MERCERVILLE, Ohio — The Tornadoes take a wire-to-wire win on the road.
The Southern boys basketball team never trailed Friday night and claimed the 49-42 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host South Gallia.
The Tornadoes (13-3, 9-2 TVC Hocking) hits back-to-back three pointers to open the contest and held South Gallia (7-9, 6-6) scoreless for over 6:30. The Rebels scored five quick points but SHS hit a free throw to extend the lead to 7-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Southern expanded the lead to 18-10 midway through the second quarter but a 7-1 run by SGHS cut the lead to two points. The Purple and Gold scored five unanswered points to close the half and headed into the locker room with a 23-17 advantage.
The Tornadoes controlled the glass in the third period and pushed its six point lead to a nine point lead headed into the finale. The Rebels cut the lead to 43-40 with 40 seconds to play but Southern scored six points from the free throw line to seal the 49-42 triumph.
“I told the guys at halftime that it might be one of those games where we don’t pull away and we’re gonna have to tough it out in the end,” seventh year Southern head coach Jeff Caldwell said. “I’m not happy with our turnovers down the stretch and also a couple of silly fouls when we had the lead, so we have to be better in that. South Gallia played us hard and it was a good hard-fought win, it’s always good to get a road win.”
Southern was led by Taylor McNickle with 15 points, followed by Tristen Wolfe with 10. Zac Beegle had nine points, Chandler Drummer marked five, while Bradley McCoy and Trenton Deem both had three. Dennis Teaford and Casey Pickens each marked two points, rounding out the Tornado total.
The Purple and Gold shot 13-of-31 (41.9 percent) from the field and 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) from the free throw line. Southern as a team had 29 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks, seven steals and 26 turnovers.
Wolfe finished with team-highs in rebounds, with nine, assists, with three, and blocks, with two, while Deem led the defense with three steals.
“That’s been our season but we’ve battled through,” said second year South Gallia head coach Larry Howell. “They did a good job of executing late and giving us a chance to win the game. Jeff does a good job with Southern, his kids are always gonna execute and play hard. I’m just proud of our kids for hanging in there and giving us a chance to win at the end of the game”
Devin Lucas led the Rebels with 12 points coming on a quartet of three-pointers. Landon Hutchinson had nine points, Brayden Greer added eight, Ethan Spurlock chipped in with four, while Joseph Ehman and Ethan Swain each had three points. Corey Rhodes finished with two points, while Mikey Wheeler rounded out the SGHS total with one marker.
As a unit the Rebels shot 13-of-48 (27.1 percent) from the field and 10-of-17 (58.8 percent) from the free throw line. SGHS had 23 rebounds, nine assists, 14 steals and 21 turnovers.
Landon Hutchinson led the Rebels with seven rebounds, while Swain marked a team-high three assists. Ehman marked four steals to pace the SGHS defense.
“I think we had a spell where we struggled defensively but these last four games we’ve been fresher and our kids are really planing hard defensively,” said Howell. “You pressure, you hustle and good things happen, if we could just get a little more offensive execution we’ll be rolling.”
Southern also defenat SGHS on January 14, by a count of 69-38 in Racine. This is the second straight year SHS has swept South Gallia.
The Tornadoes currently hold a one game lead in the TVC Hocking over Waterford.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow night, we’ve got Nelsonville-York and it’s a big non-league game for us,” Caldwell said. “It’s a good challenge to go on the road and play Nelsonville-York, which has a pretty good team. We just try to get ready for each game as it comes.”