WATERFORD, Ohio — Revenge is a dish best served at the buzzer.
The Southern boys basketball team — which dropped a 60-56 decision to Waterford on Dec. 22 in Racine — earned a measure of payback on Friday in the Harry Cooper Annex, as the Tornadoes hit a two-pointer as time expired to seal a 52-50 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division victory.
Southern (11-5, 9-3 TVC Hocking) trailed by six points, at 16-10, after the opening quarter, but surged for 21 points in the second period and went into the half with a 31-27 advantage.
The Wildcats (9-5, 9-3) got two points back in the third quarter, outscoring SHS by a 12-to-10 clip to make the SHS lead 41-39 with eight minutes to play.
Southern’s lead was back to four points, at 50-46, with 1:17 to play, but Waterford tied the game at 50 with 11 seconds left. The Purple and Gold answered with a two-pointer at the buzzer, giving the guests a 52-50 victory for their fifth straight win.
The Tornadoes shot 20-of-51 (39.2 percent) from the floor, while the Wildcats shot 18-of-43 (41.9 percent). At the foul line Southern was 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) and Waterford was 10-of-19 (52.6 percent).
WHS outrebounded its guest by a 32-19 clip, while claiming a 13-to-10 assists advantage. Southern committed 11 turnovers, seven fewer than Waterford, while picking up a 7-to-5 edge in steals.
The Purple and Gold were led by senior Dylan Smith with 16 points on six field goals and a 4-of-6 mark from the charity stripe. SHS juniors Weston Thorla and Brayden Cunningham scored 12 points apiece, with Thorla making all three of Southern’s triples.
Trey McNickle recorded eight points and five assists for the victors, while Austin Baker and Coltin Parker had two points apiece, with Baker grabbing a team-best seven rebounds. Smith also led the Tornado defense with a quartet of steals.
Travis Pottmeyer paced the Wildcats with 16 points and nine rebounds, followed by Bryce Hilverding with 10 points and four assists. Austin Pyatt and Noah Huffman both scored eight points in the setback, while Peyten Stephens and Russell Young marked four apiece. Pyatt led the WHS defense with two steals.
Southern and Waterford are now tied for second in the league standings, a game behind Trimble in the loss column.
After hosting Point Pleasant in non-league action on Saturday, the Tornadoes will get back to work in the TVC Hocking at home on Friday against Eastern.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.