BIDWELL, Ohio — A perfect first week on the road, and the Blue Angels have most of Gallia County to thank for it.
Three days after knocking off South Gallia in the season opener, the Gallia Academy girls basketball team remained unbeaten after posting a 53-45 wire-to-wire victory over host River Valley Thursday night in a non-conference matchup of Gallia County programs.
The visiting Blue Angels (2-0) jumped out to an early 9-4 advantage, then ran off 15 consecutive points over a 6:47 span between the first and second quarters to establish a comfortable 24-4 cushion with 3:52 remaining before halftime.
The Lady Raiders (0-2) — who trailed by 20 points on three different occasions — never came closer than the final eight-point margin at the end of regulation, despite going on a 20-9 surge in the final period. RVHS, which trailed 43-23 with 51 seconds left in the third stanza, cut the deficit down to single digits (53-44) with just 30 seconds left in the contest.
GAHS led 9-2 with 2:46 left in the opening period, but a pair of free throws from Shelby Brown allowed the hosts to pull within five points with 2:25 showing on the clock. The Lady Raiders wouldn’t score again until the 3:39 mark of the second quarter, when Cady Gilmore sank a pair of free throws to make it a 24-6 contest.
The Blue Angels needed just 15 seconds to restore their lead to 20 points (26-6) and take firm control of the game, but River Valley did manage to close the half on a 9-5 run to pull within 31-15 at the intermission. GAHS also led 11-4 after eight minutes of play.
The Lady Raiders scored the opening basket of the second half to cut the deficit down to 14 points just 24 seconds in, but the guests responded with a 12-6 run over a span of 6:45 for a 43-23 advantage. The hosts countered with a small 2-1 run to end the third period trailing 44-25.
River Valley opened the finale with a 15-6 surge to cut the deficit down to 10 points (50-40) with 3:39 left in regulation, but GAHS responded with a small 3-2 run over the next 2:11 to secure a 53-42 edge. The Lady Raiders closed the final 1:27 of the contest with a 3-0 run to wrap up the three-possession outcome.
The Blue Angels connected on 15-of-52 field goal attempts for 29 percent, including a 5-of-13 effort from three-point range for 38 percent. GAHS also made 17-of-36 free throw attempts for 47 percent.
Conversely, the hosts connected on 14-of-52 shot attempts for 27 percent, which included a 2-of-16 effort from behind the arc for 13 percent. RVHS — which went 1-for-13 from the field in the opening eight minutes — sank 15-of-20 free throw attempts for 75 percent.
The Lady Raiders outrebounded the guests by a 40-37 overall margin, but Gallia Academy claimed a small 14-13 edge on the offensive glass. GAHS also gained a 12-5 edge in steals.
Chelsy Slone led Gallia Academy with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Micah Curfman with 14 points and Kendra Barnes with 13 points. Halley Barnes added seven markers to the winning cause, while Abby Wiseman rounded things out with four points. Kendra Barnes added nine caroms and four steals, while Halley Barnes had eight rebounds as well.
Chelsea Copley and Courtney Smith both paced RVHS with 11 points apiece, followed by Cady Gilmore and Shelby Brown with 10 markers each. Leia Moore added two points and 10 rebounds, while Shalin Comer rounded things out with one point. Brown and Gilmore respectively added eight and seven rebounds in the losing effort.
The Blue Angels have now won four straight decisions over River Valley in girls basketball. The Lady Raiders last defeated GAHS on December 2, 2010, with a 41-38 victory in Centenary, Ohio.