WATERFORD, Ohio — Not a bad start, not a bad finish, but the middle made the difference.
The Southern boys basketball team fell Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Waterford on Saturday in Washington County, with a 26-to-15 run over the second and third quarters lifting the Green and White to a 44-41 victory.
Southern (7-9, 6-5 TVC Hocking) was ahead 9-8 after the opening period, but was held to just a pair of field goals in the second, as Waterford (5-11, 4-8) took a 22-13 edge into halftime.
The Wildcats added one to their lead in the third, outscoring SHS 12-to-11 for a 34-24 advantage headed into the finale.
The Tornadoes stormed back with 17 points over the final eight minutes, but WHS capped off the 44-41 win with 10 in the fourth quarter.
Waterford — which scored its last five points of the night from the charity stripe — made 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) foul shots in the game, while Southern connected on 9-of-12 (75 percent) free throws. Both teams made 15 field goals, including two three-pointers apiece.
Cole Steele led the Purple and Gold with 14 points, featuring five field goals and a 4-for-4 day at the line. Arrow Drummer was next with eight points, followed by Coltin Parker with six and Landen Hill with five. Chase Bailey and Trey McNickle came up with three points apiece for the guests, while Ryan Laudermilt tallied two.
Nick Fouss led WHS with 17 points, followed by Luke Teters with 13. Jude Huffman scored six points in the win, Wade Smith added four, while Holden Dailey and Jacob Huffman had two each.
The season series will end as a split, as the Purple and Gold won their first bout with the Wildcats by a 56-40 tally on Dec. 6 in Racine.
Southern will be back in Washington County on Tuesday for another league bout, as the Tornadoes invade Belpre.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.