PIQUA — A bad third quarter was too much for Sidney to overcome in a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game against Piqua on Friday.
Piqua used a nine-point advantage in the third quarter to pull away to a 46-34 win over the Yellow Jackets, who dropped to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in GWOC American North play.
The Yellow Jackets trailed by five points at halftime, but Piqua used a 12-3 advantage in the third quarter to pull away to the win.
“The girls came out a little flat at the beginning of the third, but I called a timeout to kind of wake them up a little bit and shake the cobwebs,” Piqua coach Brian Gillespie said. “They really put it into gear there when we needed them to. …We’ve learned how to close a little bit this year. It was a good close.”
Sidney had plenty of shot opportunities in the second half but didn’t connect on many. Piqua dominated the boards to prevent the Yellow Jackets from getting many second-chance shots.
The Yellow Jackets weren’t helped by a disparity in the number of fouls. Sidney was called for 19 fouls, while Piqua (3-3, 1-2) was called for eight.
“They made 15 free throws and went to the line 21 times, and we went to the line five times,” Sidney coach Lauren Stefancin said. “… That’s a big deal. A lot of my key players had four or five fouls, and they can’t play their best defense.
“… You can still play defense, but you have to play smart defense. You have to move your feet. If you know a foul’s going to get called in a certain situation, you have to expect your teammates to be there to help you. Sometimes we did, and sometimes we didn’t.”
Piqua scored the last eight points of the third to pull ahead. Lauren Williams hit a shot in the paint with 1:50 left to give the Indians a 34-24 lead. They led by double digits the rest of the game.
Kelsey Magoteaux and Karley Johns each added two free throws in the final 70 seconds for Piqua to stretch the lead to 12 points.
Carly Dean and Alina Kindle hit 3-pointers in the first minute of the fourth, which pulled the Yellow Jackets within 40-30. They didn’t come any closer.
“I know it’s 0-6 and it looks bad, but we will get there,” Stefancin said. “We are definitely a rebuilding team. Everyone can see that.”
Lily Stewart led Piqua with 17 points, while Williams finished with 10 and Magoteaux finished with eight.
Kindle led Sidney with 10 and Carrie Nuss, Maddie White and Dean and each finished with five.
Sidney was without junior forward Kyana Johnson on Friday. Johnson averaged 7.2 points in the Yellow Jackets’ first five games.
Stewart scored the first seven points of the game to give the Indians a lead. Magoteaux scored a basket with 3:09 left to boost Piqua’s lead to 12-4, but Sidney cut into the lead by the end of the first quarter.
Nuss and Kindle hit 3-pointers to bring Sidney within 14-10, then White hit a 3 from the left corner with 1:42 left to cut Piqua’s lead to one. Neither team scored the rest of the quarter.
Piqua opened the second with back-to-back baskets. Kelsey Bachman hit a 3 with 2:19 left to boost the lead to 25-19. Kindle made a layup after a steal to cut the gap to four points with 1:17 left, but the Indians added a free throw before halftime to extend their lead to 26-21.
Sidney continues GWOC American North play on Wednesday at home against Greenville. Piqua returns to Garbry Gymnasium on Saturday for a conference game against Greenville.
Friday’s game was the first of a doubleheader between Piqua and Sidney varsity teams. The schools’ boys squads played after.
The doubleheader was organized as a winter sports kickoff to the Piqua vs. Sidney all-sports trophy competition. The schools are competing for the trophy for the first time this season.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.