RACINE, Ohio — It took nearly three minutes for the Tornadoes to make their first field goal, but once the Purple and Gold got rolling, they never slowed down.
The Southern boys basketball team led by 27 points at halftime and marched on to a 74-47 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division victory over visiting Miller, on Friday night in Meigs County.
Southern (2-0, 2-0 TVC Hocking) never trailed in the game and led 22-7 at the end of the first period. The Tornado lead grew to 44-17 by halftime, thanks in large part to Southerns’ 26-14 advantage in first half rebounding.
In the first 6:45 of the second half, SHS built its lead to 62-25, but Miller (0-1, 0-1) caught fire in the final 1:15 of the third, ending the period with a 12-2 run.
Both teams scored 10 points over the final eight minutes, and Southern claimed the 74-47 triumph.
“In the first half we played really good basketball,” SHS head coach Jeff Caldwell said. “I was very pleased with the intensity they came out with and I felt we were moving the ball really well. We just couldn’t maintain that level of play in the second half. I felt like we starting fouling too much and that made us lose the flow of what we were doing. We need to work on our defense and footwork to make sure we’re not committing silly fouls.”
For the game, Southern shot 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) from the free throw line and 27-of-65 (41.5 percent) from the field, including 9-of-25 (36 percent) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Miller was 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from the stripe and 17-of-57 (29.8 percent) from the field, including 5-of-24 (20.8 percent) from three-point range.
Southern held a 45-to-33 advantage on the glass, including 15-to-11 on the offensive end.
“We actually got outrebounded at Federal Hocking on Tuesday night, so that was a point of emphasis for us tonight,” Coach Caldwell said. “We have River Valley coming in tomorrow night and we better be ready to rebound against them, because they have some bigs. I thought we were boxing out really well in the first half, but not as well in the second half. We want to try and win the rebounding battle every game.”
The Purple and Gold also held a 17-to-9 advantage in assists, while committing 19 turnovers, one fewer than the Falcons. MHS came up with 12 steals, two more than SHS, while the Tornadoes claimed a 3-to-2 edge in blocked shots.
SHS sophomore Weston Thorla led the Purple and Gold with 17 points, followed by Crenson Rogers with 14 and Tylar Blevins with 13. Blake Johnson scored 10 points, Dylan Smith added eight, while Trey Pickens came up with seven. Clayton Wood and Eli Hunter both scored two points in the win, while Brayden Cunningham rounded out the SHS scoring with one marker.
Rogers and Smith tied for a team-high in rebounds, pulling in 10 each. Blevins was next with seven rebounds, while Thorla added six. Rogers also led the hosts with four assists, while Smith, Wood and Thorla each had three. Wood and Thorla both came up with three steals for the victors, while Smith, Blevins and Cunningham each blocked a shot.
Seattle Compston led Miller with 16 points, followed by Carson Starlin with 14, Alec Eveland with seven, Cole Geil with five, Colby Bartley with three and Collin Pargeon with two.
Pargeon led MHS with seven rebounds, followed by Eveland and Carson Starlin with six each. Carson Starlin had a game-best seven assists, while Compston had three steals and both Pargeon and Eveland blocked a shot.
Southern will go for the season sweep of the Falcons on January 20, in Hemlock.
After a non-conference meeting with River Valley on Saturday, the Tornadoes will resume league play on Tuesday, at Wahama. Miller returns to action on Monday, at Millersport.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.