HEMLOCK, Ohio — Tornadoes come up big on a milestone night.
The Southern boys basketball team defeated Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Miller by a count of 74-59 Friday night, giving seventh year coach Jeff Caldwell his 200th career coaching victory.
The Tornadoes (6-2, 4-1 TVC Hocking) didn’t get off to the best of starts, as they committed six turnovers in the first quarter. Miller (3-8, 2-4) took advantage of Southern’s miscues and led 24-18 at the end of the first quarter.
The Purple and Gold defense stepped up in the second period, holding the Falcons to just seven points in the quarter. When your defense gets better it usual helps your offense and the Tornadoes scored 22 points in the second quarter, led by Tristen Wolfe with 13, to take the 40-31 lead into halftime.
Southern kept its offense going through the break and outscored Miller 25-to-13 in the third period to increase the lead to 65-44 headed into the finale. SHS cashed in on 7-of-8 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to seal the 74-59 victory.
“We started out slow but the second and third quarter we played really well,” seventh year Southern head coach Jeff Caldwell said. “Now we just need to carry it over and keep going.”
Southern was led by Tristen Wolfe with 25 points, followed by Dennis Teaford with 14 and Taylor McNickle with 10. Jack Lemley, Casey Pickens and Chandler Drummer each had six points, while Zac Beegle added five and Trenton Deem marked two.
The Tornadoes shot 24-of-59 (40.7 percent) from the field but were 0-of-8 from beyond the arc. Southern was 26-of-34 (76.5 percent) from the charity stripe and missed just two free throws in the second half. As a team the Purple and Gold had 39 rebounds, 12 steals, 11 assists and 19 turnovers.
Teaford and Wolfe each earned double-doubles, as Teaford had 12 rebounds and Wolfe grabbed 10. McNickle led the defense with four steals, followed by Wolfe with three. Wolfe had a team-best four assists.
Miller’s scoring was led by Hunter Starlin with 21 points and Elijah Rader with 13. Austin Doughty had nine points, Garrett Sinift marked seven, while Cody McKnight added four. Colton Pargeon with two points, followed by Nick Morgan and Austin Knipper with one apiece rounded out the MHS total.
The Falcons shot 19-of-64 (29.7 percent) from the field, 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) from three-point range and 14-of-23 (60.9 percent) from three free throw line. The Purple and White had 48 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals.
Jeff Caldwell is now 200-130 in his coaching career with a 92-51 record as coach of the Tornadoes and a 108-79 record as coach of the Pike Eastern Eagles, prior to his tenure at Southern. Caldwell has coached eight sectional championship teams, five at Southern, and took the Tornadoes to the regional tournament in 2009. Caldwell won three league titles while with the Eagles.
“I’ve had a chance to work with a lot of good players over the years, both here and at my former school,” Caldwell said. “Howie Caldwell and his dad Howard were both at the game and it was nice for me to have family there.”
Southern will look to sweep Miller on February 11, when the Falcons visit Racine. The Tornadoes have now won three straight league games and they are one of three teams with just one league loss this season, with Waterford and Belpre being the other two.