CENTENARY, Ohio — The first mark in the win column.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team earned their first victory of the season Monday night, claiming a 45-33 decision over Ohio Valley Conference guest Coal Grove.
The Blue Angels (1-4, 1-3 OVC) never trailed in the game and led 9-5 after eight minutes of play. Gallia Academy outscored Coal Grove (1-4, 1-3) 13-to-8 in the second period, expanding the advantage to 22-13 at halftime.
In the first half GAHS held a 21-18 advantage in rebounds, while committing two fewer turnovers. GAHS shot just 26.7 percent from the field over the first two quarters, while the Lady Hornets were 26.1 percent from the field.
Coal Grove scored the first four points of the second half, but GAHS answered with a string of three straight baskets by Hunter Copley on assists from Jalea Caldwell. The Lady Hornets ended that spell with a Kaylee Beals trifecta, but the Blue and White ended the third on a 8-3 run that pushed the lead to 37-23 with eight minutes remaining.
GAHS pulled down 14 rebounds in the final quarter alone, helping to close out the 45-33 triumph.
“In the first half we’ve been doing pretty good all year,” GAHS head coach Joe Justice said. “We had the lead and we talked in the locker room about proving to ourselves that we can compete in the third quarter. We outscored them 15-to-10 in the third quarter and continued to play.”
The Blue Angel offense was led by Copley with 10 points, followed by Caldwell and Adrienne Jenkins with eight each. KoKo Higa and Jordan Walker both marked six points, Kim Edelmann added three, while Carly Shriver and Aubrey Unroe had two points apiece in the triumph.
For the game, GAHS shot 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from the free throw line and 19-of-61 (31.1 percent) from beyond the arc, including 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team Gallia Academy had 31 defensive rebounds, 17 offensive boards, 11 assists, seven steals, two blocks, 12 fouls and 20 turnovers.
“Communicating on defense when we came out in the third quarter,” Justice noted as a key to the victory. “We rebounded very well, one shot and done then we’d push and run the floor. In the past we didn’t do that, we were giving up three or four shots.”
Copley also led the Blue and White on the glass with 12 boards, followed by Caldwell with 11 and Walker with nine. Caldwell posted a game-best six assists, while Copley and Jenkins each had two. Copley led the Blue Angel defense with three steals and a block, followed by Caldwell had two steals and Walker with one steal and one block.
Emily Compliment paced the Lady Hornets with 16 points, followed by Kaylee Beals, Mattie Malone and Lauren Crum with four points apiece. Kasey Murphy marked three points, while Bailey McKnight rounded out the CGHS total with two markers.
Coal Grove shot 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the free throw line, 12-of-56 (21.4 percent) from the field and 1-of-19 (5.3 percent) from beyond the arc. The guests had 24 defensive rebounds, 12 offensive rebounds, two assists, 12 steals, seven blocks, 13 fouls and 16 turnovers.
Murphy posted a team-best 10 rebounds, followed by McKnight with eight. Compliment and Waulk each had an assist in the setback, while Murphy led the defense with five steals. Beals had four steals, Compliment added four blocks, while Crum rejected two shots.
Gallia Academy will look to sweep Coal Grove on January 21, when the Blue Angels invade Lawrence County. GAHS returns to action on Thursday at South Point.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.