April 24, the Ironmen swept the two doubles tilts, while Jackson senior Connor Radune — a Division II state tournament qualifier last season — defeated Miguel Velasco at first singles.
On Monday, while Radune defeated Velasco again at first singles 6-4, 6-3, the Ironmen’s only other win was Blake Wyatt at third singles.
He swept Gallia Academy’s Katie Carpenter 6-1, 6-0.
Gallia Academy’s only singles win was at second singles, as Pierce Wilcoxon won over Caden Southard 6-0, 6-2.
Instead, the Blue Devils’ doubles teams took their two bouts, as Cornwell and Edelmann swept Jackson’s Travis Stevens and Zayne Warrens 6-2, 6-0.
At second doubles, Gallia Academy’s Kirsten Hesson and Olivia Meadows managed a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Madison Ephlin and Mason Sheets.
The matchup was the final for four GAHS seniors — Cornwell, Edelmann, Meadows and Jenelle Stevens.
On Saturday, the juniors Velasco and Wilcoxon will team up for the Division II Southeast-East District doubles tournament at Ohio University — as they are the top-seeded squad at the district.
Velasco and Wilcoxon played first and second singles all season respectively, but paired together for the postseason —and captured the Division II sectional tournament a week ago.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106