By Josh Brown
TROY — With 3-13 Piqua still hanging around after a quarter, Troy Christian played with more urgency.
“Coach (Dick Steineman) always tells us to play the second half in the first half,” sophomore Lauryn Lavy said. “Getting a big start is important. We worked together and passed well, and it helps us to come together as a team.”
Lavy had a career-high 16 points and was a big part of the Eagles’ dominance on the offensive glass, while the defense held Piqua to 2 for 18 from the field in the second and third quarters, turning what had been a two-point lead into a 19-point cushion and leading Troy Christian to a 40-22 victory over the Indians Saturday afternoon at the Eagles’ Nest.
Lavy only had five total rebounds in the game — but three of them led to putbacks on the offensive end. After Piqua closed to 12-10 early in the second quarter, Lavy had a pair of putbacks and an assist to Hailey Peters to widen the gap. Kathryn Lee then fed Peters inside for another bucket, and a Lee free throw made it 21-12 Troy Christian at halftime.
“Lauryn had a great game,” Steineman said. “She has such a nice, soft jump shot. She hit a lot of key shots when we were trying to pull away before halftime. She really got after it on the offensive end today.”
In fact, a third of the Eagles’ field goals, six of the 18, came on second or third chances after offensive rebounds. The Eagles (10-3) finished the game 18 for 52 from the field, while Piqua shot only 8 for 43.
“Just crashing the boards at all times,” Lavy said. “Whenever someone else takes a shot or even following your own shot. Teamwork is what it is. That’s the key.”
“The kids really responded to the challenge,” Steineman said. “For the last month or so, we’ve been playing really good basketball. We’re still really young, with one senior and one junior, but the kids are starting to come together as a team and are doing a lot of the little things right.”
And that didn’t stop after halftime, either.
Lavy scored a third-chance bucket to start the third quarter, then a Meredith Haddad steal-and-layup forced a quick Piqua timeout. The Indians got a bucket inside from Kelsey Magoteaux, but that would be the only shot they hit in the quarter as the Eagles finished it on an 8-0 run. Peters put away a fourth-chance opportunity, Meredith Haddad hit Lavy for jumpers on two straight in-bounds plays and Kenley Blake drove in for a score to make it 33-14 heading into the fourth — and the Eagles put it away from there.
“The kids are really picking it up on ‘D,’” Steineman said. “We’re playing very good defense. The girls are working hard, and each game we’re getting a little better. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”
Peters added 11 points and eight rebounds in the game, Blake had six points and four steals and Meredith Haddad had four points, four steals and four assists. Megan Haddad added two points and Lee had one point and eight rebounds.
Kelsey Bachman led Piqua with six points, hitting a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers. Mikayla Schaffner added four points and five rebounds, Lily Stewart had four points, Lauren Williams had three points, Kelsey Magoteaux had two points and five rebounds, Chloe Clark had two points and Claire Went had one.
“This was a great win for our program,” Steineman said. “Piqua’s having a down year, but (Piqua coach) Brian Gillespie is doing a good job with those girls. I saw them earlier this year, and they’ve already gotten better from when I first saw them. They’re going to beat some people later in the year.”
Troy Christian returns to Metro Buckeye Conference play when it travels to Dayton Christian Thursday night.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.