LOGAN, Ohio — The goal was a victory … and you don’t have to apologize for reaching your goals.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team made the most of free throw chances while offsetting a poor shooting performance Monday night en route to a 34-32 victory over visiting Jackson in a Division II sectional semifinal contest held at Jim Myers Gymnasium inside of Logan High School.
The 15th seeded Blue Angels (9-14) made three fewer field goals than the 18th seeded Ironladies (3-19) over the course of 32 minutes, but the hosts also ended up shooting a better overall percentage from the field on 15 fewer attempts.
Both teams battled through seven ties and six lead changes throughout regulation, with neither squad leading by more than two possessions. The Blue and White, however, ultimately led the final 11:13 of play while notching their second straight postseason with at least one victory.
GAHS advances to the D-2 sectional final at noon Saturday as it faces second seeded Sheridan at Logan High School.
The Blue Angels stormed out to a 6-2 advantage four minutes into regulation, but the Red and White countered with a 7-3 run that was capped off on an offensive putback by Olivia Kennedy with three seconds left in the frame — giving JHS a slim 9-8 cushion after one period of play.
Jackson twice led by as many as three points in the second frame, which ended up being their largest lead of the night. Down 15-12, Preslee Reed drilled a trifecta that ultimately sparked a 5-2 run for a 17-all tie with 14 seconds left in the half.
Maddy Petro converted a basket just three seconds before the halftime buzzer, allowing Gallia Academy to take a 19-17 advantage into the break.
Raegan Hall opened the second half with a basket that tied things up at 19-all, then a Webb free throw with 6:46 remaining in the third gave the Ironladies their final lead of the game at 20-19.
Alex Barnes converted 1-of-2 free throw attempts to tie things up a minute later, then converted a pair of free throws at the 3:13 mark for a permanent GAHS advantage of 22-20. That trio of charity tosses also sparked a 7-0 run over 6:41 span that resulted in a 26-20 edge.
Jackson snapped its offensive drought with a Bronwyn Nelson free throw with 3.6 seconds left in the third, making it a 5-point contest headed into the finale.
JHS twice trimmed the lead down to a point, with the last occasion coming at 28-27 following a Webb free throw with 3:42 remaining.
Petro countered by converting an old-fashioned 3-point play with 2:55 left, starting a 6-2 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes that eventually provided a 34-29 lead with 15.1 ticks left. Jackson managed a bucket with six seconds left, but GAHS never had to inbound the ball as the clock ticked away — allowing Gallia Academy to wrap up the 2-point triumph.
The Blue Angels outrebounded Jackson by a 38-35 overall margin, but the Ironladies claimed a 13-11 edge on the offensive glass. GAHS also committed 20 of the 31 turnovers in the contest.
Gallia Academy made 9-of-41 field goal attempts for 22 percent, including a 1-of-5 effort from behind the arc for 20 percent. The hosts were also 15-of-23 at the free throw line for 65 percent, including a 9-of-14 performance in the second half.
Petro led the Blue Angels with a double-double effort of 18 points and 15 rebounds, both of which were game-highs. Barnes was next with a double-double effort of 11 points and 11 caroms, while Reed and Asia Griffin respectively completed the winning tally with four points and one point.
Koren Truance also hauled in six boards for the victors, who were without starter Chanee Cremeens on the inside.
The Ironladies made 12-of-56 field goal attempts for 21 percent, including a 2-of-21 effort from 3-point territory for 10 percent. The guests were also 6-of-12 at the charity stripe for 50 percent.
Webb led JHS with nine points and nine rebounds, followed by Kennedy and Lauren Elliott with eight markers apiece. Taylor Evans was next with four points, while Hall chipped in two points.
Nelson completed the Jackson tally with one point and also grabbed eight rebounds in the setback.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.