IRONTON, Ohio — It’s not how you start something, but rather how you finish it.
The Southern girls basketball team stormed out to a 7-point lead through one quarter, but host Ironton Saint Joseph countered with a 38-22 push the rest of the way and ultimately claimed a 46-37 victory Wednesday night in a Division IV sectional semifinal in Lawrence County.
The 19th seeded Lady Tornadoes (0-19) built a 15-8 advantage after eight minutes, but the 13th seeded Lady Flyers (5-14) countered with an 11-6 second quarter run to close the gap down to 21-19 at the break.
SHS was still within striking distance of its first win through the end of the third frame, although the hosts did make a 14-11 run and took a 33-32 edge into the finale.
ISJHS — which led the final 13:37 of regulation — ultimately closed the fourth frame with a 13-5 surge to wrap up the 9-point triumph.
Southern made 15 total field goals — including three trifectas — and also went 4-of-12 at the free throw line for 33 percent.
Kayla Evans paced the Lady Tornadoes with 16 points, followed by Kassidy Chaney with 10 points and Lily Allen with five markers. Kelly Shaver and Lauren Smith completed the SHS tally with four and two points, respectively.
St. Joe netted 15 total field goals — including four 3-pointers — and also sank 11-of-21 charity tosses for 52 percent.
Bella Whaley poured in a game-high 19 points to pace the hosts, followed by Emma Whaley with 12 points and Laiken Unger with 10 markers. Emilee Blankenship and Graci Damron were next with two points apiece, while Chloe Sheridan completed things with one point.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.