BIDWELL, Ohio — It’s not how you start something, but rather how you finish it.
The South Gallia girls basketball team gave host River Valley a tough game through three periods, but the Lady Raiders held on to win 47-33 in a non-conference matchup on Friday night in Gallia County.
The Lady Raiders (1-0) started out the gates strong, but the Lady Rebels fought hard to keep things competitive early on.
The Silver and Black started the contest with three triples from Leia Moore to give River Valley a 9-2 edge early in the 6:46 left in the first quarter. The Red and Gold battled back with Ashley Northup’s four points and a triple from Erin Evans. The home team led 11-9 after one period of play.
Evans tied the game up at 11-all for South Gallia in the opening seconds of the second quarter. Maggie Campbell helped the Lady Raiders retake the lead, but Evans sunk a three-pointer to give the Lady Rebels a 14-13 lead with seven minutes left in the first half.
Midway through the second period, River Valley began to take advantage of missed baskets from South Gallia. Tianna Qualls and Erin Jackson’s combined four points got the Silver and Black back out in front with three minutes left in the half. Northup connected with a layup to keep South Gallia within one point of tying the game. Neal sunk a three to give the home team a 23-17 lead going into halftime.
The Lady Raiders netted 9-of-14 from the field in the first half of play, while the Lady Rebels managed 7-of-15 from the field. South Gallia turned the ball over nine times in the first 16 minutes. River Valley managed to turn the ball over seven times.
The River Valley offense didn’t slow down coming out of the break as Neal sunk a layup 21 seconds into the third quarter to put the Silver and Black ahead 25-17. Northup kick-started the South Gallia offense with three points to cut the deficit down to five points. The Lady Raiders kept the visitors at bay heading into the final quarter with a 31-24 lead.
The Silver and Black continued to pour on the offense in the fourth quarter. Shelby Brown netted back-to-back layups to put the home team up 37-26 with 4:44 left in the game. Courtney Smith’s six points late in the quarter helped put the game out of the Lady Rebels’ reach.
Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter as both squads had a combined 18 missed shots in the period. However, River Valley outscored South Gallia 16-9 in the fourth period.
The Lady Raiders connected on 21-of-31 field goal attempts overall, including four successful shots from three-point range. The Silver and Black also had a 26-18 advantage in rebounds. The Lady Rebels turned the ball over 12 times during the contest, while River Valley gave the ball away 11 times.
Moore led the Silver and Black with 11 points, followed by Smith and Neal with nine markers each. Brown and Qualls finished with six points each, while Maggie Campbell and Jackson had four points and two points respectively. The Lady Raiders went 1-7 from the free throw line.
“I feel like we’ve got pretty balanced play,” River Valley coach Sarah Evans-Moore said. “We got a lot of people scoring on the boards. There are a lot of things we need to get better at. I wasn’t really pleased with our defensive effort, but the bright spot was we had pretty balanced scoring. We’re going to need that throughout the year.”
Northup led the Red and Gold’s efforts with a game-high 14 points, followed by Evans with 11 points. Carrie Watson finished with four markers, while Olivia Hornsby and Aaliyah Howell finished with two points each for the Lady Rebels. South Gallia made one shot from the free throw line in four trips to the line.
“We just ran out of gas,” South Gallia coach Corey Small said. “Two of our stars are hurt and they lasted as long as they could. They all played for three quarters, but we just ran out of fuel.”
Both teams will head on the road Monday as River Valley faces Southern and South Gallia takes on Ironton Saint Joseph. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Donald Lambert can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106