RACINE, Ohio — What a difference a month makes.
The Southern girls basketball team — which dropped a 66-15 decision on Dec. 30 at Waterford — met with those same Lady Wildcats on Thursday in Meigs County, where the Green and White escaped with a 59-57 victory.
The teams exchanged the lead four times in the opening quarter, with the Lady Tornadoes (4-16, 1-13 TVC Hocking) scoring the final 10 points of the quarter for a 16-7 advantage.
Waterford chipped away at the deficit in the second period, eventually tying it at 24 with 52 seconds left. The guests scored again 22 seconds later, and led 26-24 at halftime.
The Lady Wildcats never relinquished the lead after the break, starting the second half with a 9-to-2 run. The Purple and Gold got back to within six points, at 42-36, by the end of the third, and then hit back-to-back two-pointers to start the finale.
Waterford, however, answered with a pair of three-pointers and led 48-40 with four minutes to play. The Lady Tornadoes fought back again and cut the WHS lead to two points, at 56-54, on a Phoenix Cleland three-pointer with 22 seconds left.
Maggie Huffman hit a pair of free throws for the guests two seconds later, but a Kayla Evans three-pointer brought the Purple and Gold to within one with 13 seconds to go.
WHS junior Riley Schweikert was fouled with nine seconds to play and hit her first free throw attempt to make the lead 59-57. The second foul shot was missed, but Mackenzie Suprano came up with the offensive board for the guests.
Waterford retained possession on a jump ball, and missed two free throws with three seconds to go, but an offensive rebound by Brier Offenberger sealed the Lady Wildcats’ 59-57 win.
For the game, Waterford held a 29-to-28 rebounding advantage, including 14-to-9 on the offensive end. Half of the Lady Wildcats’ offensive boards came in the fourth quarter.
Southern finished with 12 turnovers, one fewer than WHS. The Lady Tornadoes combined for 12 assists, eight steals and two blocked shots, while the Lady Wildcats collected 17 assists and seven steals.
The Purple and Gold made 21-of-47 (44.7 percent) field goal attempts, including 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) three-point tries, while the Green and White were 21-of-48 (43.8 percent) from the field, and 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) from deep. At the foul line, Southern was 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) and WHS sank 9-of-19 (47.4 percent).
Jordan Hardwick hit a team-best two three-pointers and led the Lady Tornadoes with 22 points, to go with six rebounds, six steals and a block.
Baylee Wolfe had 11 points and five assists in the contest, Evans added 10 points, while Phoenix Cleland came up with nine points, nine rebounds and four assists. Shelby Cleland rounded out the SHS total with five points.
For Waterford, Suprano led the way with 24 points, five rebounds, five steals and five assists. Jennessa Lang hit a game-high four three-pointers on her way to 16 points for the guests. Offenberger, Schweikert and Kari Carney each had five points and five rebounds, with Offenberger claiming a game-best six assists. Huffman capped off the winning tally with four points and five boards.
Southern will be back at home on Monday against Eastern.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.