RACINE, Ohio — The best offensive performance yet.
The Southern girls basketball team scored a season-high in Wednesday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Meigs County, with the Lady Tornadoes falling to Belpre by a 58-50 count.
The Lady Tornadoes (0-21, 0-15 TVC Hocking) led for the first time in the game at 3-2, 2:50 into play, but the Lady Eagles (15-6, 11-5) were back in front, at 7-5, with three minutes left in the period.
Southern regained the edge with its second three-pointer of the quarter, but the Lady Eagles reeled off seven straight points led 14-6 with 1:30 left in the first. The Lady Tornadoes ended the stanza with a 5-to-2 run, making Belpre’s lead 16-13 headed into the second.
The Purple and Gold pulled within one point with a two-pointer 45 seconds into the period, but the hosts were held without a field goal for the remainder of the half. Belpre ended the first half with a 12-to-1 run and a 28-16 advantage.
Southern began the second half with a two-pointer, but the guests claimed the next four points and led 32-18 with five minutes left in the third. The Lady Tornadoes were back to within four points with a 10-0 run, but Belpre closed the quarter with a 9-to-5 spurt featuring a trio of triples, and led 41-33 with eight minutes to play.
The Lady Tornadoes hit a trifecta to open the finale, but Belpre claimed 12 of the next 15 points and led 53-39 with 4:45 remaining. Southern closed the game on an 11-to-5 run and fell by a 58-50 margin.
Following the hard-fought contest, SHS head coach Alan Crisp was pleased with his team’s effort and ability to compete with the Lady Eagles, who won the first meeting by a 74-33 tally on Dec. 20 in Washington County.
“You show me another 0-20 team that’s going to play as hard as we did today,‘Crisp said. “We busted our butt out there and played hard. We don’t really have anything to play for, we’re basically using tonight and tomorrow as two scrimmage games to kind of get stuff ready for Wednesday.
“We went out and executed, I’m very proud of them. I don’t know if I could be prouder if we would have won, because they just had a great effort against an excellent team. It was a good team effort, and we were getting after it defensively.”
For the game, Southern shot 18-of-55 (32.7 percent) from the field, including 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Belpre was 22-of-53 (41.5 percent) from the field, including 7-of-25 (28 percent) from deep. Both teams made seven free throws, SHS in 17 attempts for 41.2 percent and BHS in nine tries for 77.8 percent.
The guests won the rebounding edge by a 41-to-32 tally, including 16-to-11 on the offensive end. The Lady Tornadoes won the turnover battle, committing 15 and forcing 16. The hosts combined for 10 assists, five steals and three rejections, while Belpre claimed 17 assists, 12 steals and six blocks.
Kayla Evans and Jordan Hardwick both scored 15 points to lead the Lady Tornadoes, with Evans grabbing eight rebounds and Hardwick making a game-best three trifectas. Phoenix Cleland came up with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, to go with a team-high four assists.
Shelby Cleland and Ella Cooper rounded out the SHS tally with five and three points respectively. Evans paced the Purple and Gold on defense with three steals and a rejection.
Sydney Spencer led the guests with 18 points, featuring a team-best two three-pointers. Kyna Waderker posted a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds for the victors, Kyanna Ray added 10 points, while Curstin Griffin scored four.
Taryn Johnson, Kaitlin Richards and Abby Linton each had three points for the the Orange and Black, while Halee Williams scored two. Abbey LaFatch dished out a game-best five assists and led the BHS defense with four steals and two blocks.
Southern wrapped up its regular season on Thursday against Eastern, and the Lady Tornadoes will meet Miller for a third time in Wednesday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Meigs.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.