CATAWISSA RR — As each week brings us closer to the high school boys basketball playoffs, Southern continues to play as if it is already that time of year.

On Thursday the Tigers rode the Julian Fleming tidal wave to a 56-41 win versus HAC-III competitor Hughesville.

Fleming scored a game-high 28 points and was responsible for 10 of Southern’s first 14 points that came on a 14-4 run in the first four and a half minutes of play.

Senior Damian Ares brought defensive intensity and created multiple steals which left the Spartans in a bind all night.

Ares posted 11 points, including seven in the opening half while Hughesville struggled to make an impact in the paint.

Despite leading 29-15 at halftime, the Tigers got some resistance from Clayton Poust and his shot making ability in the second half.

Poust tacked on 11 points and helped bring some energy to the Hughesville bench.

However, Fleming continued to dominate the remainder of the game and put an exclamation point on his masterful evening with a 360-degree, two-handed dunk.

The Spartans could not find any rhythm on offense and shot a dreadful 4-of-17 from 3-point range, which doomed a possible comeback attempt.

Ares spoke on improvements his team needs to make going forward.

“I think we just have to improve on not letting any teams come back. I think we’ll get better as the season goes on, because we’re maturing every game and learning from our mistakes every game,” he said.

The senior guard also thought that even though Hughesville had an off night offensively, they still kept ball movement at an exceptional level.

“I thought they moved the ball pretty even when things broke down. A lot of teams can’t do that. When their main option wasn’t there they’d find a different option,” Ares added.

Southern 56, Hughesville 41

Hughesville (4-5) 6 9 11 15 — 41 Southern (8-2) 16 13 11 16 — 56
HUGHESVILLE (41): Clayton Poust 5 1-1 13, Isaiah Savage 2 0-0 4, Justis Leighow 3 4-5 12, Devin Maciejewski 1 0-0 2, Devon Braden 3 1-2 7, Steve Evergeristi 0 0-0 0, Ethan Snyder 0 0-0 0, Austin Long 0 0-0 0, Nick Trevouledes 1 1-1 3, Steve Millheim 0 0-0 0, Garrett Boyer 0 0-0 0. SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (56): Julian Fleming 11 5-7 28, Tobias Walden 3 0-0 7, Liam Klebon 2 0-0 4, Tyler Kriebel 1 0-0 2, Joey Szuler 0 0-0 0, Dorran Wetzel 0 0-0 0, Jared Ebersole 2 0-0 4, Damian Ares 3 4-6 11.

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