CENTENARY, Ohio — A 26-point improvement, but there was still room for more.
After dropping a 73-33 decision at South Point last Thursday, the Gallia Academy girls basketball team put up a much more competitive effort Wednesday night during a 60-46 setback in an Ohio Valley Conference girls basketball contest in Gallia County.
The host Blue Angels (8-13, 3-10 OVC) never led in the contest as the Lady Pointers (12-8, 8-5) broke away from an early 3-2 edge by hitting six of their first eight shot attempts while extending that previously slim lead out to 17-2 less than five minutes into regulation.
GAHS was never closer than a dozen points in the rest of the first half and trailed by at least three possessions the rest of the way.
The Blue and White, however, overcame that horrific start with a pretty solid effort the rest of the way after outscoring SPHS by a 44-43 margin in the final 27 minutes of regulation.
After South Point established its early 15-point cushion at the 3:21 mark, both teams went on to trade five points apiece en route to a 22-7 contest after eight minutes of play.
Adrienne Jenkins capped a quick 4-1 second period run with a jumper at the 6:36 mark, allowing the Blue Angels to whittle the deficit down to 23-11.
The Blue and Gold, however, responded with a 10-6 surge over the next six minutes while building their largest lead of the first half at 33-17. Jenkins added another basket with 19 seconds left to make it a 33-19 contest at the intermission.
SPHS hits 5-of-7 shot attempts on eight possessions to start the third canto, while the hosts again limped out to five turnovers and zero shots over that same span. That quick 12-0 charge allowed the Lady Pointers to secure a 45-19 lead less than two minutes into the second half.
The guests eventually led by as many as 27 points as a Leah Lawson basket made it a 49-22 contest with 2:21 remaining. Gallia Academy, however, reeled off 10 consecutive points to close the gap down to 49-32 headed into the finale.
Hunter Copley capped a 10-3 run with a basket at the 3:25 mark to pull the deficit down to 10 points at 52-42, then Kimberly Edelmann netted a pair of free throws with 1:19 left to make it a three-possession game at 53-44 — but the hosts were never closer.
South Point hit 9-of-14 free throw attempts down the stretch and closed the final 1:11 with a 7-2 run to wrap up the 14-point triumph.
The Lady Pointers outrebounded GAHS by a 30-24 overall margin, including a 10-5 edge on the offensive glass. The guests also committed 15 turnovers and went 12-of-20 at the free throw line for 60 percent.
The Blue Angels committed seven turnovers in each of the first three stanzas and finished the night with 23 total miscues. The Blue and White were also 8-of-9 at the charity stripe for 89 percent.
Gallia Academy connected on 16-of-42 field goal attempts for 38 percent, which included a 6-of-14 effort from behind the arc for 43 percent.
Copley led the hosts with a game-high 19 points and Jenkins added 14 points, while Carly Shirver added three markers and a team-best seven rebounds. Copley and Jenkins also hauled in four caroms apiece.
Edelmann, Abby Cremeans, Alex Barnes, Jenelle Stevens and Macey Siders wrapped up the GAHS tally with two points each.
The Blue and Gold netted 21-of-54 shot attempts for 37 percent, including a 6-of-19 effort from three-point territory for 32 percent.
Madison Kearns and Brooklyn Badgett paced the guests with 13 points apiece, followed by Emilee Whitt with a dozen points and Lawson with seven markers.
Ashley Perkey was next with six points and Kate Mundy chipped in three points. Emilee Carey, Elisha Spencer and Abbey Hannah wrapped up the winning total with two points apiece.
Mundy led the Lady Pointers with a game-high nine rebounds. Lawson, Perkey and Maddy Khounlavong also grabbed four boards each in the win.
Gallia Academy hosts Portsmouth on Thursday in the OVC finale. The Senior Night event tips off at 7:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.