RACINE, Ohio — It took one half for the Lady Tornadoes to get into their zone, but by then it was too late.
The Waterford girls basketball team outscored Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Southern by 36 in the first half of the Lady Cats’ 69-38 victory, Thursday night.
The Lady Tornadoes (8-5, 6-3 TVC Hocking) struggled with Waterford’s (9-4, 9-1) pressure in the opening period and the Lady Cats were able to take the 24-5 lead through one period.
Over the first five minutes of the second quarter both teams marked five points, but the Green and White closed the half with 17 unanswered points, making their lead 46-10 at the midway point.
Southern had turned the ball over 28 times in the opening half and was out-rebounded 20-to-11.
Following the break the Lady Tornadoes seem to turn things around, only turning the ball over four times in the third quarter and grabbing 10 rebounds. Still Waterford managed to outscore Southern 12-to-11 in the third and led 58-21 headed into the finale.
Southern marked 17 points in the fourth quarter, led by Celestia Hendrix with 10, while Waterford had 11 points in the fourth to seal the 69-38 victory.
“I just told them If you would have played the first half like you did the second half it wouldn’t have been an issue,” Southern head coach Scott Cleland said. “They weren’t focused coming out and they did the things we teach them not to do, like cross-court passes. We we were one pass too many and they were getting in the passing lanes. It’s frustrating because I know we’re a better team than what showed there”
Southern’s scoring was led by Hendrix with 16 points, followed by Hannah Hill and Cierra Turley with eight points each. Jordan Huddleston, Darien Diddle and Ali Deem each had two points, rounding out the SHS total.
“We knew with their size we couldn’t let the post players catch it or they were gonna score,” said Waterford head coach Jerry Close. “In the first half we did a nice job of containing them but in the second half they had a nice game plan.”
The Purple and Gold shot 17-of-46 (37 percent) from the field and 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) from the free throw line. Southern struggled against Waterford’s press, turning the ball over 38 times in the game.
“We have a lot more intensity when we can pressure the ball and we’ve been working on that throughout the year,” Close said. “We press some games and we don’t some games, but sometimes we have to in order to get some intensity. We had great intensity in the first half and in the second we lost all of our intensity. Southern played well in the second half and did a nice job.”
The Lady Tornadoes rebounding total of 31 was led by Hendrix with 11, followed by Faith Teaford and Jansen Wolfe with four each. Deem led Southern with four of the team’s 11 assists, while Hannah Hill had three. Hendrix and Hannah Hill led the Purple and Gold defense with two blocks and two steals each, while Wolfe had three blocks and Teaford added two.
Southern had won back-to-back games and was tied for third in the league prior to Thursday night’s game.
“We had confidence coming in but they just lost focus,” Cleland said. “We know that in the sectional we’re tough and everybody in the area knows we’re tough. We are excited because we’re getting better every ball game but we took a step back in the first half. In the second half we played focused but we have to win four quarters, we won the last two quarters but we lost the first two.”
Waterford’s scoring was led by Dani Drayer with 16 points, followed by Taylor Hilverding with 13. Regan Porter and Mariah Starkey each had seven points, Randee Seevers, Madison Sury and Lakin Tolsin had six apiece, while Hannah Dailey marked four points. Sam Farley and Cassie Reed with two points each rounded out the WHS scoring.
Waterford shot 30-of-69 (43.5 percent) from the field and 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from the charity stripe. As a team WHS had 40 rebounds, 12 assists, 21 turnovers, two blocks and 28 steals.
“The girls moved well tonight,” Close said. “We did a nice job of running rebounding and when you’re a smaller team you have to make sure not to get yourself boxed out. You have to get in postion and and our girls did a real nice job coming in from outside.”
The WHS rebounding total was led by Porter with 14, Hilverding with 10 and Drayer with seven, while Seevers and Hilverding each had one block. Porter led the way with six steals, followed by Farley with five, while Drayer had a team-best five assists.
Southern also lost to Waterford on December 5, by a count of 75-42 in Washington County.