By Rob Kiser
BRANDT — It may have not been perfect by any means.
But, the Piqua girls basketball team was able to make the plays they needed to in a 39-30 win over Bethel Saturday morning in the season opener for both teams.
“The first game is always going to be a little sloppy,” Piqua coach Brian Gillespie said. “But, we were able to play well when we needed to and get the W. It is important for us to get wins in games like this.”
And Piqua junior guard Kelsey Magoteaux played a big role in the win.
Magoteaux scored 23 of Piqua’s 39 points, led the team with nine rebounds and made 13 of 16 free throw attempts.
“She is our best free throw shooter,” Gillespie said about Magoteaux. “I told her to go out there and make the big free throws in the clutch and she did that.”
Lauren Williams scored the games first point with a free throw for Piqua and when Claire Went followed with a field goal, Piqua had a 3-0 lead. A basket by Magoteaux and a three by Lilly Stewart made it 8-3 and the Lady Indians would never trail.
But, after taking leads of 12-8, 22-17 and 29-21 at the quarter breaks, the Indians found themselves in a battle midway through the fourth quarter.
A basket by Claudia Lowery had brought the Bees within 29-25 early in the fourth quarter.
After a basket by Magoteaux at the 6:03 mark, Lowery made one of two free throws. Alaina Hawthorn scored on a putback of a missed free throw then added another basket and suddenly Bethel was within 31-30 with 3:30 remaining.
“That’s the game of basketball,” Gillespie said. “One minute you are on top of the world, the next minute the other team is coming at you.”
Piqua responded by outscoring Bethel 8-0 the rest of the way.
Magoteaux hit four straight free throws to help put the game away, along with a basket by Stewart.
“We are fortunate that we have some veteran leadership in the locker room now,” Gillespie said.
Magoteaux scored 15 of her 23 in the second half for the Lady Indians, while Lowery and Hawthorn led a balanced Bethel attack with seven points each.
Williams grabbed six rebounds for Piqua, while Went and Lauryn Gray both had five. Lowery and Rebecca Schwieterman had six boards each for Bethel.
Piqua was 11 of 38 from the floor for 29 percent and 16 of 26 from the line for 62 percent.
Bethel was 12 of 44 from the floor for 27 percent and six of 15 from the line for 40 percent.
Piqua overcame 27 turnovers, while Bethel had 24.
The Lady Indians will look to continue their success Wednesday and Thursday, hosting Urbana and Troy Christian, respectively.
Lauren Williams 1-1-3, Kelsey Magoteaux 5-13-23, Claire Went 1-1-3, Lauryn Gray 2-0-4, Lily Stewart 2-0-5, Kelsey Bachman 0-1-1, Ainsleigh Spradlin 0-0-0, Emily Powell 0-0-0. Totals: 11-16-39.
Kayla Grable 1-0-2, Alaina Hawthorn 3-1-7, Delaney Hardert 2-1-5, Morgan Crase 1-0-2, Rebecca Schwieterman 2-1-5, Claudia Lowery 2-3-7, Sarah Swisher 1-0-2, Emily Crase 0—0-0, Grace Anthony 0-0-0. Totals: 12-6-30.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Stewart.
Score By Quarters
Piqua 12 22 29 39
Bethel 8 17 21 30
Records: Piqua 1-0, Bethel 0-1.
Reserve score: Bethel 36, Piqua 35.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.