Southside senior Drew Jones was out of breath. So were her teammates.
But before Greenwood could put the game out of reach, Jones and the Lady Rebels caught a second wind.
Jones scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the second half and Southside overcame a 10-point deficit for a 67-64 7A/6A-Central win on Tuesday. It was the first action for both teams since Jan. 31.
"We weren’t in game shape early, and you could see that early," Southside coach Sherry White said. "I had to take Drew out, and we never take Drew out. You can’t practice for game shape with practice and thank goodness (Greenwood coach) Clay (Reeves) called some time outs, because we needed to save ours for the end."
There were 13 lead changes in the first 10 1/2 minutes and nearly 20 fouls by half time. Most of Southside’s first half points came off fouls. But then Haleigh Henson’s go-ahead free throws with 2:49 left in the half sparked an 11-0 run for Greenwood that included the rare five-point play.
Henson’s little sister, Sydney, buried a 3-pointer and was fouled after the shot, which led to a one-and-one opportunity. She made both and Greenwood’s lead swelled to 38-28 before Lani Meares’ basket brought Southside within eight at halftime.
Jones then added to her Southside legacy with one of the best halves of her career by scoring 10 points and grabbing six rebounds in the first seven minutes of the third quarter.
"We hadn’t played in 10 days and I was kind of rough," Jones said. "At halftime I felt like I had to play better and help my teammates and if they score, I can score."
Southside (14-5, 5-3) closed to within seven at 51-44 at the end of three, but Greenwood (15-4, 6-2) still led by eight after Megan Hartness’ basket with 5:52 left in the game. But then Southside went on a 9-0 run to claim a 58-57 lead on Whitney O’Dell’s 3-pointer. The junior guard finished with 17 points and hit all five of Southside’s 3-pointers.
"With five minutes left, we started pressing them and made some things happen," White said. "We got back within two, then we were tied and then we had the lead. I thought we got down and dirty in that last five minutes."
Haleigh Henson’s 3-pointer put Greenwood ahead, 60-58, with 3:16 left, but Jones’ jumper tied the game with 2:49 left.
Then things got hectic, with the lead changing hands three times in the final 1:25.
Jordan Rainwater’s layup put Southside ahead for good and O’Dell hit two free throws with 21.4 seconds left for the final margin.
"It gives us a lot of lot of confidence," Jones said. "We lost to them at home, and that was a bad loss for us. We came here and we were down, but we knew we could do it."
SOUTHSIDE 52, GREENWOOD 44
BOYS — The Rebels (4-14, 1-7) rallied from six points down early and posted their first conference victory in two years.
"When you play with confidence you hit some shots, and we hit some shots tonight," Southside coach Charlie Cooper said. "I thought the kids handled it well. (Greenwood) made a run there late and you knew they would. The (Evan) Lensing kid can shoot it really well."
Southside’s Alex Foree scored eight of his game-high 12 points in the second half as the Rebels — who were down 13-7 early — built a 34-28 lead after three quarters.
Foree’s bucket snapped a 28-28 tie. A basket by Baker Jones, a steal by Grant Higgins and Jordan Barlow’s running leaner with 2.7 seconds left in the third gave the Rebels a six-point lead.
Foree’s basket gave the Rebels a 38-30 lead with 4:58 left, but Jackson Cole’s 3-pointer and Lensing’s acrobatic three-point effort pulled the Bulldogs (5-13, 1-7) within two. But C.J. Moore hit a 3-pointer that gave Southside a 45-40 lead and D’erek Fernandez’s three-point play with 48.7 seconds left extended the Rebels’ lead to 50-43.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
SOUTHSIDE 67, GREENWOOD 64
Southside 14 16 14 23 — 67
Greenwood 15 23 13 13 — 64
Southside (14-5, 5-3): Jones 22, O’Dell 17, Rainwater 12, Stegall 8, Lewis 3, Meares 3, Lundquist 2.
Greenwood (15-4, 6-2): H. Henson 18, Williams 15, Hartness 9, S. Henson 7, Branum 6, Elkins 4, Goodner 3, Crase 2.
SOUTHSIDE 52, GREENWOOD 44
Southside 13 11 10 18 — 52
Greenwood 13 11 4 16 — 44
Southside (4-14, 1-7): Foree 12, Moore 11, Higgins 9, Jones 6, Fernandez 6, Thomas 4, Barlow 2.
Greenwood (5-13, 1-7): Lensing 10, Cantrell 7, Jones 6, Morgan 6, Hernandez 5, Rhea 4, Hollinsaid 3, Cole 3.