BELPRE, Ohio — These Tornadoes, indeed, had a hard time getting off the ground.
Hindered by slow starts in each half, including falling behind 19-4 following the opening quarter, visiting Southern suffered a 54-43 loss to the Belpre Golden Eagles on Thursday night — in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division girls basketball tilt.
Following the nightmarish first frame, Southern settled down and outscored the Golden Eagles 12-8 in the second stanza — and thus trailed 27-16 at halftime.
But Belpre bounced back in the third period —and claimed that quarter 14-9 to lead 41-25 following three.
The Tornadoes tallied 18 points in the fourth quarter compared to the Golden Eagles’ 13 — but it was way too little and way too late.
The loss left the Lady Tornadoes at 9-8 — and an even 6-6 in the TVC-Hocking.
Meanwhile, Belpre boosted its record to 14-4 — and 11-2 in the league.
Faith Teaford, who scored Southern’s first-period points on two baskets, led the Lady Tornadoes with 15 points.
Teaford tallied six deuces and 3-of-5 free throws, and added an old-fashioned three-point play in Southern’s nine-point third.
Phoenix Cleland, on four baskets and 2-of-4 foul shots, chipped in 10 points — as Jaiden Roberts, on a bucket and 6-of-8 free throws — recorded eight.
Sierra Cleland and Baylee Wolfe wound up with five points apiece — as Cleland canned the club’s only three-point goal.
While the Tornadoes only trailed 17-15 in total field goals, the Golden Eagles amassed six threes — including three by Cheyenne Barker.
Barker poured in a game-high 25 points — amassing eight total field goals and 6-of-8 freebies.
She scored 11 of those 25 in the opening canto, then scored seven more in Belpre’s 14-point third.
Kyna Waderker, on five field goals and a free throw, added 11 — as Alexandria Williams made two treys for six.
Sydney Spencer, on a perfect 4-of-4 free throws, and Trinidy King — on a triple and a foul shot —each scored four.
Southern returned to the road, and returned to TVC-Hocking Division action, on Saturday at Trimble for a makeup matchup.
The Tornadoes travel to Williamstown (W. Va.) on Monday night for a non-league duel.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106