RACINE, Ohio — She’s waited a lifetime for this moment.
So has everyone else around her age … and younger.
Senior Faith Teaford became the first Southern girl to surpass 1,000 career points in 19 years Monday night following a 54-43 setback to visiting Belpre in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Meigs County.
Teaford — a two-time All-Ohio selection in Division IV — became the fourth Lady Tornado in school history to reach quadruple digits for a career, joining the likes of Melanie Weese, Amy Littlefield Wolfe and Renee Turley on the very exclusive yet prestigious list.
Turley, who graduated in 1998, was also the last SHS girl to reach the 1,000-point mark during her prep career.
Teaford — who needed just seven points entering Monday night’s contest — converted the first of two free throws with 7:39 remaining in the third quarter to reach the milestone, making it a 30-19 contest at the time.
Teaford — who ended up converting both charity tosses — went to the line after hauling in an offensive rebound and was fouled while attempting a putback.
Teaford finished the night with a double-double effort of 16 points and 12 rebounds, both team-highs, while also blocking four shots in the setback.
Following the game, Teaford admitted that it was difficult to enjoy such a feat in defeat. But, in trying to stay upbeat, she did note that this moment was still a dream come true … especially now that it’s over.
“I have really felt a lot of pressure this season about trying to get to a thousand, so I’m really glad that this is done and over with. It really is, however, a great feeling and quite an honor to be only one of four girls to ever do this at Southern,” Teaford said. “This has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid and it’s just been something that I’ve always wanted to do. It feels great to finally get there and now we can just focus on playing basketball.
“It would have been nice if this happened in a win, but we made a very competitive game out of it and left what we had on the floor. We were close, we just couldn’t come back from that slow start.”
The first quarter proved to be key to the rest of the night as the Lady Golden Eagles (8-1, 6-0 TVC Hocking) stormed out to early leads of 7-0 and 19-4 before taking a 19-7 lead after eight minutes of play.
Teaford — who did not score in the opening period — netted six of the Lady Tornadoes’ 11 markers in the second canto, with both teams trading 11 points apiece en route to a 30-18 BHS advantage at the break.
Southern (5-3, 3-2) committed 17 turnovers in the first half and attempted 11 fewer shots than the Orange and Black, who turned the ball over just three times before the intermission. The Purple and Gold also held a 26-12 rebounding edge at the break.
Teaford set her mark with the opening points of the second half, but Belpre answered with a quick 5-0 run to secure its largest lead of the game at 35-20 with 6:30 remaining.
SHS, however, answered with a 13-7 charge to close out the canto — making it a 42-33 contest headed into the finale.
Belpre missed its first four shot attempts in the fourth, while the hosts nailed three of their first four attempts while making a 7-0 surge to close to within 42-40 with 3:47 left in regulation. SHS was never closer the rest of the way.
The Lady Golden Eagles extended their lead back out to 46-41, but a pair of Teaford free throws again trimmed the deficit down to a possession at 46-43 with 1:47 left.
Belpre forced three consecutive turnovers on Southern’s next three possessions while making an 8-0 run to close things out, wrapping up the 11-point outcome.
BHS was outrebounded by a substantial 36-17 overall margin, but the hosts only claimed a small 10-8 edge on the offensive glass. Southern committed 26 turnovers in the setback, compared to only seven by the guests.
The Lady Tornadoes connected on 15-of-35 field goal attempts for 43 percent, including a 2-of-7 effort from behind the arc for 29 percent. The Purple and Gold also netted 11-of-18 free throw attempts for 61 percent.
Sierra Cleland followed Teaford with eight points, while Jaiden Roberts and Macie Michael respectively added six and five markers. Phoenix Cleland and Baylee Wolfe also had four points apiece in the losing effort.
Michael also hauled in eight rebounds and Roberts grabbed six boards for SHS.
Belpre netted 18-of-52 field goal tries for 35 percent, including a 5-of-16 effort from three-point range for 31 percent. The guests were also 13-of-23 at the charity stripe for 57 percent.
Cheyenne Barker led the Lady Golden Eagles with a game-high 17 points, followed by Abbey LaFatch with 14 points and Kaitlin Richards with eight markers.
Trinidy King was next with six points, while Sydney Spencer and Daisy Cowdery each contributed four points. Alexandra Williams rounded out the winning tally with one marker.
Cowdery also hauled in a team-high five rebounds, with LaFatch and King chipping in four caroms apiece. Barker is now four points away from reaching the 1,000-point plateau in her career.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.