RACINE, Ohio — The Lady Tornadoes started their league campaign on the right foot.
The Southern girls basketball team opened Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division play with a 42-24 victory over visiting Miller, on Monday night in Meigs County.
Southern (2-1, 1-0 TVC Hocking) held the Lady Falcons (0-2, 0-1) scoreless for the first three minutes of play, opening up an 9-0 lead. SHS went scoreless for the next 2:30, but held Miller to just two points in that span. The Lady Tornadoes scored the final seven points of the period, ending the first with a 16-2 lead.
MHS held the Purple and Gold off the board for the first 3:45 of the second quarter, as the SHS lead was cut to 14-8. However, Southern ended the first half with a 9-to-6 run and a 25-14 lead.
The Lady Tornadoes began the second half with a four-minute, 11-0 run that was highlighted by a trio of trifectas by senior Faith Teaford. SHS didn’t score for the final four minutes of the third period, however, and Miller cut the Lady Tornado lead to 36-18 headed into the finale.
Both teams managed six points over the final eight minutes, and the Lady Tornadoes claimed the 42-24 win.
“Miller is a much improved group of kids,” said SHS head coach Kent Wolfe. “They now have a reserve team and they’re starting to pick it up a little bit. When we go to Miller, we better be ready to play. If they could hit some jump shots, they could be dangerous.”
Southern shot 4-of-6 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line and 17-of-48 (35.4 percent) from the field, including 4-of-16 (25 percent) from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, the Lady Falcons shot 2-of-10 (20 percent) from the charity stripe and 10-of-51 (19.6 percent) from the field, including 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from three-point range.
For the game, Southern outrebounded MHS 34-to-30, with the Lady Falcons holding a 14-to-11 edge on the offensive glass. Both teams committed 17 turnovers in the tilt, but SHS held a 14-to-6 edge in assists.
“We didn’t cherish the ball,” Wolfe said. “There was a three minute stretch where I didn’t know what we were playing, the ball was everywhere and we can’t allow that to happen. Teams are going to pressure us all over the place and, if we’re that careless with the ball, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”
Teaford led the Purple and Gold with 18 points, followed by freshman Phoenix Cleland with 14. Sierra Cleland posted eight points and Macie Michael added two, rounding out the Lady Tornado scoring.
Sierra Cleland led SHS on the glass with 10 rebounds, followed by Teaford with eight. Michael had a team-best four assists, while Teaford and Sierra Cleland both finished with three helpers.
Teaford also paced the Purple and Gold defensively, with four steals, while Michael chipped in with three steals and Sierra Cleland added two blocks.
Hallie Joseph paced Miller with six points, followed by Olivia Houk and Chloe Rine with five apiece. Ashley Spencer and Sierra Banik both scored three points, while Askya McFann chipped in with two points for the MHS cause.
Houk posted a game-best 11 rebounds, while Joseph added nine for the Lady Falcons. Rine and Lacey Alexander each had two assists and three steals, while Houk and Rine both blocked three shots for the MHS defense.
Even with the win, SHS suffered a loss on Monday, as a pregame injury quickly changed the game plan.
“Our starting two-guard, Josie Cundiff, got hurt in pregame,” said Wolfe. “We put a freshman in and Phoenix (Cleland) did a tremendous job.”
Southern has now won back-to-back games, as the Lady Tornadoes defeated Pike Eastern by a 67-15 count on Saturday, in Beaver. Faith Teaford led the victors with 17 points in that game, while Sierra Cleland and Macie Michael scored nine and eight points respectively.
Southern returns to action on Thursday, when Wahama visits Racine. SHS and MHS will tangle again on January 19, in Hemlock.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.