HEMLOCK, Ohio — It’s hard to win a race when you stumble out of the gates.
The Southern girls basketball team managed only one point in the first quarter of Monday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Perry County and the host Lady Falcons took advantage, as Miller wound up taking 54-43 victory in the league opener for both squads.
Miller (3-0, 1-0 TVC Hocking) scored 13 points over the opening eight minutes of play, leading Southern (0-2, 0-1) by a dozen, with a Lauren Lavender free throw as the Lady Tornadoes’ only point of the period.
The guests snapped out of their funk in the second stanza, outscoring the MHS by a 14-10 clip, trimming the margin to 23-15 by halftime.
The third quarter was the best for both offenses, with the Lady Falcons outscoring Southern by a 20-to-15 tally and stretching their lead back to double digits, at 43-30, headed into the fourth.
Southern outscored Miller by a 13-11 clip in the finale, but the Lady Falcons did enough to seal the 54-43 victory.
From the free throw line, the Lady Tornadoes shot 7-of-23 (30.4 percent), while Miller went 11-of-22 (50 percent).
The SHS offense was led by sophomore Phoenix Cleland with 15 points, all but one of which came in the second half. Jaiden Roberts scored seven points for the Lady Tornadoes, Lavender, Paige VanMeter and Shelbi Dailey each added six markers, while Baylee Wolfe rounded out the scoring column with three points. Cleland and VanMeter each drained two trifectas in the setback.
Miller was led by Ashley Spencer with 17 points and Olivia Houk with 10. Chloe Rine and Haille Joseph both scored nine points for the hosts, Sophia Compston added eight, while Josie Crabtree scored one point. Spencer hit a trio of three-pointers, while Compston made two from distance.
The Purple and Gold will try to flip the script when these teams meet in Racine on Jan. 18.
Southern returns home for its next game, as the Lady Tornadoes host three-time defending league champion Waterford on Thursday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.