Athens Bulldogs

Athens junior Harper Bennett (3) makes a pass while head coach Phil Koska (right) looks on. Bennett led the team with three assists. Gallia Academy won the Division II sectional semifinal, 47-37, on Friday.

CENTENARY — The Athens girls’ basketball team was down, but that didn’t keep the Bulldogs from battling until the end.

No. 18 Athens lost a Division II sectional semifinal game at No. 15 Gallia Academy on Friday, 47-37.

The loss ends Athens’ season at 4-18.

The game was originally scheduled for Monday, but inclement weather postponed the contest four consecutive days.

The Bulldogs faced a big deficit, trailing 41-17 with 59 seconds left in the third quarter.

The season on the line, the Bulldogs started a comeback. They held the Blue Angels (7-9) to only six points over the final nine minutes of the game.

Athens would outscore Gallia Academy 20-6 over that time frame. It wasn’t enough to continue the season, but it was still a strong way to finish in the face of adversity.

The Bulldogs received scoring from six different players. Haylie Mills and Emily Zuber each led the way with eight points. Kianna Benton tallied seven points, while Bailey Cordray-Davis added six points.

MJ Knapp scored five points and Annika Benton three points for the Bulldogs, who played without guard Kesi Federspiel.

Mills added 11 rebounds, while Zuber had six rebounds. Harper Bennett led the team with three assists, while Knapp had two steals. Mills and Zuber each recorded two blocked shots.

Maddy Petro led Gallia Academy with 22 points, eight rebounds, six steals, three blocks and two assists. She made 12 of 15 shots from the foul line. Chase Cremeans and Asia Griffin each tallied nine points.

The Blue Angels led 8-6 after one quarter, and 21-12 at halftime. They won the third quarter 21-7 to extend the advantage to 42-19 going to the fourth.

Gallia Academy advances to play at No. 2 Vinton County in a sectional final on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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