By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — Piqua girls basketball coach Greg Justice didn’t have a good feeling before Wednesday’s game with Xenia at Garbry Gymnasium.
The Lady Indians were playing their third game in five days and had beaten Xenia 59-49 on the road earlier in the season without leading scorer Tylah Yeomans.
So, it certainly qualified as a trap game.
And the Lady Indians did just enough to escape that trap with a 53-48 victory.
Piqua improved to 12-5 overall and 8-5 in the MVL with the win, while Xenia dropped to 4-13 overall and 2-11 in the MVL.
“I could see when we were warming up that we probably weren’t as focused as we needed to be,” Justice said. “And playing on Wednesday — after playing on Saturday and Monday — I think we were a little sluggish.”
At the same time, Justice gave a lot of credit to Xenia.
“They have really improved,” he said. “They have lost a lot of close games. And they really shot the ball well against us tonight. And we really struggled offensively tonight.”
But, coming down the stretch, Piqua made big plays at big times.
Even though, Xenia had stayed close throughout, Piqua led 15-6, 28-21 and 43-32 at the quarter breaks.
But, when Bri Randall and Brynna Mardis both hit 3-pointers for Xenia, the Indians found themselves leading just 47-43 with 4:17 to play and after a missed free throw, Xenia grabbed the offensive rebound to keep possession.
Following a Xenia timeout, Piqua got the ball back and Aubree Schrubb muscled a ball hard off the backboard and in for a 49-43 lead.
Xenia’s Alexis Claybaugh hit a 3-pointer with 2:16 to go to cut the lead to 49-46.
After Piqua ran more than a minute off the clock, Yeomans was clutch with a baseline jumper to put Piqua up 51-46 with 1:11 to play.
Piqua still had a five-point lead with 25.5 seconds to go, but Xenia deflected an inbounds pass at the Piqua end and it led to a layup by Mardis with 19 seconds to go to get Xenia with 51-48.
Yeomans then fired a pass from beyond midcourt to an open Schrubb and her basket with six seconds to go made it 53-48 and sealed the win.
“We had some kids step up at the end when we needed it,” Justice said. “The important thing is we were able to get out of her with a win.”
Yeomans led Piqua with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Schrubb continued to be a double-double machine with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Karley Johns had seven points, five rebounds and four assists; Tayler Grunkemeyer dished out eight assists and Kenzi Anderson scored six points.
Randall led Xenia with 13 points.
Kamea Baker, Claybaugh and Mardis all scored nine and Reaghan Wakefield added eight.
Justice said Piqua, who finishes the season with five games against teams they have already beaten beginning at West Carrollton Saturday, learned a valuable lesson Wednesday night.
The Indians clinched their second straight winning season for the first time since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, but have bigger goals.
“I think the girls learned we can’t take anybody lightly,” Justice said. “We have the potential to win 16, 17 games — but we are going to get everybody’s best shot every night.”
As the Lady Indians learned Wednesday night in surviving a “trap” game.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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