By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
BRANDT — It may have not been perfect by any means.
But the Piqua girls basketball team was able to make the plays they needed to in a 39-30 win over Bethel Saturday morning in the season opener for both teams.
“The first game is always going to be a little sloppy,” Piqua coach Brian Gillespie said. “But we were able to play well when we needed to and get the ‘W.’ It is important for us to get wins in games like this.”
And Piqua junior guard Kelsey Magoteaux played a big role in the win.
Magoteaux scored 23 of Piqua’s 39 points, led the team with nine rebounds and made 13 of 16 free throw attempts.
Lauren Williams scored the games first point with a free throw for Piqua and when Claire Went followed with a field goal, Piqua had a 3-0 lead. A basket by Magoteaux and a three by Lilly Stewart made it 8-3, and the Indians would never trail.
But after taking leads of 12-8, 22-17 and 29-21 at the quarter breaks, the Indians found themselves in a battle midway through the fourth quarter.
A basket by Claudia Lowery brought the Bees within 29-25 early in the fourth quarter.
After a basket by Magoteaux at the 6:03 mark, Lowery made one of two free throws. Alaina Hawthorn scored on a putback off a missed free throw then added another basket, and suddenly Bethel was within one at 31-30 with 3:30 remaining.
“That’s the game of basketball,” Gillespie said. “One minute you are on top of the world, the next minute the other team is coming at you.”
Piqua responded by outscoring Bethel 8-0 the rest of the way.
Magoteaux hit four straight free throws to help put the game away, along with a basket by Stewart.
“We are fortunate that we have some veteran leadership in the locker room now,” Gillespie said.
Magoteaux scored 15 of her 23 in the second half for the Indians, while Lowery and Hawthorn led a balanced Bethel attack with seven points each.
Williams grabbed six rebounds for Piqua, while Went and Lauryn Gray both had five. Lowery and Rebecca Schwieterman had six boards each for Bethel. Piqua overcame 27 turnovers, while Bethel had 24.
Bethel will look to bounce back Thursday as it opens Cross County Conference play at Arcanum, while Piqua hosts Urbana on Wednesday and Troy Christian Thursday.
COVINGTON — Jim Meyer’s return as Covington girls basketball coach was a winning one, as the Buccaneers stunned Houston with a fourth-quarter rally to win 52-49 in non-conference action to open the season Friday night.
Sara Monnier had led Houston back from an early deficit and when she hit a 3 with just over four minutes remaining, the Wildcats led 46-36 and Monnier had 26 points.
But she would not score again, and Covington when on 14-1 run to take a 50-47 lead before holding on for the win.
It started with a steal and layup by Sammi Whiteman.
After Kara Maier hit a free throw for Houston to make it 47-38, Covington reeled off 12 straight points. The Buccs were still trailing 47-42 with 1:58 to go when Addison Metz had a steal and layup to make it 47-44.
Jordan Crowell drilled a 3 with 1:20 to go and suddenly it was 47-47.
Whiteman then scored on a three-point play with 41.9 seconds to go to make it 50-47 before Jess Monnier had a putback for Houston to make it 50-49 with 21 seconds to go.
Covington’s Lexie Long was then fouled with 18.4 seconds to go and hit two clutch free throws to make it 52-49 — and neither team would score again.
Covington had jumped out to an early 9-2 lead behind Crowell and Whiteman. Whiteman hit two field goals and Crowell added a 2 and 3.
Monnier then took control of the game.
She scored seven points in the final four minutes of the quarter to get Houston within 11-10 after one. Monnier added five more points in the second quarter and 10 in the third as the Wildcats took a 23-20 lead at halftime and stretched it to 37-29 after three quarters.
It was more of the same early in the fourth quarter, before Covington’s trapping defense turned the tide and rallied the Buccs to victory.
Whiteman led Covington with 21 points, including 17 in the second half and 10 in the fourth quarter.
Crowell had 12 points, while Tori Lyle added eight, including a big basket during the rally.
Miami East 48,
Dayton Christian 40
DAYTON — Miami East fell behind early against Dayton Christian in its season opener Friday night, but the Vikings used their strength inside to wear down and finally outlast the Warriors for a hard-fought 48-40 victory on the road.
Haley Howard had 19 points and freshman Camryn Miller added 12 as the Vikings (1-0) went 0 for the 3-point line on the night but punished Dayton Christian (0-1) inside, hitting 14 2s and going 20 for 25 from the free throw line.
Amber Kinnison added nine points, Sage Hunley scored four and Bailey Miller had two.
Marin Reid led Dayton Christian with 14 points as the Warriors built a 17-8 lead after one quarter. But a 14-3 performance in the second by the Vikings gave them a 22-20 lead at halftime, the Warriors retook a one-point lead after three and East outscored Dayton Christian 19-10 in the fourth to seal it.
KETTERING — The Tippecanoe offense struggled to get going in its season opener Friday night at Fairmont, shooting 20 percent from the field in a 38-28 loss to the Firebirds.
As a team, the Red Devils (0-1) were 7 for 34 from the field, with Allison Mader and Taylor Prall accounting for six of those makes. Mader led the team with 18 points — going 9 for 11 from the free throw line — and added five rebounds and two steals. Prall had six points, Brooke Aselage had three points and Claire Hinkle had one.
Madeline Westbeld led Fairmont (1-0) with 16 points, Mariah Roe had eight and Kierra Thornton had seven as the Firebirds outrebounded the Devils 25-18 and, most importantly, outshot them by going 12 for 29 (41.4 percent) from the field.
Tippecanoe hosts Miami East Wednesday.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334. Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.