By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Southside went on a 20-0 third quarter run over the course of six minutes to pull away for a comfortable 61-34 win over Gadsden City on Monday (Dec. 18) in Southside.
Lady Panthers (9-0) led only 28-24 at halftime but were more aggressive defensively in the second half, and stifled the Lady Titan offense.
It is the second time this season that the Lady Panthers defeated Gadsden City.
“We picked up the defensive intensity,” said Southside coach Kim Nails. “We read eyes, and when you do those basic fundamental things, you put pressure on a defense in a different way.”
The first half was far more balanced, and Gadsden City’s Darrelyn Rudolph buried two 3-pointers in the opening frame to keep the Lady Titans within striking distance. But Southside’s Adrianna Jones also scored six points in the opening quarter and the Lady Panthers led 16-12 after eight minutes.
Southside had a balanced scoring attack in the second quarter, with Jones, Emilee Coker and Lauren Hunt leading the hosts to the four-point halftime lead.
After a quick basket from Jones to start the second half, Rudolph responded with a three-pointer to close the lead to 30-27. But that’s as close as the Lady Titans would get for the rest of the game, as the Lady Panthers went on their 20-0 run.
A Gadsden City bucket with 22 seconds left in the third quarter closed the gap to 19, but the damage was done as Southside took a 50-29 lead into the final quarter.
Jones scored seven straight points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter before the Lady Panthers took their foot off the gas and cruised to the 27-point win.
Jones led all scorers with 18 points along with six rebounds, while Coker chipped in 13 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Rudolph led Gadsden City with 14 points.
Nails felt like her team was ready to play and that the effort on the defensive end of the floor was a product of their focus heading into the game.
“We’ve been kind of up and down some as far as playing, so I think we’re learning a lesson you can’t play defense until you’re ready to play,” Nails said. “We were really ready tonight, and when you’re ready, you put yourself in position for good things to happen.”
Alexis Thompson added eight points and four rebounds for Southside, while Savannah Nunn chipped in seven points. Hunt and Maci Williams each scored six points, while Harley Simmons grabbed five rebounds.