Locked in a close game at halftime against visiting Edmonson County, South Warren girls’ basketball coach Lane Embry challenged his team to play a little tougher in the second half.

The Spartans responded in a big way – turning a halftime deficit into a convincing 67-48 victory over Edmonson County.

South Warren (6-8) used a successful transition game and a strong defensive effort to take control, outscoring Edmonson County 42-21 in the second half.

“They showed a lot of toughness and grit in the second half,” Embry said. “We told them at halftime (that) it’s a matter of toughness and a matter of you deciding who was going to dictate the pace of this game.”

Edmonson County (4-6) kept the game at a slower tempo in a back-and-forth opening half.

The Lady Cats led 12-11 after one quarter, but South Warren scored the first five points in the second to take the lead.

An 8-0 run by Edmonson County midway through the second put ECHS back in front 24-20, but a Gracie Hodges bucket and a 3-pointer from Megan Kitchens allowed the Spartans to regain the advantage.

Edmonson County had the final answer in the half – a 3 from Macie McCombs that pushed the Lady Cats ahead 27-25 at the break.

South Warren turned the tide in the third quarter. Hodges scored two baskets in the first 50 seconds as the Spartans started to push the pace – using an 18-5 run to take a commanding 43-32 advantage.

“We knew they didn’t like it speeded up, so we needed to get the ball and push ahead – play the game at our speed,” Hodges said.

Edmonson County was never able to recover from there. The Lady Cats got as close as 51-44 early in the fourth, but South Warren scored nine straight to gain a comfortable advantage and cruised from there.

Hodges paced South Warren with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Carrie Enlow added 15 points.

“I thought our girls executed defensively very well,” Embry said. “Whatever we threw at them in the second half, I thought our girls did a good job. It was just a matter of being there for each other, being in good spots … and limiting them to one shot.”

McCombs had 15 points to lead Edmonson County. Katie Lindsey added 13 points and Lily Jane Vincent finished with 10 points.

Edmonson County is scheduled to play at Logan County at 6 p.m. on Thursday. South Warren is scheduled to play at Allen County-Scottsville at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

ECHS 12 15 15 6 – 48

SWHS 11 14 26 16 – 67

EC – McCombs 15, Lindsey 13, Vincent 10, Cassady 4, Van Meter 4, Simon 2.

SW – Hodges 25, Enlow 15, Munrath 9, Deaton 8, Kitchens 3, Garrett 2, Frank 2, Mitchell 2, Richardson 1.{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.