RACINE, Ohio — The guests pulled away in the third.
The Southern girls basketball team trailed Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Belpre by just seven points at halftime of Monday’s league-opening contest in Meigs County, but the visiting Lady Eagles poured in 20 points in the third quarter and never looked back on their way to the 48-32 victory.
Southern (1-2, 0-1 TVC Hocking) trailed by just two points, at 5-3, eight minutes into play, but Belpre (1-0, 1-0) went on a 15-to-10 run the second and headed into half with a 20-13 advantage.
The Lady Eagles doubled their point total in the third, going on a 20-to-7 run to make the margin 40-20 with eight minutes remaining.
The Lady Tornadoes hit a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late, as Belpre sealed the 48-32 victory.
For the game, SHS finished with 41 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end. The Lady Tornadoes — who picked up five steals and turned the ball over 19 times — shot 10-of-39 (25.6 percent) from the field, including 4-of-12 (33.3 percent) from three-point range. Southern made 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) free throws, while Belpre sank 9-of-18 (50 percent) from the stripe.
Southern was led by Jordan Hardwick with 10 points, and Baylee Wolfe with nine points and 12 rebounds. Kelly Shaver scored six points in the setback, Phoenix Cleland added four points and nine rebounds, while Kayla Evans came up with three markers.
Kyanna Ray led Belpre with 15 points, a dozen of which came from long range. Kyna Waderker tallied nine points in the win, Curstin Giffin added seven, Halee Williams and Abbey Lafatch scored six each, while Kaitlin Bush rounded out the team total with five.
Southern will try to flip the script when these teams meet in Washington County on Jan. 13.
Next for the Lady Tornadoes, a trip to South Gallia on Thursday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.