CHILLICOTHE – The short drought is officially over.
After dropping its first two games this season, Southeastern finally got into the win column with a 43-31 victory over Piketon in Scioto Valley Conference play Thursday night at Southeastern High School.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win in the world,” Southeastern coach Mike Adams said. “But it’s a win. (Piketon) coach (Brett) Coreno is an excellent coach and he gets his kids to play the game physically. So I’m very happy with it. I’ll take a double digit win against a good team like Piketon any day of the week.”
The Panthers (1-2, 1-1 SVC) also won the battle of the boards, bringing down 31 rebounds to Piketon’s 18. That complemented a sound defensive effort that held the Redstreaks to just 28 percent shooting from the floor.
“In our very first game, we got out-rebounded horrifically,” Adams said. “It was kind of like boot camp around here as far as box out drills and stuff like that. The past two games, we’ve out-rebounded each team. We got a lot of cheap fouls in the first half because of poor defense. We just needed to sit down and move our feet and we concentrated on that better in the second half.”
Piketon (2-1, 1-1 SVC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first minute and 13 seconds before Southeastern answered with an 11-2 run to seize an 11-7 lead heading into the second quarter.
In the second, the Redstreaks took a 14-13 lead at the 2:30 mark. With Panthers’ sophomore standout Ella Skeens on the bench with three fouls, Piketon had an opportunity to make its mark.
Southeastern had a 17-14 lead with 1:07 left in the first half before Piketon’s Brianna Odel hit a triple to tie it up with 46.4 remaining. In the closing seconds, junior Kara Blanton hit one of two free throw attempts, giving Piketon an 18-17 lead at halftime.
Out of the break, the Redstreaks’ lead was 20-19 before Southeastern ripped off a 10-3 run powered by junior Audrie Wheeler and sophomore McKinley Mitten, making it 30-22 in the Panthers’ favor with 1:53 left.
Southeastern took a 33-27 lead into the fourth where they eventually put the game on ice.
Behind a trey from junior point guard Kali Mitten and a joint effort from both Gabby Walsh and Rachel Collins, Southeastern outscored Piketon 10-4 to close the coffin on a 43-31 victory.
“It was a team win,” Adams said. “The other night against Westfall (in a 47-45 loss), it was a team effort as well. We just let one go through our fingertips that night. It was another great team effort tonight and we love that. I guarantee you this was an important win for us. I haven’t seen any quit in our girls’ eyes yet.”
Wheeler led the Panthers with 14 points and five rebounds while Skeens finished with 12 points and 10 boards. Both McKinley and Kali Mitten added six points while McKinley also added five rebounds and Rachel Collins grabbed five boards and swatted two shots.
For Piketon, Blanton was the high scorer with 11 points alongside six rebounds and two assists. Summer Travis followed — and played well — with six points, seven rebounds and an assist. Pack added six points as well while Odel finished with five points and four boards.
Southeastern will return to action Dec. 8 in conference play as the Panthers visit Paint Valley while Piketon gets back at it Saturday at home against Portsmouth Clay.
“It doesn’t get any easier in the SVC,” Adams said. “We’re taking it one game at a time. Paint Valley is very much improved and we’ll come back in here tomorrow and keep working on defense. Huntington is very good and they are senior laden. It’ll be tough week for us but we’re looking forward to it.”