By Rob Kiser
Piqua girls basketball coach Brian Gillespie knew to get to next season, the Lady Indians would have to get through this season.
And while the team finished the season at 4-19 after a 67-19 loss to 23-0 Sidney Wednesday in Troy D-I sectional tournament action, Gillespie said the season was a positive one in many ways.
“We have so many good players in that locker room,” Gillespie said. “It is just matter of them believing it. They just need a little confidence and they will realize it. I think this was a big year for us. Yes, our success was limited, but I don’t think our record reflects how well we played.”
Facing an unbeaten Sidney team for a third time was a tough task to finish the season on.
“I am so proud of these girls and the way they prepared for this game,” Gillespie said. “We have had two weeks we had to prepare for playing the unbeaten and number two seed in the sectional. For a team with limited success, you have no idea how hard that is.
“And the kids came in ready to get to work every night. There was no joking around. There was no saying they have no chance.”
But, Sidney make things difficult from the start.
Kaitlyn Davis scored 10 points in the first four minutes and late in the first half, Sidney opened a 35-4 lead, before Piqua closed to 35-8 at the break on two Kelsey Bachman baskets.
The Lady Indians were their own worst enemy in the opening half with 20 turnovers.
“This (the tournament) was another new experience for the kids,” Gillespie said. “You could see how tight they were at the start. And we had a two-week break before this game. Those two things just worked together against us.”
Piqua continued to play hard the whole game, with Lily Stewart scoring eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, while Mikayla Schaffner finished the game with nine rebounds.
“I am just proud of the way these kids played,” Gillespie said.
Sylvia Hudson and Celena Taborn were a tough 1-2 combo for Piqua inside, while Davis finished with 17 points and six rebounds from her guard spot.
Hudson led Sidney with 18 points and seven rebounds, Taborn had 11 points and six rebounds and Alina Kindle also scored 11 points.
“They have two of the toughest girls to guard in the league,” Gillespie said. “You defend one of them and she misses — and then how do you box the other one out?”
Piqua was eight of 36 from the floor for 22 percent and one of two from the line for 50 percent.
Sidney was 27 of 58 from the floor for 47 percent and four of six from the line for 67 percent.
Sidney won the battle of the boards 30-20 and had 11 turnovers to Piqua’s 32.
“These girls know what they have to do to get better,” Gillespie said. “I think they are buying in and I am so excited about next year.”
After putting a year of growing pains behind him and the team.
Kaitlyn Davis 6-2-17, Carrie Nuss 1-0-3, Ashley Egan 1-0-3, Sylvia Hudson 8-2-18, Celena Taborn 5-0-11, Sadi Timmons 1-0-2, Alina Kindle 4-0-11, Jada Rowland 1-0-2, Adrianne Miller 0-0-0. Totals: 27-4-67.
Lauren Williams 0-1-1, Chloe Clark 1-0-2, Kelsey Magoteaux 0-0-0, Mikayla Schaffner 0-0-0, Lily Stewart 4-0-10, Kelsey Bachman 2-0-4, Emily Powell 0-0-0, Hailey McPherson 0-0-0, Macie Schaffner 1-0-2, Claire Went 0-0-0, Carly Brown 0-0-0, Skylar Sloan 0-0-0, Ainsleigh Spradlin 0-0-0. Totals: 8-1-19.
3-point field goals — Sidney: Davis (3), Nuss, Egan, Taborn, Kindle (3). Piqua: Stewart (2).
Score By Quarters
Sidney 23 35 55 67
Piqua 4 8 9 19
Records: Sidney 23-0, Piqua 4-19.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.