RACINE, Ohio — The sweep is complete.
After taking a 52-44 victory over the Lady Falcons on Dec. 14, the Southern girls basketball team finished the season sweep of Wahama on Saturday in Meigs County, winning by a 52-35 count in Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division play.
The Lady Falcons (4-10, 2-10 TVC Hocking) claimed a 2-0 lead just over a minute into the game, but surrendered the next six points and never regained the advantage.
Southern (5-12, 3-10) jumped out to a 11-5 lead, before the Lady Falcons reeled off six straight points to tie the game. However, the Lady Tornadoes ended the first period with a 7-0 run and a 18-11 advantage.
SHS scored the first nine points of the second quarter and led 27-11 with 4:00 left in the half. Wahama cut its deficit to 32-19 by halftime, scoring six of their eight points from the free throw line.
The guests cut the deficit to 10 points within the opening minute of the second half, but never got closer. The SHS lead was as high as 17 points in the third quarter, but the Lady Tornadoes settled for a 43-29 edge headed into the finale.
The Purple and Gold pushed their lead to a game-high 19 points with 1:22 left in regulation and cruised to a 52-35 victory.
“We kind of allowed them to hang around in the first half,” SHS head coach David Kight said. “I think their last 10-or-12 points were off a free throw or a second chance bucket. The proof is in the pudding, when you go back and look at games that we’ve done well in, we haven’t allowed second chance points and we haven’t put them at the foul line. That’s kind of our Achilles’ heel right now, but we cleaned it up in the second half. We were still able to apply pressure and I was extremely proud of them for that.”
For the game, Southern shot 20-of-60 (33.3 percent) from the field, including 3-of-10 (30 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Wahama shot 13-of-56 (23.2 percent), including 2-of-10 (20 percent) from beyond the arc.
At the free throw line, SHS shot 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) and WHS shot 7-of-16 (43.8 percent).
“It’s a lot better than it’s ever been,” Wahama head coach John Arnott said. “We ended up with 35, I’ve seen nights where we could get four, so we’re getting better. I’m not a crier, they just played better than us tonight. We got out-hustled, they played harder and we made turnovers we didn’t need to make. I don’t know how to explain it, it just wasn’t one of our better nights and you’ll have those. You have to comeback and play through it.”
Both teams grabbed 41 rebounds in the contest, with Wahama earning an 18-to-13 edge on the offensive glass. SHS held advantages of 9-to-4 in assists and 12-to-1 in steals, while WHS picked up a 6-to-1 edge in blocked shots. The Lady Falcons turned the ball over 20 times in the contest, while the Lady Tornadoes gave the ball away just 13 times.
“We had good ball movement all night long, I was extremely please with it,” Kight said. “We got a shot or two to fall early and we got in our press and I think it jump started us. We got three steals in a row, two scores and once we got up 6-2 we never looked back. Our defense led to offense, our pressure jump starts our offense and that was evident tonight.”
SHS senior Josie Cundiff hit a game-best two three-pointers and finished with 11 points to lead the Purple and Gold. Phoenix Cleland recorded a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds to go with a game-best four assists, while Jaiden Roberts came up with nine points.
Paige VanMeter hit one three-pointer and finished with eight points, Lauren Lavender chipped in with seven points, while Baylee Wolfe marked five points and nine rebounds. Shelbi Dailey rounded out the SHS scoring with two points in the win.
The Lady Tornado defense was led by Phoenix Cleland with four steals, followed by Cundiff with one steal and one block.
WHS freshman Emma Gibbs — who paced the team’s defense with one steal and four blocks — posted a double-double for the guests, marking game-highs of 13 points and 24 rebounds.
Hannah Rose and Harley Roush each hit a three-pointer and finished with 12 and seven points respectively, while Victoria VanMatre capped off the scoring column with three points. Elizabeth Mullins had two assists for the Red and White.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” Arnott said. “They managed to take Hannah’s game away from her and we didn’t pick it up from that point on. Emma had a good game.”
After hosting Eastern on Monday, Wahama will have a week off before hosting Belpre. Southern visits Williamstown on Monday and will then host Athens on Wednesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100