Southern holds off Lady Bulldogs, 46-41

By Alex Hawley -

WELLSTON, Ohio — When you’re hot you’re hot, and when you’re not, you’re not.

The Southern girls basketball team picked up its fourth straight win on Saturday afternoon at the Wellston Classic, as the Lady Tornadoes claimed a 46-41 victory over Athens, which has now dropped four straight decisions.

After three quarters of play, Southern (4-1) led the Lady Bulldogs (1-4) by a 36-32 margin. Athens cut its deficit to one possession, 41-39, with 3:41 left in regulation, but SHS senior Sierra Cleland sank a two-pointer with 2:10 left to push the margin back to four.

With 20 seconds remaining, Athens again pulled within two points, at 43-41. With 12 seconds left, SHS freshman Baylee Wolfe sank a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 45-41. Any hopes of an AHS comeback were erased with a steal by SHS freshman Phoenix Cleland, who then made one free throw to put the cap on Southern’s 46-41 victory.

The Lady Tornadoes were led both offensively and defensively by Faith Teaford, who earned Player of the Game honors with 21 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and four blocked shots.

Phoenix Cleland marked seven points, six rebounds and a team-best five assists for Southern, Sierra Cleland and Jaiden Roberts both added six points, while Wolfe, Paige VanMeter and Lauren Lavender each scored two points in the win. Phoenix Cleland, Sierra Cleland and Macie Michael also had three steals apiece, with Michael adding four assists.

Southern shot 21-of-58 (36.2 percent) from the field, including 0-of-4 from beyond the arc. The Lady Tornadoes were 4-of-9 from the charity stripe, equaling 44.4 percent.

As a team, SHS posted 34 rebounds, 13 assists, 13 steals, four blocked shots and 24 turnovers.

The Player of the Game award for Athens was given to Sami Russell, who marked 14 points.

Southern resumed Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division play at Federal Hocking on Monday, and will visit in-county rival Eastern on Thursday.

Craig Dunn, Sports Editor at the Logan Daily News, contributed to this report.

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.

By Alex Hawley