By Rob Kiser
VANDALIA — Piqua girls basketball coach Brian Gillespie doesn’t believe his team’s 1-4 record is indicitave of the way the Lady Indians have played.
Which is why he still has a very good feeling about this season.
“We are so close,” Gillespie said after a 39-22 loss to Vandalia-Butler in GWOC American action. “I really thought we were going to get over the top tonight. It is really hard to believe with our record, but I think this is a good team. We are going to get there.”
On Wednesday, the Lady Indians showed a lot of heart and tenacity on defense, forcing Vandalia-Butler into 23 turnovers and under 40 percent shooting.
“We were hustling and playing hard on defense,” Gillespie said. “The kids are playing hard.”
And after facing a double-digit deficit in the second quarter, Piqua battled back.
Lauryn Gray had five points in the third quarter and when Kelsey Magoteaux scored with 1:10 to go in the quarter, Piqua was within 25-20 heading to the final eight minutes.
“We did a great job of battling back,” Gillespie said. “I thought we were going to get this one. We had some chances early in the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t get the ball to fall.”
But, Vandalia senior Brittany Petrosky, who suffered an ankle injury in the second game of the season, returned to the lineup for the first time since the injury in the fourth quarter and immediately made her presence felt.
Petrosky hit both her shots — as well as making the other players better around her.
Willow Knight drilled a three and Zoie Franklin had a 3-point play as Vandalia quickly took the lead back to double digits and Piqua’s only points in the quarter came on a Lauren Williams putback with 2:27 remaining in the game — after Butler had scored the first 10 points of the quarter.
Piqua made just one of 10 shots in the final quarter.
“The fourth quarter got us again,” Gillespie said. “We had tired legs. I really feel like we are nine or 10 deep and we are trying to get there. It is about closing.”
Lily Stewart led Piqua with seven points, while Gray, Claire Went and Williams all grabbed five rebounds.
Tyree Fletcher had 10 points and nine rebounds for Vandalia, while Abbie Schoenherr had eight points , all in the first half and Franklin had eight rebounds.
Piqua was eight of 39 from the floor for 21 percent and five of seven from the line for 71 percent.
Vandalia was 14 of 36 from the floor for 39 percent and eight of 10 from the line for 80 percent.
Vandalia won the battle of boards 23-18, but had 23 turnovers to Piqua’s 19.
Piqua will be right back in action Saturday, hosting Tippecanoe with the JV game starting at 6 p.m.
Lauren Williams 1-2-4, Kelsey Magoteaux 2-0-4, Claire Went 0-0-0, Lauryn Gray 2-1-5, Lily Stewart 2-2-7, Tylah Yeomans 0-0-0, Kelsey Bachman 1-0-2, Emily Powell 0-0-0. Totals: 8-5-22.
Olivia Schoenherr 1-1-3, Zoie Franklin 2-2-6, Abbie Schoenherr 3-0-8, Tyree Fletcher 3-4-10, Willow Knight 2-1-6, Kaitlyn Jackson 0-0-0, Alyssa Burley 1-0-2, Brittney Petrosky 2-0-4, Natalie Maurer 0-0-0. Totals: 14-8-39.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Stewart. Vandalia: Abbie Schoenherr (2), Knight.
Score By Quarters
Piqua 4 11 20 22
Vandalia 12 19 25 39
Records: Piqua 1-4 (0-2), Vandalia 4-1 (1-0).
Reserve score: Vandalia 25, Piqua 20.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. HE can be reached at (937) 451-3334.