RACINE, Ohio — A second half surge for win No. 1.
The Southern boys basketball team went into halftime of Friday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division bout with guest Waterford tied at 20, but the Tornadoes went on a 28-to-8 run out of the break and cruised to the 56-40 victory to open league-play.
After a pair of lead changes in the opening quarter, Southern (1-2, 1-0 TVC Hocking) took a 14-12 lead into the second. Waterford was back in front with an 8-to-4 run to start the second quarter, but the Tornadoes closed the half with a two-pointer to tie it at 20.
Southern regained the lead with a two-pointer 1:04 into the third quarter and never trailed again, leading 39-26 by the end of the stanza.
The Purple and Gold started the fourth quarter with a 9-to-2 run for their largest lead of the night, at 48-28, with 3:14 to play. WHS cut its deficit to as low as 15 points, but ultimately fell by a 56-40 count.
Following the victory, 12th-year SHS head coach Jeff Caldwell commended his team for protecting its home court against the Wildcats, but noted that there’s isn’t much time to celebrate with a non-conference road test on Saturday.
“We got a 16-point win against a traditionally strong Waterford team, plus took care of business at home, you can’t ever be upset about that,” Caldwell said. “Of course you have to realize we have to get better. We have a tough one tomorrow night at River Valley, right back at it, but I’m pretty pleased with the guys for getting the win tonight.”
For the game, Southern outrebounded Waterford 28-to-25, with the guests claiming a 12-to-8 edge in offensive rebounds. Caldwell pointed out the Tornadoes’ rebounding edge as one of the keys to victory.
“One thing we talked about, Waterford likes to score a lot of points on offensive rebounds,” Caldwell said. “We had to get them off the boards, and I thought for the most part we did a good job of that.”
Southern committed 18 turnovers, two fewer than the Wildcats. SHS finished with team totals of nine assists, nine steals and three rejections, while WHS ended with 10 assists, seven steals and four blocked shots.
The Tornadoes made 17-of-36 (47.2 percent) field goal attempts, including 1-of-4 (25 percent) three-point tries, while the Wildcats were 15-of-52 (28.8 percent) from the field, including 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) from deep. SHS made 21-of-35 (60 percent) free throws, including 13-of-20 (65 percent) in the fourth quarter, while WHS was 6-of-15 (40 percent) from the line in the game.
Arrow Drummer paced the Tornadoes with 18 points, making seven field goals and going a perfect 4-for-4 at the line. Chase Bailey scored 13 points in the win, Landen Hill added 11 points and a game-best nine rebounds, while Trey McNickle finished with seven points and a team-high three assists. Coltin Parker contributed six points to the winning cause, while Ryan Laudermilt chipped in with one marker.
Leading the Tornado defense, Bailey picked up three steals, and Drummer rejected two shots.
Luke Teters led Waterford with a dozen points, all on three-pointers. Wade Smith was next with nine points, followed by Nick Fouss with eight, Holden Dailey with seven and Zane Heiss with four.
Leading the Wildcats on the glass, Heiss and Jude Huffman had six rebounds apiece. Heiss and Fouss tied for a team-high with three assists apiece, and Heiss led the WHS defensive effort with three steals and two blocked shots.
Southern — which was swept by Waterford last season — will look to return the favor when these teams meet in Washington County on Jan. 24.
After its trip to River Valley on Saturday, SHS will be back in Racine to play Point Pleasant on Tuesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.