ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — All good things must come to an end.
The Gallia Academy girls basketball team had a four-game winning streak snapped in what also proved to be its season finale Saturday afternoon during a 64-45 setback to Jackson in a Division II sectional championship contest at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium on the campus of Meigs High School.
The ninth-seeded Blue Angels (9-15) put up quite a fight in the opening moments of the game, as the guests hit their first four shots from the field en route to a 9-8 advantage at the 4:36 mark of the first period. The top-seeded Ironladies followed with a pair of free throws from Kari Jenkins at the 3:54 point for a 10-9 cushion, and then led the rest of the afternoon.
Jackson (22-1) closed the final three-plus minutes of the opener on an 8-2 spurt for an 18-11 lead after eight minutes of play. The Ironladies followed with a 16-8 run to claim their biggest lead of the first half at 34-19 with 27 seconds remaining, but GAHS got a trifecta from Chelsy Slone 20 seconds later to cut the halftime deficit down to 34-22.
The Blue Angels scored the opening points of the third quarter after Kendra Barnes netted a basket at the 7:19 mark, allowing the guests to get within 10 points. Gallia Academy was never closer, as JHS reeled off 11 consecutive points over the next three minutes for a sizable 45-24 cushion with 4:27 left.
Abby Wiseman hit a free throw at the 3:58 mark to end the Angels’ scoreless drought for a 45-25 deficit, but the hosts responded with a 9-3 surge the rest of the way to take a 54-28 edge into the finale. The 26-point margin was also the biggest lead of the night for Jackson.
GAHS scored the first six points to climb back to within 20 just two minutes into the fourth, and then the Blue Angels ultimately trimmed their deficit down to 17 points (62-45) with 52 seconds left in regulation before running out of time.
The final outcome was as close as Gallia Academy had been to the Ironladies all season long. GAHS dropped a 65-27 decision at Jackson and also suffered a 55-33 setback at home in the two previous regular season matchups.
The Blue Angels finished the night 17-of-47 from the field for 36 percent, including a 5-of-16 effort from three-point range for 31 percent. GAHS committed 20 turnovers and also went 6-of-9 at the free throw line for 67 percent.
Chelsy Slone led Gallia Academy with a game-high 20 points, followed by Kendra Barnes with 11 points and Micah Curfman with eight markers. Abby Wiseman and Hannah Loveday rounded out the respective scoring with four and two markers.
The Blue Angels were outrebounded by a 40-23 overall margin and combined for six steals and six assists in the setback. Slone hauled in a team-high seven caroms and Curfman handed out three assists.
Jackson — which advances to face Washington Court House in the district semis at Southeastern High School on Saturday — connected on 24-of-63 shot attempts for 38 percent, including a 3-of-14 effort from three-point range for 21 percent.
Lydia Poe paced JHS with 16 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Kari Jenkins with 13 points and Madison Ridout with 12 markers. The Ironladies committed 13 turnovers and also went 13-of-23 from the charity stripe for 57 percent.
There were a total of three ties and six lead changes in the contest, all of which came in the opening period. Gallia Academy led twice and held a 6-4 edge at the 5:55 mark for its largest advantage of the night.
It was the final basketball game for GAHS seniors Halley Barnes, Hannah Loveday, Megan Cochran and Abby Wiseman in the Blue and White. The Blue Angels finished fourth in SEOAL play this season with a 4-6 league mark.