ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — So much for the third time being the charm.
The seventh-seeded South Gallia girls basketball team — which dropped a pair of regular season contests to Federal Hocking — had its postseason ended by the second-seeded Lady Lancers on Saturday at Meigs High School, as FHHS won the Division IV sectional title game by a 40-27 count.
The Lady Rebels (8-14) never led in the contest, falling behind 11-4 eight minutes into play. Federal Hocking (14-7) outscored SGHS by an 11-4 count again in the second period, and went into halftime with a 22-8 advantage.
South Gallia scored five straight points out of the half, cutting the deficit back to single digits at 22-13. However, the Lady Lancers ended the third quarter with a 9-to-4 spurt and a 31-17 lead.
The Lady Rebels cut the margin as low as 11, at 33-22, by the midway point of the fourth period, but never got closer, as FHHS capped off the 40-27 win with a 7-to-5 run.
“We prepared for it, we knew they were going to press us with the 1-2-2, 2-2-1 and 1-3-1 extended,” SGHS head coach Corey Small said. “We still struggled with it. Later in the game we kind of figured it out, but it was just too late.”
For the game, South Gallia shot 11-of-31 (35.5 percent) from the field, including 0-of-5 from beyond the arc, while Federal Hocking was 13-of-60 (21.7 percent) from the field, including 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from three-point range. At the free throw line SGHS shot 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) and FHHS was 12-of-26 (46.2 percent).
The Lady Rebels outrebounded Federal Hocking by a 38-to-33 count, despite FHHS claiming a 19-to-8 advantage on the offensive end. SGHS also claimed a 6-to-5 assists advantage. The Lady Lancers claimed all-3 of the game’s blocked shots and picked up an 18-to-5 steals advantage.
South Gallia turned the ball over 33 times in total, while Federal Hocking turned the ball over 13 times.
“I knew defensively we were in that 3-2, and we weren’t going to force a lot of turnovers,” Small said. “We had to make every shot contested, we did a pretty good job, but defensive rebounding we struggled with today and gave up a lot of offensive boards. That was the difference, we turned the ball over and then gave them 2-3-4 shots a possession. You can’t do that, especially shooting 35 percent and 0-for-5 from three.”
SGHS senior Erin Evans led the Lady Rebels with eight points, all of which came in the second half. Olivia Hornsby was was next with seven points, followed by Amaya Howell with four points.
Faith Poling and Alyssa Cremeens scored three points apiece in the setback, with Poling grabbing a team-best 10 rebounds. Aaliyah Howell rounded out the South Gallia scoring column with two points, while picking up a team-best two steals.
Poling, Evans and Aaliyah Howell each had two assists in the contest.
Paige Tolson led the Lady Lancers with 14 points, to go with a game-high eight steals. Emma Beha recorded a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds for FHHS, Kylie Tabler scored five points, while Hannah Dunfee marked three points. Brittanie Jackson and Tamika Mayle each had two points, with Jackson adding a team-best two assists. Audrey Blake capped off the winning total with one point.
This marks the final game in the Red and Gold for SGHS seniors Aaliyah Howell, Erin Evans, Olivia Hornsby and Brooke Campbell.
“I’ll miss all of the seniors, they play extremely hard,” Small said. “They laid the foundation for where we are right now, this program is on the rise. I’m just proud of all of them. I look forward to seeing the sophomores and freshmen step up. The first thing we’re going to is get in the weight room, we’re not physically strong enough to get to the level we want to be at.”
Federal Hocking moves on the the district semifinal on Saturday at Jackson High School, where it will face third-seeded Peebles. The Lady Lancers are 1-of-4 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division teams to win a Division IV sectional title, joining Waterford, Eastern and Miller.
In the regular season FHHS defeated South Gallia by a 46-29 count in Mercerville and a 41-25 margin in Stewart.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.