By Rob Kiser
TROY — The Piqua girls basketball team got everything but a win Saturday at Troy in the regular season finale.
And while the 39-37 loss was disappointing from that aspect, it didn’t change the fact that Piqua showed the progress they had made throughout a tough season.
Troy improved to 10-12 overall and finished 5-10 in Great American play, while Piqua is 3-19 overall and 1-14 in GWOC American play.
The Lady Indians will return to Troy at 4 p.m. Saturday to play Wayne in Division I sectional tournament action.
“This was a tough one,” Piqua coach Brian Gillespie said. “This one is going to hurt for awhile. But, you could see the improvement the team has made. That was good to see. A lot of kids made plays.”
And Piqua found itself in an unusual position.
After Troy missed a free throw, Lauren Williams grabbed the rebound and Piqua had the ball trailing 39-37 with 15 seconds to go.
But, a Piqua turnover just as a cutter was coming open kept the Indians from having any chance of tying the game.
“We had a girl coming open,” Gillespie said. “We had what we wanted. But, we just made too many silly mistakes in the last couple minutes. We just came up a little short.”
Leading the way for Piqua was Lily Stewart.
Stewart was on fire all game.
She bombed in seven 3-pointers on 11 attempts — which may well be a school record — and finished with a career-high 23 points.
“Lily (Stewart) is one of the best players in the league,” Gillespie said. “She is one of the best shooters in the league at the very least. She had a great game today.”
Her sixth three with 20 seconds to go in the third quarter gave Piqua a 27-24 lead and forced Troy to go to a box-and-one on her.
Tylah Yeomans opened the fourth quarter with a basket to make the lead 29-24, Piqua’s biggest margin of the game.
Tia Bass, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter, immediately answered with a 3-point play for Troy.
Troy then got four points each from Alaura Holycross and Bass — the last four after Piqua’s Kelsey Magoteaux had tied the game at 31 on a drive to the basket.
That made it 35-31.
Yeomans hit a free throw and Claire Went scored off a dish from Magoteaux, but Troy was still up 39-34 after a layup by Kiyha Adkins.
But, Piqua wasn’t done.
Stewart ripped the nets with her final three with 20 seconds to go to make it 39-37.
Piqua fouled immediately and Troy missed the free throw setting up the dramatic finish.
“These girls have worked really hard,” Gillespie said. “We have a good group coming back. We just came up a little bit short.”
Magoteaux and Yeomans added six points each to the Piqua cause.
Bass had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Troy.
Adkins added 13 points and Holycross had eight points and five rebounds.
Piqua was 14 of 31 from the floor for 45 percent and two of four from the line for 50 percent.
Troy was 14 of 32 from the floor for 44 percent and 11 of 19 from the line for 58 percent.
Troy won the battle of the boards 21-14 and had eight turnovers to Piqua’s 13.
“We are playing our best basketball in the last two weeks,” Gillespie said. “That is what you want to see.”
And it was on display Saturday in a game that went to the wire.
Kelsey Magoteaux 3-0-6, Claire Went 1-0-2, Emily Powell 0-0-0, Lauryn Gray 0-0-0, Lily Stewart 8-0-23, Lauren Williams 0-0-0, Tylah Yeomans 2-2-6, Kelsey Bachman 0-0-0. Totals: 14-2-37.
Jenna Kaup 0-0-0, Kiyha Adkins 3-7-13, Bailey Hess 1-0-2, Hadley Johnson 0-0-0, Alaura Holycross 3-2-8, Gabbi Johnson 0-1-1, Tia Bass 7-1-15, Lauren McGraw 0-0-0, Jordan Short 0-0-0. Totals: 14-11-39.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Stewart (7).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 8 17 27 37
Troy 8 20 24 39
Records: Piqua 3-19 (1-14), Troy 10-12 (5-10).
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor at the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.