ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The Lady Rebels scored the opening two points of Thursday night’s Division IV sectional final at Meigs High School, but it was all down hill from there.
The top-seeded Waterford girls basketball team scored the next 35 points and rolled to 68-20 victory over ninth-seeded South Gallia, landing the Lady Wildcats in their 12th straight district tournament, while ending the Lady Rebels season.
South Gallia (6-18) trailed 26-2 by the conclusion of the first period and 43-5 by halftime. Waterford (22-1) held a 16-to-6 advantage in first half rebounds, while forcing 19 turnovers, including 14 in the opening stanza.
The Lady Wildcats — who are ranked second in the latest AP Division IV Poll — hit 18-of-30 field goal tries in the first half, while SGHS shot just 2-of-16 from the field.
Waterford outscored South Gallia 16-to-11 in the third quarter and 9-to-4 in the finale, capping of the 68-20 WHS victory and the three-game season sweep of the Red and Gold.
The Lady Rebels finished with 12 defensive rebounds, five offensive boards, five assists, three steals, one blocked shot and 29 turnovers. On the other side, the Green and White recorded 19 defensive rebounds, 10 offensive rebounds, 19 assists, 12 steals, three blocks and 11 turnovers.
South Gallia — which missed its only two free throw attempts — shot 9-of-36 (25 percent) from the field, including 2-of-17 (11.7 percent) from three-point range. For the game, Waterford shot 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) from the charity stripe and 27-of-50 (54 percent) from the field, including 4-of-12 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
SGHS senior Mikayla Poling led the Red and Gold with eight points, five rebounds and two assists, while Aaliyah Howell scored six points on two trifectas. Ashley Northup, Carrie Watson and Erin Evans each scored two points in the setback, with Northup pulling in five rebounds and Watson dishing out two assists.
Evans, Northup and Olivia Hornsby each recorded a steal for the South Gallia defense, while Watson came away with one blocked shot.
WHS senior Dani Drayer led the Lady Cats with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists, while fellow senior Regan Porter marked 15 points and seven rebounds. Alli Kern scored 13 points, Mariah Starkey added seven, while Hannah Duff posted five points. Ashley Offenberger, Megan Ball, Erin Roush, Jillian McCutcheon and Kenzie Dietz each scored two points in the win, with Ball dishing out four assists.
Waterford’s defensive effort was charged by Kern and Drayer with four and three steals respectively, while Dietz and Ball each blocked a shot.
The Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division champion Lady Cats also defeated South Gallia on January 4 and February 4. The first meeting was a 67-12 decision in Washington County, while the more recent of the regular season showdowns went to Waterford by a 68-34 count, in Mercerville.
The Green and Gold will move on to Thursday’s district semifinal at Jackson High School, where they will face fourth-seeded Western.
South Gallia — which has been knocked out of the postseason in the sectional round for the third straight season — will say goodbye to seniors Mikayla Poling, Ashley Northup and Carrie Watson, who have played their last basketball game in the Red and Gold.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.