By Rob Kiser
You might think the Piqua girls basketball team’s 75-33 loss to visiting Stebbins Monday in non-conference action was a step back for the the Lady Indians — but that is only if you looked simply at the score.
Piqua coach Brian Gillespie didn’t see it that way after the Lady Indians dropped to 0-2, while Stebbins improved to 4-0.
“I thought we improved by leaps and bounds from the Bethel game,” Gillespie said.
And a lot of that had to do with the competition.
“What a team,” Gillespie said. “I have been coaching 11 years and that is one of the best shooting teams I have seen. In my two years, that is the best shooting team we have played. And it isn’t just one girl, it is three or four girls knocking down shots.”
After trailing just 4-3 in the early going, Piqua struggled to stay with Stebbins.
Freshman Makayla Blount came off the bench to score 11 points in the first quarter for the visiting Lady Indians, while Brynna Bransford added seven more as Stebbins opened a 24-7 lead after the opening quarter.
Stebbins was able to get a number of easy baskets by beating Piqua down the floor.
“They are just so quick,” Gillespie said.
And when they had to score out of the half-court offense, Stebbins showed they could do that as well.
Blount had 15 points in the opening half, while Bransford scored 14.
Mackenzie Lingg hit two threes and added 10, while Travon Girley also hit two shots from long range in the first half.
“You can’t guard everybody,” Gillespie said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on number 24 (Mackenzie Lingg), but number 15 (Travon Girley) hit a couple big shots we weren’t expecting. That just came out of nowhere.”
Stebbins stretched the lead to 75-22 after three quarters, before Piqua outpointed them 11-10 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought kids played hard the whole game,” Gillespie said. “I was proud of that.”
Blount led Stebbins with 21 points before leaving early in the fourth quarter.
Bransford netted 18, Lingg scored 13 and Girley added 10.
“I think they have eight three-pointers,” Gillespie said. “How do you counter that?”
Chloe Clark came off the bench to lead Piqua with eight points.
Lauren Williams netted six and Mikayla Schaffner added five.
“Our only senior (Carly Brown) was injured, so we just got younger,” Gillespie said. “I am not sure when we are going to get her back. We are going to get Macie (Schaffner, who is injured) back in the next couple days if everything goes well.”
The Piqua JV girls lost 36-30. Ainsleigh Spradlin scored 11 and Kelsey Bachman added nine.
Piqua will host Springboro Wednesday.
“It is not going to get any easier,” Gillespie said. “But, if the girls continue to play like they did tonight we are going to be fine. I know we have the right girls here (in the program).”
Monday’s effort just validated that.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.