By Dale Barger
For The Call
GREENVILLE – On senior day at Greenville, both teams played with heart and effort — but Piqua girls basketball team was able to hold off a motivated Lady Wave team and win 55-51 in overtime to complete the season sweep of the series.
“That’s two games against Greenville that went to the wire … I’m so proud of my kids it’s been a long season and we have had a lot of lows, so it feels really good to get one,” Piqua Coach Brian Gillespie said.
It was an exciting game at Greenville and physical … so physical both teams shot a combined 67 free throws. Greenville made four more going 22-for-36 to Piqua’s 18-for-31.
In a close game just a few more by either team puts them over the edge as neither shot it very well.
It was obvious both teams wanted this one bad and they went at it, neither relenting, and it would need an extra period to settle it.
The start of the game was clean, both Piqua and Greenville executed their offenses and the lead see-sawed back and forth and knotted at nine each with 2:34 to play in the first quarter.
Greenville went ahead 12-9 on a bucket inside from sophomore Cassie Cromwell and a free throw by sophomore Payton Brandenburg to end the first quarter.
It was a game that saw 12 lead changes and 9 ties.
Piqua sophomore Mikayla Schaffner converted an old fashioned three-point play and it was knotted at 12 to begin the second quarter. Schaffner finished the game with 12 points for Piqua.
Greenville was having success pounding the ball inside to Cromwell and she delivered six points in the second quarter to go along with five in the first quarter to keep the Green Wave close but trailing at the half 25-24 to Piqua.
Cromwell would end the game as the leading scorer for both teams with 19 points while also pulling down 12 rebounds for a double double.
The third quarter proved to be critical to Greenville as the Wave struggled to score putting up just five points.
The Indians doubled up Greenville with sophomore Kelsey Magoteaux scoring six points in the third quarter. Magoteaux would end the game with 14 points to lead Piqua in scoring.
“You can’t score just five points in a quarter and expect to win the game,” Greenville Coach Rachel Kerns said.
Piqua led 35-29 going into the final stanza.
Piqua upped the lead 37-31 to gain a six-point advantage, the largest on the night on a short one-hander in the lane by sophomore Lily Stewart.
Greenville began to slowly chip away at the deficit as sophomore guard Kaylee Jackson hit a big triple and five points in the fourth quarter to get Greenville within three points.
A few free throws later by Cassie Cromwell and the Wave had come all the way back tying it at 45.
Greenville had an opportunity to take the lead … but the game went to overtime.
Piqua grabbed the early lead in the OT and got a big triple from senior Carly Brown, her only points in the contest … but they would prove big forcing Greenville to play from behind.
Piqua made just enough free throws in overtime to keep Greenville at bay, despite four more points from Kaylee Jackson, who ended the game with 11 points for the Wave.
Piqua picked up their 4th win on the season and for Piqua coach Brian Gillespie it was not only a relief … but satisfying too.
“Those kids on Greenville’s team played their hearts out as well, both teams have been battling it out trying to get wins this year,” Gillespie added. “A lot of people tell us our kids never stop they just keep battling and battling,
“I’m so proud of these kids they never quit, never stopped, they just kept playing and fortunately today they made just enough plays to win the game,”
As good as Piqua’s coach felt, the loss was stinging to Greenville coach Rachel Kerns.
“This hurts way more than any of the losses we’ve had this year. When you go back and look at the things they have done, they did everything we asked of them,” Kerns said.
“They rebounded well, 50 rebounds, a huge number … a crazy number! We only had 12 turnovers … but when you don’t shoot 60 percent from the free throw line and only 23 percent from the floor your going to struggle beating any of the teams in a tough conference,” Kerns stated.
“Truthfully, I’m more disappointed in our defensive effort today, we didn’t contain the ball very well, we are much better defensively than what we showed today and we aren’t good enough to pick and choose which game we want to play defense,” Kerns said.
“On the positive side we showed fight, were down six in the fourth quarter we come down and hit a three, we hit another shot and tie it up. It just comes down to finishing and we haven’t learned how to finish,” Kerns commented.
Mikayla Schaffner had a double-double with 10 rebounds to go with her scoring and added three assists. Magotaux filled out her stat line with six rebounds, three aces and two steals to go with the 14 points.
Lauren Williams added 10 points and Stewart dished out four assists.
Piqua, 4-15 overall and 2-7 in the GWOC North, will look to finish the season strong Wendesday, when it closes the season at Vandalia-Butler.