Southern slips past Lady Vikings, 54-51

By Alex Hawley -

RACINE, Ohio — A postseason preview.

Two days before they meet in the opening round of the Division IV sectional tournament, the Southern and Symmes Valley girls basketball teams met in a non-conference regular season matchup in Meigs County, with the host Lady Tornadoes taking a 54-51 victory.

Southern (7-16) fell behind by a 10-to-5 count after eight minutes of play, but outscored Symmes Valley (11-10) 16-to-13 in the second period, making the Lady Viking lead 23-21 at the half.

The Purple and Gold tied the game at 33 by the end of the third quarter, outscoring SVHS 12-to-10 in the stanza.

The Lady Vikings poured in 18 points over the final eight minutes, but Southern surged for 21 and snatched the 54-51 victory.

Southern made 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) three-point tries. Meanwhile, Symmes Valley was 15-of-54 (27.8 percent) from the field, including 1-of-14 (7.1 percent) from deep. At the free throw line, SHS was 16-of-40 (40 percent) and SVHS was 20-of-26 (76.9 percent).

The Lady Vikings claimed a 45-to-38 advantage in rebounds and an 11-to-3 edge in assists, while recording seven of the game’s eight blocked shots. Symmes Valley committed 29 turnovers, three more than Southern, with the Lady Tornadoes claiming a 17-to-9 advantage in steals.

Southern was led by sophomore Baylee Wolfe with 15 points and eight rebounds. Fellow sophomore Phoenix Cleland was next with 12 points, to go with a team-high nine rebounds. Paige VanMeter scored seven points for the victors, while Jaiden Roberts added six, with both players making a three-pointer.

Josie Cundiff and Lauren Lavender each had five points, while Shelbi Dailey and Bailee Floyd added two apiece. Phoenix Cleland led the SHS defensive effort with five steals and a rejection. Cundiff, Lavender and Phoenix Cleland each had an assist in the win.

Jensyn Shepherd led the Lady Vikings with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Rachel Hayes hit the team’s lone three-pointer and marked 19 points, while Kaitlyn Crabtree and Kylie Deer scored three apiece, with Deer recording a game-best three assists. Payton Hunter rounded out the SVHS total with two markers.

Shepherd also led the guests on defense with two steals and three rejections.

When these teams meet in Monday’s sectional semifinal at Meigs High School, Southern will be seeded ninth and SVHS will be the No. 8 seed.

By Alex Hawley

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

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