BAINBRIDGE – In the early going, Piketon looked to still be in a slumber from a good night’s sleep.
However, as the game and the morning progressed, the Redstreaks transformed into the same scrappy team that area basketball fans have come to know.
Piketon beat Whiteoak 44-41 in the first of seven games Saturday at Paint Valley High School, as a part of the ‘Lady Cats Classic’ — starting its 2015-16 season off on the right foot.
After digging themselves an early 6-0 hole in the first quarter, the Redstreaks (1-0) fought back to tie the game at 10 behind strong play from senior Faith Pack and sophomore Cami Chandler. When junior Kara Blanton hit a bank shot late in the opening quarter, Piketon seized its first lead of the ballgame at 12-10.
That advantage would reach 14-10 before the Wildcats cashed in from the free-throw line — ending a 7-0 run — to bring the score to 14-11 heading to the second.
As the second quarter began, Piketon continued an unwelcome trend — foul trouble. As whistles continued to blow, Whiteoak (0-1) managed to hang around.
Both teams scored eight points in the second, sending fans to the concession stand at halftime discussing a 22-19 Redstreaks’ lead.
When play resumed, the Wildcats continued to get calls and the Redstreaks continued to pay for it. With Blanton on the bench with four fouls, Whiteoak ripped off a 5-1 run to retake the lead at 24-23.
Both teams would then trade baskets before Whiteoak hit a triple, giving itself a 29-25 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
With her team trailing 34-29, Chandler connected on a trey from the corner cutting the deficit to 34-32 before sophomore point guard Avery Reuter found Pack for a bucket with 2:44 remaining to give the Redstreaks a 36-35 lead.
The momentum would continue to swing in Piketon’s favor as Chandler picked up a strip and a bucket to make it 41-35. From there, Pack sealed the game from the charity stripe.
Blanton led the way with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Pack added 12 points and nine boards. Chandler finished with 10 points while freshman Gracie Lightle netted five points, including a key three-point field goal late in the game.
The Redstreaks will be back in action Dec. 1 in their conference opener against Adena.
Wheelersburg tops Westfall behind strong third quarter
BAINBRIDGE – After Piketon walked away with a win, Westfall tried to do the same.
That plan was foiled by Southern Ohio Conference power Wheelersburg by a final of 59-42 after the Pirates outscored the Mustangs 22-8 in the third quarter.
The contest looked to be as advertised as both teams played to a 15-15 tie at the end of the first. The Mustangs (0-1) then took a 28-22 lead going into halftime behind 10 points from 5-foot-11 senior OJ Mathes.
But while Mathes was a force in the first half, the Pirates (1-0) made her disappear in the second as the Mustangs’ go-to scorer failed to register a bucket.
In effect, Wheelersburg went on a 10-2 scoring run to take a 34-30 lead and never looked back.
The advantage would swell to counts of 40-34, 48-39 and 52-40 before the Pirates shut the door for good, taking the contest 59-42.
Mathes finished with 10 points and a pair of rebounds while senior Regan Stonerock took over much of the scoring responsibilities, logging 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Point guard Kelsie Robinson also finished in double digit scoring with 10 points as well as three rebounds and assists each.
Westfall returns to action Tuesday night at home against Logan Elm.