Call Sports Editor
Piqua girls basketball coach Rory Hoke couldn’t have asked much more from his defense.
But, the Lady Indians inability to score in the second half led to a stunning 32-25 loss to Stebbins.
“This one is a tough one to take,” Hoke said after the game. “Defensively, we held them to 32 points. Defensively, we did enough to win the game.”
Piqua had led 23-14 midway through the third quarter, but managed just two points the rest of the game as Stebbins outpointed them 18-2 the rest of the way. The homecourt Indians made just two of 17 shots from the floor in the final two quarters.
“I thought a lot them were good looks, they just didn’t go in,” Hoke said. “We were having success getting the ball inside to Tasha (Potts) in the first half. When Stebbins took away our passing lanes, we just kind of panicked.”
At the same time, Stebbins point guard Brianna Williams began to penetrate the Piqua defense, scoring 10 of her game-high 12 points in the second half.
“We knew we had to stop her,” Hoke said. “Once she got going, we knew we were in trouble.”
It was still tied 23-23 going to fourth quarter after a 3-point bomb by Olivia Brinkman at the buzzer pulled Stebbins even.
But, Piqua would not score until Morgen Grunkemeyer’s baseline jumper with 55 seconds left in the game.
Two baskets by Williams and one by Ashtin Brandon had given Stebbins a 29-23 lead by that point and Piqua could not score again as Stebbins made three free throws down the stretch.
Piqua had jumped out to a 14-6 first quarter lead with Potts scoring five of her team-high seven points in the quarter.
The home team scored the first five points of the second quarter to make it 19-6, before the visiting Indians answered with the final six points of the half to close withing 19-12 — a prelude of things to come.
“This one is hard to swallow,” Hoke said. “Especially, the way we came out and jumped on them in the first half.”
Kayla Schrubb had a game-high nine rebounds for Piqua, while Potts and Katie Allen pulled down seven.
Kailey Seaquist grabbed eight rebounds to lead Stebbins. Brandon had seven boards and Bre Bransford added six.
Piqua was seven of 45 from the floor for 16 percent and 10 of 19 from the line for 53 percent.
Stebbins was 11 of 36 from the floor for 31 percent and eight of 13 from the line for 62 percent.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 37-29, but had 16 turnovers to Stebbins’ 14.
Stebbins won the JV game 30-19.
Maddy Curtner led Piqua with seven points and Chloe Clark added five.
Piqua will play Russia in the Buckeye Insurance Group Holiday Classic at 7 p.m. Friday at Garbry Gymnasium.
Kailey Seaquist 1-2-4, Olivia Brinkman 1-0-3, Bre Bransford 0-0-0, Ashtin Brandon 3-1-7, Briana Williams 4-4-12, Kiki Tyus 1-1-3, Travon Girley 1-0-3, Desiree Kirkendall 0-0-0. Totals: 11-8-32.
Hannah Went 0-2-2, Katie Allen 2-0-5, Morgen Grunkemeyer 2-0-4, Danajha Clemons 1-0-2, Tasha Potts 1-5-7, Frannie Haney 1-0-2, Teija Davis 0-0-0, Kayla Schrubb 0-3-3, Heidi Strevell 0-0-0, Janise Hummel 0-0-0. Totals: 7-10-25.
3-point field goals — Stebbins: Brinkman, Girley. Piqua: Allen.
Score By Quarters
Stebbins6 12 23 32
Piqua 14 19 23 25
Records: Stebbins 8-4, Piqua 3-4.
Reserve score: Stebbins 30, Piqua 19.