The Wildcats jumped out to an early advantage then saw visiting Olentangy rally to take a lead in the second half before regaining control in a 47-44 win.
South remains perfect in the division at 3-0 and improves to 5-1 overall. Its lone loss was a 55-51 defeat at New Albany last Tuesday.
Olentangy drops to 2-2 in the division and 2-5 overall.
The Wildcats led by as many as nine points in the first half, but fell behind in the second half as the Braves went on an 8-0 run in the third quarter to grab a 35-29 lead with 2:30 left.
Sophomore Christine Delaney, who finished with 11 points, nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Braves their first lead of the game at 32-29.
Trailing 37-33 early in the fourth quarter, sophomore Shanae’ Ash and senior Dawn Rollyson each hit 3-pointers to help the hosts reclaim the lead at 42-40 midway through the quarter.
After T.J. Williams scored in the lane to tie the game at 42, South reclaimed the lead for good on Abby Misch’s free throw and an Ash lay-up off pretty passes from Misch and point guard Katherine Calo.
Olentangy had chances to tie the game or reclaim the lead in the final two minutes, but came up empty.
With her team clinging to a 46-44 lead, Rollyson’s solid defense forced Daniela Echeverria to step on the baseline with 21 seconds remaining.
Ash then connected on one of two free throws to help seal the victory.
“I think we showed a little toughness, especially from some of our leaders,” South coach Jeff Brenning said. “Dawn Rollyson came back in and caused a deflection, caused a lot of problems with steals. Shanae’ Ash was probably as tough as she’s been. She really came through with some big plays. Katherine Calo just does a great job overall at the point. I thought we had great play from Abby Misch and Sara Myles off the bench.”
South never trailed in the first half and built an 18-9 cushion one minute into the second quarter, capped by Rollyson’s 3-point play.
Trailing 21-13, Olentangy went on a 7-2 to run to end the quarter and close within 23-20 at the half, and eventually pulled ahead for the first time in the third quarter.
The hosts did most of their damage from beyond the arc as they connected on seven 3-pointers.
Ash finished with a game-high 20 points, with Rollyson, the lone senior on the team, adding 14. Calo had seven assists and sophomore Brooke Robbins pulled down seven rebounds.
“I think we’re going to do really well this season,” Rollyson said. “We have a good group of girls that work really hard and do everything that coach asks. If we keep working hard we’re going to do well.”
Echeverria led the Braves with 17 points followed by Christine Delaney with 11 and Christina Tirpak with 10.
“Olentangy is playing better defense than in any of his years here,” Brenning said of coach John Feasel’s Braves team. “They’re playing great defense. They’ve held teams down really well for the season so far. You have to give them a lot of that credit, but we have to execute a little bit better under the pressure.”