RACINE, Ohio — Free throws down the stretch sealed it for the guests.
The Southern girls basketball team held Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Federal Hocking without a field goal in the final quarter as the Lady Tornadoes attempted to rally on Thursday night, but the Lady Lancers hit 14-of-18 fourth quarter free throws and escaped Meigs County with a 58-48 victory.
The teams were even at 10 points apiece eight minutes into play, but Federal Hocking (3-5, 2-3 TVC Hocking) outscored Southern (1-7, 1-5) 18-to-14 in the second quarter and took a 28-24 lead into halftime.
The Lady Lancer lead grew to double digits with a 16-to-9 third quarter run, and the guests led 44-33 with eight minutes to play. The Lady Tornadoes got as close as four in the final quarter, but couldn’t pull off the comeback and fell 58-48.
For the game, Southern was 16-of-23 (69.6 percent) from the foul line, where Federal Hocking shot 19-of-29 (65.5 percent).
SHS senior Baylee Wolfe led the hosts with 19 points, featuring five field goals and a 9-of-11 performance from the line. Kayla Evans was next with nine points, followed by Jordan Hardwick with eight and Kelly Shaver with six. Shelby Cleland and Phoenix Cleland rounded out the Lady Tornado tally with four and two points respectively.
Paige Tolson led the victors with 31 points, combining five two-pointers, a trio of three-pointers and a 12-of-16 day at the stripe. Ava Tate had 10 points in the win, Kylie Tabler added nine points, while Tiffany Allen scored three. Lydia Beha and Brooklyn Richards claimed two points each for the Maroon and Gold, while Alexis Smith finished with one marker.
Southern will have a chance to flip the script when it battles FHHS again on Jan. 27 in Stewart.
Next, the Purple and Gold will visit Ravenswood for a non-league bout on Dec. 27.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.