MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
The South Gallia girls basketball team finally got the best of Belpre and also handed eighth-year coach Brett Bostic his 100th career win Thursday night during a 54-35 victory in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Gallia County.
The Lady Rebels (14-4, 11-4 TVC Hocking) never trailed and were ahead by as many as 21 points in the contest, allowing the hosts to snap a four-game losing skid to the Lady Golden Eagles (12-6, 9-5). BHS won both league contests and a sectional title last year against South Gallia, as well as a 46-40 decision this winter back on Dec. 22, 2011, in Belpre.
“We definitely got the monkey off of our back tonight. We’ve had some really competitive games with them (Belpre) over the past year, but we were never able to get over the hump,” Bostic said. “We wanted to set the tempo and get some good looks at the basket, and we did those things. We were focused and ready to play hard from the start, and that played a big role in the outcome tonight.”
SGHS forced the guests to commit 21 turnovers in the contest, 14 of which came in the opening half. The Lady Eagles also had 18 turnovers through three quarters of play, while the hosts had only nine of their 14 giveaways before the final period.
South Gallia stormed out to a 6-0 lead just 1:50 into regulation, but the guests countered with a 6-2 run over the next 1:44 to pull within 8-6 with 4:26 remaining in the opening canto. Belpre never came closer the rest of the way, as the Lady Rebels closed the quarter with a 10-2 surge for an 18-8 advantage after eight minutes of play.
The Lady Eagles reeled off five straight points to pull within 18-13 with 5:45 left in the second, but the hosts responded with a 15-4 charge to take their biggest lead of the half at 31-17 with 36 seconds remaining. Belpre added a basket with 16 ticks left to cut the deficit down to 31-19 headed into the intermission.
BHS scored the opening basket of the second half, allowing the guests to get within 10 points (31-21) with 7:47 left in the third period. Belpre, however, came no closer, and South Gallia retaliated with a 15-4 run to take its biggest lead of the night at 46-25 headed into the finale.
The guests — who had a three-game winning streak snapped — closed regulation with a small 10-8 spurt, wrapping up the 19-point outcome. South Gallia, with the triumph, also moved into sole possession of third place in the league standings — one spot ahead of Belpre. BHS and the Lady Rebels respectively finished third and fourth in the TVC Hocking a year ago.
Bostic, afterwards, elaborated on what it meant to reach triple-digits in the win column. Bostic is also the winningest coach in SGHS girls basketball history.
“You look at the 100 wins in the eight years that I’ve been here, and it is nice. I’ve spent a lot of time lately reflecting on my first group of seniors back in 2005 and where the program was when I took it over, and we’ve come a long way,” Bostic said with a grin. “Some of my current seniors I first saw when they were playing in rinky dink leagues, and now they are part of what we have accomplished here — just like the kids before them.
“Each group of kids that I have coached here are a part of this milestone tonight. They have all contributed to what we have done here during this span, and that is what I am proudest of right now.”
Meghan Caldwell led the hosts with a game-high 16 points, followed by Ellie Bostic with 15 points and Chandra Canaday with 14 markers. Jasmyne Johnson and Lesely Small respectively added four and three points, while Rachel Johnson rounded out the winning tally with two markers. SGHS was 15-of-21 at the free throw line for 71 percent.
Belpre, which made only 10 field goals overall and three after halftime, was paced by Kelsey Lerch with 12 points. Lexus Cunningham and Emily Hughes also contributed six markers each to the losing cause. The guests were 13-of-25 at the charity stripe for 52 percent.
South Gallia played at Symmes Valley Saturday and returns to action Thursday when it hosts Miller on Senior Night in a TVC Hocking matchup at 6 p.m.
South Gallia 54, Belpre 35
B8-11-6-10 — 35
SG 18-13-15-8 — 54
BELPRE (12-6, 9-5 TVC Hocking): Emily Hughes 2 1-2 6, Audray Linton 0 0-0 0, Sierra Barker 0 0-0 0, Kelsey Lerch 4 3-4 12, Claudia Hall 0 0-0 0, Allison Flowers 1 1-2 3, Natalie Perry 1 2-2 4, Brooke Kapple 0 4-12 4, Lexus Cunningham 2 2-3 6, Rachel Packard 0 0-0 0, Ashley Jenkins 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 10 13-25 35. Three-point goals: 2 (Hughes, Lerch). Turnovers: 21.
SOUTH GALLIA (14-4, 11-4 TVC Hocking): Ellie Bostic 4 7-8 15, Lesley Small 1 1-1 3, Chandra Canaday 5 3-6 14, Meghan Caldwell 6 4-6 16, Caitlin Watson 0 0-0 0, Rachel Johnson 1 0-0 2, Jasmyne Johnson 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 19 15-21 54. Three-point goals: 1 (Canaday). Turnovers: 14.