RACINE, Ohio — Regulation wasn’t enough.
After 32 minutes were played in Tuesday’s non-conference boys basketball game in Meigs County, Southern and Point Pleasant were tied at 56, and the host Tornadoes went on a 12-to-3 run in the extra session for a 68-59 victory.
Southern (2-3) never trailed in the first half, scoring the first five points of the night and holding Point Pleasant (0-1) off the board for the opening 4:45.
The Tornadoes led 10-3 by the end of the first quarter, and stretched their lead to as any as 13 points, at 18-5, with 4:45 left in the half. The Big Blacks got back to within four points, at 20-16, but SHS pushed its advantage to 25-19 by halftime.
PPHS started the second half with an 11-to-4 spurt, and took its first lead of the game at 30-29 with 4:40 left in the third quarter. There were three more lead changes in the period and the Purple and Gold took a 44-38 edge into the fourth.
Southern led by as many as eight points in the fourth, but a three-pointer by PPHS senior Braxton Yates with 17 seconds left tied the game at 56 and forced overtime.
The Tornadoes took the first eight points in overtime, holding the Red and Black off the board for over three minutes, en route to the 68-59 decision.
Following the overtime victory, SHS head coach Jeff Caldwell commended his team for finishing off the victory after a hard-fought effort from PPHS to come back.
“I’m just really proud of them,” Caldwell said. “Point Pleasant made that run at the end of the fourth quarter, a couple things went against us, and hat’s off to Point Pleasant for never quitting and making that run. Then at the end of regulation going into overtime I said ‘new ballgame, let’s go out and play four minutes aggressively, and do what we did to get that lead,’ and the kids went out and really played a good four-minute overtime.”
For Point Pleasant, head coach Josh Williams was proud of his team’s will to fight back, but acknowledged the areas that his offense needs to work on.
“I thought our grit and our toughness was good, the kids never quit,” Williams said. “You get in that situation and battle back to get a second chance. I just think offensively we weren’t in sync together, we took a lot of contested shots that weren’t necessary and didn’t get to the paint enough. I thought we settled a lot, and they’re defense had a little bit to do with that.”
Williams also credited the Tornadoes for their start, and hopes that his club can learn from this season-opening setback.
“Hat’s off to Southern, I credit them for being ready to play tonight,” Williams said. “I think the first half was a microcosm of just getting those jitters out, being so amped and not having those reps under us. Like I told the kids, the season’s early, it’s just one game, the biggest challenge will be what we do from here. We’ll look at it in a film session, and grow from it. We have tomorrow off and then we’re right back at it for our next game, so you have to have that next play mentality.”
For the game, Southern outrebounded the Big Blacks by a 42-to-24 count, including 16-to-8 on the offensive end. PPHS won the turnover battle by a 24-to-14 clip, and finished with 14 steals, eight assists, and two rejections, while SHS had 17 assists, 10 steals and three blocked shots.
Caldwell pointed to the Southern’s rebounding as a pivotal statistic for the season, and also noted that the different defenses his club has faced will help once the full Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division slate gets underway.
“Rebounding is big for us, especially if we can get some offensive rebounds and put backs,” Caldwell said. “You never know how you’re going to be shooting the ball, so you always have to be ready to do some other things. I think that’s where we’ve struggled in our losses to Nelsonville-York and River Valley, we didn’t shoot it very well, but we didn’t create offensive opportunities in other ways, by getting offensive rebounds and fast break buckets.
“We’ve played four non-league games already, so basically we’ve been learning on the fly. We saw the 1-3-1 tonight, we’ve seen some 2-3 zone, and man-to-man. We’ve seen a lot of different types of defenses, and hopefully our kids are just growing from it and learning from it. Now we get into league play and hopefully we’re ready to go Friday night for that.”
For the game, Southern shot 25-of-55 (45.5 percent) from the field, including 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range, while Point Pleasant made 20-of-63 (31.7 percent) field goal attempts, including 12-of-37 (32.4 percent) three-point tries. SHS was 11-of-20 (55 percent) from the foul line, including 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) in overtime, while PPHS was 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from the stripe in the game.
SHS senior Cole Steele led the Purple and Gold with 29 points, including 12 from three-point range. Arrow Drummer finished with a double-double of 13 points and 18 rebounds, Coltin Parker added 10 points, while Chase Bailey scored seven. Trey McNickle had four points and a team-best seven assists, Landen Hill chipped in with three points, while Ryan Laudermilt scored two.
Leading the Tornado defense, Parker had three steals, while Drummer earned two steals and two blocks.
Hunter Bush led Point Pleasant with 33 points and six rebounds, hitting seven trifectas in the contest. Yates finished with 18 points, half of which came from long range, while dishing out a team-best five assists, and leading team’s defense with five steals and a block. Kyelar Morrow claimed six points in the setback, Trey Peck added two, while Nick Smith grabbed six rebounds.
Both teams return to action on their respective home courts, with Point Pleasant welcoming Calvary Baptist on Thursday, and Southern hosting Trimble on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.