Note: This sports recap appears in the Wednesday, Feb. 12 newspaper on Page B1.
LOGAN — It came down to the final buzzer, but it wasn’t meant to be for Jackson on Monday.
Despite a poor shooting night for the Ironladies, they still had their chances in the final minute, but their final shot missed left and ended the season with a 34-32 loss to Gallia Academy in a Division II sectional semifinal.
“It’s definitely frustrating when the same problems we had in this one are the same one we had in our very first game,” Jackson coach Matt Walburn said. “I thought we gave great effort and played incredibly hard, but when you shoot 12-of-55 from the floor, that’s not going to win you games.”
Shooting wasn’t the only problem the Ironladies had on the evening. They couldn’t stop the post presence of Gallia Academy’s Maddy Petro, who finished with game-high of 18 points and 16 rebounds.
“We had a gameplan to limit her, but I felt we backed off of it a little bit,” Walburn said. “She had 11 of their 19 points at halftime, and I questioned the girls’ toughness a little bit. We did a much better job on her in the second half, but she still had a huge game and killed us on the glass.”
The Blue Angels held a significant rebounding advantage early as they corralled second, and third chance opportunity nearly every trip down the court. Still yet the ball wasn’t falling.
On the other side, Lauren Elliott and Olivia Kennedy paced the Ironladies with a pair of buckets each as they led 9-8.
Later trailing 12-11 after an and-1 from Petro, Kennedy and Katelyn Webb converted baskets that tied the game at 15.
Kennedy got a rebound and putback, but Petro buried a triple to beat the buzzer to put the Blue Angels ahead 19-17 at the break.
“Olivia played great, and she’s really coming into her own a little bit,” Walburn said. “It’s just not making shots, she rebounds and gets her hands on the ball to cause some problems as well. She gave a great effort when she was called upon.”
Both team muddled through the third, as Gallia Academy won 7-4 to take a 26-21 lead into the fourth.
Elliott sane a pair of free throws, followed by a jumper from Taylor Evans to cut the lead down to just one point.
However, Jackson just couldn’t get over the hump. Webb scored the next four points for a 31-29 game before the Blue Angels sank their free throws to extend the game to 34-29 with 14.8 seconds left.
It wasn’t over just yet as Elliott buried a triple with 6.8 seconds left. Gallia Academy inbound the ball, and went with a hailmary pass that led Alex Barnes too far as she stepped out of bounds with 4.8 seconds left.
Jackson inbounded the ball and drove down the middle of the lane for a running floater at the buzzer, but it just missed left as it spelled the end of the season.
“I didn’t realize we had only scored four points in the third quarter, but that’s sort of how our season has gone,” Walburn said. “We still had a chance down the stretch despite being down five points in the fourth and not making our shots. We made a little run, but we just came up short.
“This team never quit and even though we finish 3-19, there was never one time I felt we didn’t have great effort. Sure there were games we didn’t look great, but I never questioned the effort they gave every night. From game one to game 22, they never shorted us on that and I’m proud of that.”
Webb finished with nine points, six assists and five rebounds, while Elliott and Kennedy added eight points each.
Walburn is grateful and thankful that’s he been able to count on his two four-year seniors in Raegan Hall and Bronwyn Nelson, alongside Kylee Bako, who has played the last two years.
These past years haven’t been easy, but he admired how they all continued to stick with it and showed up every practice and game ready to work.
“Those seniors all come from great families and I couldn’t be more proud to have had them in our program,” Walburn said. “They epitomize hard working and never quitting. I know it was tough for them at times, but they were all great leaders of this team and set a great example for everyone else.”
Before Jackson completely phones it in for the 2019-20, it has one final make-up game at Chillicothe in FAC action.