Jackson Williams, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE —Behind a pair of talented scorers, Southeastern got back into the win column on Tuesday.
Senior Alexis Bailes and sophomore Gabby Pernell combined to score 23 points and 22 rebounds, leading the Panthers to a 37-21 win over visiting Zane Trace in Scioto Valley Conference action.
“We’re just trying to improve on anything we can,” Bailes said after the win. “Normally, every game, we have something we’re focusing on … rebounding, defense, turnovers … we’re just trying to improve on something every night.”
While Southeastern (5-2, 2-2 SVC) worked on protecting the basketball, the Panthers grabbed 38 rebounds, forced 19 turnovers and held the Pioneers to 9-of-48 shooting, a percentage of just 18.7.
“After halftime, we were really focusing on our rebounding,” SE’s Morgan Ware said. “I think our bigs really stepped it up. They got us a lot of rebounds and it always helps when they [play well]. When they’re on, our guards can move around. They’re the glue to our team.”
The first quarter started out with a slow tempo as Southeastern took a 6-2 lead into the second. Zane Trace (2-5, 0-4 SVC) was flustered throughout the quarter, but both teams failed to find any sort of offensive rhythm.
The Pioneers applied a press to start the game, trying to pressure Pernell. But the sophomore handled it well and finished the quarter with four points.
The offensive lull ceased for Southeastern in the second as the Panthers’ offense started to find life. Senior forward Audrey Scott had three points in the quarter, all at the free throw line, while Bailes pitched in two points and five rebounds.
That led to SE taking an 18-7 lead into the break.
Zane Trace’s Emily Allen was the only Pioneers to find good looks at the bucket, ending the first half with six of her team’s seven points.
More of the same storyline took place in the second half as the Panthers continued to pull away.
Southeastern came out swinging, seizing a 26-11 lead — thanks to Baikles, who added five more rebounds in the third quarter alone. Before the end of the frame, the two teams traded buckets as the Panthers took a 28-13 advantage into the final eight minutes.
That 15-point edge was more than enough breathing room for Southeastern throughout the rest of the way.
The Panthers slowed the tempo once more, grinding the clock and limiting scoring opportunities on the defensive end. While SE scored just nine points in the quarter, they allowed just eight to seal an 18-point league win.
Bailes led all scorers with 12 points alongside 12 rebounds while Pernell also turned in a double-double performance of 11 points and 10 boards. Ware finished the night with seven points, six rebounds and two blocks, and Scott had five points and six rebounds.
Zane Trace was paced by Allen, who finished the game with eight points and four rebounds. Gracey McCullough also helped out, ending with six points and five boards.
Southeastern and Zane Trace are both back in SVC action on Thursday. The Panthers host Huntington while the Pioneers travel to Piketon.
“The win is a win. I think we played well together. We’re always a team and there’s never a player that outshines more than another,” Bailes said. “There are things we have to work on and turnovers are one of those things. But I’m excited for the rest of the season.”