BIDWELL, Ohio — It’s never over until it’s over.
The Southern boys basketball team rallied from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit with a sizable 35-12 surge over the final eight minutes of play Friday night to claim a hard-fought 68-53 overtime victory over host River Valley in the season opener for both non-conference clubs.
Both the Raiders (0-1) and visiting Tornadoes (1-0) battled through nine ties and 13 lead changes over the course of 36 minutes, with both teams holding leads of as much as six points after three quarters of play.
Leading 34-28 through three quarters of play, River Valley extended its advantage to 41-33 with 4:10 left in regulation — which gave the hosts their biggest cushion of the night. Southern, however, countered with a 13-3 surge over the next 3:56, allowing the guests to take a 46-44 edge with 13.5 seconds remaining.
Out of a timeout, RVHS senior Trey Noble connected on a runner in the lane with two seconds remaining — allowing the hosts force overtime by knotting the score up at 46.
Southern scored first in the extra session, only to see the Raiders respond with a basket of their own at the 2:54 mark — tying the game at 48. The Tornadoes went on a 9-0 surge over the next 1:21, which gave the guests a comfortable 57-48 cushion with 1:33 left in overtime.
River Valley never came closer than seven points the rest of the way, as SHS closed the game on an 11-5 run to wrap up the 15-point decision.
There were seven ties and five lead changes in the opening quarter alone, as the hosts jumped out to a small 16-15 edge before Southern answered with an 11-6 charge in the second canto for a 26-22 halftime advantage.
The Raiders made their big move of the night in the third stanza, outscoring the guests by a 12-2 margin en route to a six-point lead headed into the fourth quarter. Southern managed only seven points during a 12-minute span after the break, before going on that 13-5 run over the final four minutes that led to overtime.
The Tornadoes connected on 19-of-59 shot attempts for 32 percent, including a 3-of-18 effort from three-point range for 17 percent. Southern also outrebounded the hosts by a 36-26 margin, including 11-9 on the offensive glass, while committing 12 turnovers in the triumph. RVHS had eight turnovers and did not make a trifecta in the setback.
SHS had five players reach double-digits, with Ryan Taylor leading the way with 16 points. Ethan Martin and Nathan Roberts each had 13 points, while Andrew Roseberry added 12 and Marcus Hill contributed 10 markers. Kody Wolfe rounded out the Southern scoring with four points. The Tornadoes were 25-of-41 at the free throw line for 61 percent.
Austin Lewis paced River Valley and all scorers with 22 points, followed by Aaron Harrison with 12 markers and Trey Noble with six points. Derek Flint and Joseph Loyd added four points apiece, Ethan Dovenbarger chipped in three markers, and Kyle Bays rounded out the scoring with two points. RVHS was 7-of-13 at the charity stripe for 54 percent.
Lewis recorded a double-double by also hauling in a game-high 14 rebounds for the hosts, while Roseberry pulled in a dozen caroms for Southern for a double-double evening. Roberts also had a double-double with 10 rebounds.
Southern returns to action Friday when it hosts Wahama in a TVC Hocking opener at 6 p.m. River Valley goes to Jackson next Friday for a non-conference matchup at 6 p.m.
Southern 68, River Valley 53
S15-11-2-18-22 — 68
RV 16-6-12-12-7 — 53
SOUTHERN (1-0): Kody Wolfe 0 4-4 4, Ethan Martin 3 6-10 13, Andrew Roseberry 3 6-13 12, Andrew Ginther 0 0-0 0, Ryan Taylor 6 2-4 16, Nathan Roberts 6 1-4 13, Adam Pape 0 0-0 0, Dustin Custer 0 0-0 0, Marcus Hill 3 4-6 10. TOTALS: 22 25-41 68. Three-point goals: 3 (Taylor 2, Martin).
RIVER VALLEY (0-1): Austin Davies 0 0-0 0, Derek Flint 2 0-1 4, Kyle Bays 1 0-0 2, Chris Clemente 0 0-2 0, Trey Noble 2 2-3 6, Aaron Harrison 6 0-0 12, Joseph Loyd 2 0-0 4, Austin Lewis 9 4-6 22, Ethan Dovenbarger 1 1-1 3. TOTALS: 23 7-13 53. Three-point goals: None.