RACINE, Ohio — One spurt can change the course of the entire game.
Three minutes into the second quarter, the Southern boys basketball team trailed by just three points, but Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Trimble ended the first half with an 18-5 run and the Tomcats rolled to a 71-40 victory, Tuesday night in Meigs County.
The Tomcats (14-3, 10-2 TVC Hocking) shot 50 percent from the field in the opening quarter and led the Tornadoes (3-15, 3-10) — who made 30 percent of their first quarter field goal attmepts — by a 17-9 margin at the conclusion of the period.
Southern scored the first five points of the second canto, cutting the deficit to 17-14, but the Tornadoes were held off the scoreboard for over five minutes as Trimble built its lead to 31-14. The Purple and Gold ended the first half with a 5-4 spurt, but THS held a 35-19 lead at halftime.
The teams played close to even to start the second half, Trimble outscoring Southern by a 13-12 clip in the first six minutes of the third quarter. However, the Red and Silver scored the final 11 points of the third and led 59-31 headed into the finale.
Trimble outscored its host 12-to-9 over the final eight minutes, capping off the 71-40 victory and the season sweep of the Purple and Gold.
“What we’re having trouble with right now is that we give up big runs to the other team,” SHS head coach Jeff Caldwell said. “We have to find a way to stop those, especially on the defensive end. At times we didn’t get into our offense and we tried to force some things. We have to play better, we’ll work at it and try to get ready for Friday night.”
SHS junior Crenson Rogers led the Tornadoes with 10 points, followed by Trey Pickens with nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Clayton Wood scored six points and dished out a team-best four assists, Weston Thorla added six points, while Blake Johnson and Jaylen Blanks both scored four points. Tylar Blevins rounded out the Purple and Gold offense with one point and three assists in the setback.
The Tornadoes shot just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from the free throw line and 15-of-41 (36.6 percent) from the field, including 5-of-15 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team, Southern recorded 18 defensive rebounds, eight offensive boards, 13 assists, seven steals and 26 turnovers.
Bryce Guthrie led the Tomcats with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Randy Hixon scored 13 points and Justice Jenkins marked 12 points. Cody Jones posted nine points, Kameron Curry and Tyler Sayre both added six, while Ryan Richards finished with three markers. Tyler Slack and Colton Coey rounded out the THS scoring with two points each in the victory.
Trimble shot 19-of-29 (65.5 percent) from the charity stripe and 23-of-51 (45.1 percent) from the field, including 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team the Red and Silver had 17 defensive rebounds, 12 offensive rebounds, 17 assists, 13 steals, one blocked shot and 18 turnovers.
The Tomcats — who are ranked 10 in the most recent Division IV AP Poll — also defeated Southern on December 22, by a 69-49 count in Glouster.
Southern returns to the court on Friday in Belpre, where the Tornadoes look to avange a January 5, 68-57 home loss to the Golden Eagles.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.