By Rob Kiser
Piqua girls basketball coach Brian Gillespie understood with the youth on his team there were going to be some rough spots this season — especially in the early going.
So, Saturday’s 38-27 loss to Bethel in the season opener was not a complete surprise.
“You look in our locker room, there are maybe two or three girls with their (driver’s) license,” Gillespie said. “This is a really young team. It is going to take time. I am pretty sure the team you will see in game 22 is not the team you saw today.”
Piqua got off to a fast start, taking a 7-3 lead after one quarter.
With Piqua trailing 3-2, Kelsey Magoteaux scored and Mikayla Schaffner hit a three to close the first quarter scoring.
“We got off to a really good start,” Gillespie said. “Then, we started making some mistakes.”
Bethel responded by outpointing Piqua 14-5 in the second quarter to go up 17-12 at the break.
Becky Schwieterman had eight points, including six on putbacks, and Alaina Hawthorn added five.
Piqua battled back in the third quarter, closing to within 19-16 midway through the quarter after Lily Stewart hit a three and Carly Brown added one of two free throws.
But, Piqua did not score the rest of the quarter, as Bethel opened a 25-16 lead and continued to build on it in the fourth quarter.
“That’s the thing,” Gillespie said. “We played pretty well at times, then there were times we really struggled. This is a young team and there are a lot of things we are still learning. We have a good freshman (Macie Schaffner) who is out right now injured and Mikayla (Schaffner) is just now getting back from an injury, but you have to play with who you have.”
Piqua’s was forced to press to try and catch up in the fourth quarter and Bethel took advantage, with Tia Kowler scoring nine points in the quarter.
“There are still some things we have to learn (on the press),” Gillespie said. “Girls are going to playing in different spots and different combinations.”
Kowler scored 11 points for Bethel, whil Hawthorn added nine and Schwieterman finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Stewart led Piqua with eight points, while Brown scored seven.
Mikayla Schaffner had five points and five rebounds, Magoteaux had six boards and Lauren Williams pulled down five rebounds.
Piqua was 11 of 40 from the floor for 28 percent and two of six from the line for 33 percent.
Bethel was 17 of 42 from the floor for 40 percent and four of seven from the line for 57 percent.
Both teams had 24 rebounds and Piqua had 22 turnovers to Bethel’s 21.
Kelsey Bachman scored 15 points in the JV game, but lost 52-38.
Piqua will host Stebbins on Nov. 30.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.