By Rob Kiser
The final score didn’t really reflect it.
But, Piqua girls basketball coach Brian Gillespie could see it in his team’s play.
While 12-4 Stebbins left Garbry Gymnasium with a 71-41 victory, the home Indians had played with them for three quarters, trailing just 50-38 going to the final eight minutes.
Stebbins used a 21-3 advantage in the final quarter to drop Piqua to 2-13 and 0-9 in GWOC American action. Stebbins is now 6-3 in GWOC American play.
“Honestly, this was a step in the right direction tonight,” Gillespie said. “I think this can turn the tide. The kids have put the hard work in. It is eventually going to pay off. It always does.”
Piqua played well throughout the first half, trailing just 11-9 after one quarter and 30-22 at halftime.
Kelsey Bachman had hit a jumper late in the first half to get Piqua within 23-18 before Stebbins opened up the lead again.
“Kelsey (Bachman) did a nice job of staying under control,” Gillespie said. “She hit some smooth jumpers and she is capable of that. It is good, we are going to need that from her.”
Lily Stewart kept Piqua in the game in the third quarter, hitting three shots from behind the arc and scoring 11 of Piqua’s 16 points and it was just a 12-point game going to the fourth quarter.
“Lily is capable of doing that,” Gillespie said. “When she does that, we are going to be successful.”
But, Stebbins hit five 3-point field goals in the fourth quarter to pull away, including three by Alyssa Bowman.
“That’s tough when a girl can knock down 3-point shots from two steps behind the line,” Gillespie said. “Not much you can do about that.”
Bryanna Bransford was a problem all game, finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds.
“What a player she is,” Gillespie said about Bransford. “She was scoring inside, outside — she had a spin move off the rebound. You don’t see a lot of girls in this league with that move.”
Bowman added 19 points and seven rebounds, Korina Murphy had 15 points and six rebounds and Madison Cook grabbed 12 rebounds.
Stewart finished with 16 points and Bachman had 10, while Tylah Yeomans pulled down eight rebounds.
Piqua was14 of 45 from the floor for 31 percent and nine of 20 from the line for 45 percent.
Stebbins was 25 of 60 from the floor for 42 percent and 12 of 18 from the line for 67 percent.
Stebbins won the battle of the boards 38-20 and had 10 turnovers to Piqua’s 14.
Piqua will be back in action Saturday, hosting Vandalia-Butler in GWOC American action — and looking to continue trending in the right direction.
Madison Cook 3-1-7, Alyssa Bowman 6-2-19, Bryanna Bransford 8-3-21, Korina Murphy 6-1-15, Mackenzie Lingg 1-2-4, Bea Marks 1-0-2, Hailey Rowe 0-3-3, Kristine George 0-0-0. Totals: 25-12-71.
Lauren Williams 0-1-1, Tylah Yeomans 2-1-5, Kelsey Magoteaux 1-0-2, Kelsey Bachman 5-0-10, Lily Stewart 5-3-16, Lauryn Gray 1-4-7, Claire Went 0-0-0, Emily Powell 0-0-0. Totals: 14-9-41.
3-point field goals — Stebbins: Bowman (5), Bransford (2), Murphy (2). Piqua: Stewart (3), Gray.
Score By Quarters
Stebbins 11 30 50 71
Piqua 9 22 38 41
Records: Stebbins 12-4 (6-3), Piqua 2-13 (0-9).