Call Sports Editor
The Russia girls basketball team may resemble the walking wounded.
But, that doesn’t make them any less dangerous — which showed in the opening round B.I.G. Insurance Classic when the Lady Raiders gutted out a 45-37 win over Piqua.
Russia will look to defend its title at 7 p.m. tonight against Lehman, while Piqua will play Covington in the consolation game at 4 p.m.
“We had another girl go down with an ACL injury,” Russia coach Tim Hatcher said. “Maggie (Kearns) had a 104 fever that broke this morning, Kylie Wilson sprained her ankle warmining up. We were a little bit like the walking wounded, just trying to find a way to get something going.”
It was the Lady Raiders defense that shined in the first half, as Russia opened a 13-4 first quarter lead and 20-7 at halftime.
“I thought it was a defensive battle to a certain extent,” Hatcher said. “And we were able to execute some things at the offensive end.”
Piqua struggled against the Lady Raider defense, making just one field goal in the opening half and scoring seven points.
“We just came out so flat,” Piqua coach Rory Hoke said. “We were 1-for-17 from the floor. You just can’t do that against anybody. We talked to the girls about coming out in the second half and playing with energy.”
Something Russia was expecting.
“We heard them talking at halftime (from the Russia locker room), so we knew they were going to come out fired up,” Hatcher said. “So, we knew we had to be ready for that. I thought we did a good job of keeping them (Piqua) from getting back in the game.”
Russia was sparked by freshman guard Tiffany Hatcher, whot hit three 3-point field goals and scored 16 points.
“Tiffany (Hatcher) had a good game against Sidney earlier in the year and we know she is capable of that,” Tim Hatcher said about his daughter. “She has to go home with me, so she knows she needs to play well.”
Kylie Wilson added nine points and Kearns scored eight points, with Lauren Heaton adding seven.
“I thought Kylie Wilson really gave us a great effort out there,” Hatcher said. “I thought Maggie Kearns gave us some good minutes and I thought Lauren Heaton had a really strong floor game. One of the things we had talked about was cutting down on turnovers and I thought we did a good job of that.”
Macy Yount, in her first game back from an ankle injury, share game-high scoring honors with 16 points for Piqua and Tasha Potts added nine.
“I thought Macy (Yount) and Tasha (Potts) both played with a lot of heart,” Hoke said. “They had 25 of our 37 and Katie Allen had five. So, some other girls just have to find a way to score out there.”
Russia increased its lead to 31-17 after three quarters and maintained that most of the rest of the game, before Piqua got it under 10 in the final minute.
Kylie Wilson 2-5-9, Maggie Kearns 2-4-8, Tiffany Hatcher 4-5-16, Claire Sherman 0-1-1, Lauren Heaton 3-0-7, Emily Borchers 1-0-2, Maddie Borchers 0-0-0, Cassie Pleiman 0-2-2, Molly Kearns 0-0-0, Sam Monnin 0-0-0, Rachel Heuing 0-0-0. Totals: 12-17-45.
Hannah Went 0-1-1, Frannie Haley 0-0-0, Kayla Schrubb 1-1-3, Teija Davis 1-0-2, Tasha Potts 3-3-9, Macy Yount 4-6-16, Katie Allen 2-0-5, Morgen Grunkemeyer 0-1-1. Totals: 11-12-37.
3-point field goals — Russia: Hatcher (3), Heaton. Piqua: Yount (2), Allen.
Score By Quarters
Russia 13 20 31 45
Piqua47 17 37
Records: Piqua 3-5, Russia 6-4.
Reserve score: Russia 32, Piqua 21.