RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. — Sending 2018 out in style.
The Southern boys basketball team will into the new year with a winning streak, as the Tornadoes rolled to a 58-37 victory over non-conference host Ravenswood on Thursday in Jackson County.
The Red Devils (1-5) — who have suffered five straight setbacks since winning their season opener — claimed the first four points of the game, but were held scoreless for the next 11 minutes.
Southern (3-4) took the lead, at 6-4, with 4:57 left in the first quarter and never relinquished it. The Tornadoes led 15-4 by the end of the first quarter and stretched their advantage to 22 points, at 26-4, with 3:10 left in the first half.
Ravenswood ended its drought with seven straight points, but SHS tallied a two-pointer at the buzzer to make the margin 28-11 at the break.
RHS had its best offensive quarter of the night in the third, scoring 16 points, including 12 from three-point range. However, Southern stretched its lead to 49-27 headed into the fourth, pouring in 21 in the third, 15 coming on Jensen Anderson three-pointers.
SHS tallied the first four points of the finale and led by a game-high 26 points, at 53-27, with 5:30 to play. Ravenswood closed the game with a 10-5 run and fell by a 58-37 count.
Following the victory, 11th-year Southern head coach Jeff Caldwell noted his team will have a chance to build off back-to-back wins in their upcoming break.
“We’ll definitely take it, it’s a good team win,” Caldwell said. “We get a chance to go back in the gym and work on some things now, we don’t play again for eight days. I was proud of our guys, they’re continuing to work, and we know we can get better. I think they played as a team tonight, that was big.”
The Purple and Gold shot 21-of-46 (45.7 percent) from the field, including 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from beyond the arc, while the hosts were 15-of-52 (28.8 percent) from the field, including 7-of-24 (29.2 percent) from deep. SHS was 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) at the charity stripe, while the Red Devils didn’t attempt a free throw.
The Tornadoes enjoyed a 33-to-25 rebounding advantage, including a narrow 8-to-7 edge in offensive boards. Southern had a dozen turnovers, three fewer than the hosts. Collectively, the guests had 18 assists, 10 steals and three rejections, while the home side marked 10 assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
Caldwell talked about his team’s keys to victory being defense, rebounding and shot selection.
“Our defense was really good in the first half,” Caldwell said. “I also thought a key was that we were only giving them one shot at the basket, our defensive rebounding was good. Offensively, we took good shots tonight, and we shot the ball well. Right now it seems like we shoot the ball better on the road.”
Anderson led all-scorers with 23 points, coming on five triples and a quartet of two-pointers. Austin Baker, Weston Thorla and Cole Steele each made one three-pointer in the win, and finished with 15, nine and seven points respectively.
SHS junior Trey McNickle — who led the Tornado defense with four steals and a block — scored three points and marked game-highs of 10 assists and seven rebounds. Arrow Drummer rounded out the Tornado tally with one marker.
Trey Mandrake led Ravenswood with 16 points, a dozen of which came from beyond the arc. Nick Westenhaver marked 10 points and six rebounds for the Red Devils, while Zach Burgess finished with six points on a pair of trifectas. Devin Raines contributed five points and a team-best four assists to the RHS cause, while Patrick Francis led the defense with two blocks and a steal.
Next, the Tornadoes get back to work in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division with a trip to Belpre on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.