THE PLAINS, Ohio — Hot shooting lead the Lady Rebels to their first sectional title since 2009.
The South Gallia girls basketball team shot over 54 percent from the field Saturday en route to a 49-40 victory over Belpre in the sectional final at Charles McAfee Gymnasium on the campus of Athens High School.
The Lady Rebels (18-5) out scored BHS 7-to-4 over the opening 5:30 of the game but Belpre answered with a 6-to-3 run, tying the game at 10 at the end of the first period.
SGHS turned up the intensity in the second period, as it out scored the Lady Golden Eagles 15-to-5 in the quarter. The Lady Rebels defense forced 10 turnover in the first half, while holding BHS to 4-of-20 (20 percent) shooting.
South Gallia kept the momentum after the break, as it out scored Belpre 16-to-8 in the third period, pushing the lead to 41-23 with eight minutes remaining.
The Lady Eagles closed the game on a 17-to-8 run but it wasn’t enough and SGHS took the 49-40 victory.
“When we started this we had the concept that we wanted to go back to districts,” South Gallia coach Brett Bostic said. “These seniors have been with me since I started this, when they were in fourth grade. We talked about the concept of winning a sectional championship.”
Meghan Caldwell led the Lady Rebels with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, followed by Jasmyne Johnson with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Ellie Bostic finished with nine points, Rachel Johnson had seven, Mikayla Poling added four, while Lesley Small rounded out the SGHS scoring with three points.
The Lady Rebels rebounding was led by Bostic with eight and Caldwell with six, followed by Jasmyne Johnson with five. Jasmyne Johnson finished with a team-high three assists, while Caldwell and Rachel Johnson led the South Gallia defense with two steals apiece.
As a team the Lady Rebels had 27 rebounds, six assists and seven steals, while committing 20 turnovers and 20 fouls. Jasmyne Johnson was the only Lady Rebel to foul out. South Gallia shot 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from the free throw line and 20-of-37 (54.1 percent) from the field. SGHS was 2-of-5 (40 percent) from beyond the arc, with Caldwell and Jasmyne Johnson each connecting on one triple.
“The first few days of the week we had tougher practices but the last three days of practice made me feel really good about coming in here,” said Bostic. “Belpre’s not going to quit and they shot the ball well, while we did some crazy things but ultimately at the end we held on to win the game.”
The Lady Eagles were led by Lexus Cunningham with 12 points, followed by Katelyn Hughes and Hannah Lawrentz with nine points each. Sierra Barker marked six points, while Emily Hughes and Claudia Hall each finished with two points to round out the BHS scoring.
Belpre shot 15-of-27 (55.6 percent) from the free throw line and 12-of-44 (27.2 percent) from the field. Katelyn Hughes accounted for the lone three-pointer for BHS. The Lady Eagles had 24 rebounds in the game, while committing 16 fouls and 15 turnovers. Barker was the only Lady Eagle to foul out.
The Lady Rebels have now defeated Belpre three times this season. The first came by a count of 71-53 on December 17th in Mercerville, while the second came on January 10th by a count of 59-49 in Belpre.
BHS also lost in the sectional final last year to Waterford. Belpre’s last sectional title came in 2011 with a 51-48 victory over South Gallia.
SGHS lost in the sectional semi-final last season, while losing in the sectional final the two years before that. The Lady Rebels last sectional title came in 2009.
The Lady Rebels return to action February 21st at 8 p.m. when they face Ironton St. Joesph in the district semi-final at Jackson High School. South Gallia will be looking for its trip to a district final with the victory.