RACINE, Ohio — Just a little too late.
The Southern boys basketball team overcame an 18-point third quarter deficit and tied things up with 39 seconds left in regulation, but visiting Waterford ultimately answered the bell down the stretch and claimed 60-56 victory on Friday night a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Meigs County.
The host Tornadoes (5-2, 3-2 TVC Hocking) found themselves in a battle early on as the Wildcats (4-2, 4-1) jumped out to a small 13-12 first quarter advantage, but the Green and White made their big charge of the night with a 20-10 second quarter run that gave the guests a comfortable 33-22 cushion at the break.
WHS carried that momentum into the early moments of the third after scoring seven consecutive points to secure its largest lead of the night at 40-22, but then SHS found its rhythm and did it best to make things quite interesting.
Southern countered with a 10-7 run over the rest of the third canto to close the gap down to 47-32 headed into the finale, then the hosts made an improbable 23-9 charge over seven-plus minutes to knot things up at 56-all with 39 seconds remaining.
The Tornadoes had possession and missed a potential lead-taking shot, which Waterford gathered in and eventually turned into two points for a 58-56 edge.
The hosts then went for the win on their next offensive series after launching an unsuccessful trifecta with three seconds remaining. The Wildcats hauled in the carom before being fouled, then converted a pair of free throws to secure the final four-point outcome.
The Purple and Gold connected on 20-of-60 field goal attempts for 33 percent, including a 9-of-25 effort from three-point range for 36 percent. The hosts were also 7-of-11 at the free throw line for 64 percent.
Weston Thorla led SHS with 17 points, with nine of those coming in the final stanza. Dylan Smith and Colton Parker were next with 13 points apiece, while Austin Baker contributed six markers.
Jensen Anderson and Brayden Cunningham completed the Tornado tally with five and two points, respectively.
Southern hauled in 22 total rebounds — including eight offensive boards — while also accumulating 11 assists and six steals as a team. The hosts also committed nine turnovers in the setback.
Trey McNickle led Southern with eight rebounds and four assists, while Smith grabbed four caroms and also added four assists. Thorla and Baker also came away with two steals apiece.
The Wildcats made 20 total field goals — including four three-pointers — and also went 16-of-19 at the free throw line for 84 percent.
Wyatt Lang led WHS with a game-high 21 points, followed by Travis Pottmeyer with 19 points and Bryce Hilverding with 13 markers. Austin Pyatt and Peyton Stephens completed the winning tally with respective efforts of four and three points.
Southern returns to action Wednesday when it hosts Ravenswood in a non-conference contest at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.