By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — The game may not have started the way Piqua girls basketball coach Greg Justice hoped.
But, he knew he had two aces in the hole — and that proved correct as the Lady Indians rallied from early deficits of 9-0 and 13-3 to post a 49-37 win over Greenville in MVL action Monday night.
The Lady Indians improved to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in MVL play, while Greenville dropped to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the MVL.
Piqua started the game in a matchup zone —for the first time this season.
Greenville sharp-shooter Haleigh Behnken scored five quick points as the Wave jumped out to an 8-0 lead.
That forced Justice to use the first ace in the hole — going back to a man defense.
“The girls have been playing good man defense all year,” Justice said. “But, we had been working on a new defense and I decided to try it. You want to try different things over the holidays, but Greenville jumped out to an 8-0 lead. The two big things is we didn’t do a good job getting out on Haileigh (Benken) and the second thing was we weren’t boxing out. They had nine offensive rebounds in the first half and one in the second half.”
While, Greenville led 10-3 late in the first quarter, Justice played his second ace — one of the leading MVL scorers in Tylah Yeomans.
Yeomans had missed practice with an illness earlier this week, but entered the game with 39 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
And while Behnken opened the second quarter with a three to make it 13-3, things began to change with Yeomans on the floor.
“She did (Tylah Yeomans) change things, but I thought it was just a great team-effort by everyone,” Justice said.
That was demonstrated in the second quarter.
Two threes by Kathy Young kept Piqua in the game, but another three by Behnken had Greenville up 19-11.
Behnken picked up her third foul shortly after that and Yeomans scored six straight points, before a drive to the basket by Kenzi Anderson resulted in a three-point play with just six-tenths of a second left in the half to put Piqua up 20-19.
“Kathy (Young) hit some big shots and that was a big 3-point play by Kenzi (Anderson),” Justice said. “We felt like we had the momentum going to the locker room.”
In the opening moments of the third quarter, Yeomans had a steal for a basket and Aubree Schrubb had a putback to make it 24-19.
While, Greenville’s Libby McKinney hit a three to get Greenville within 33-29 going to the fourth quarter — Piqua quickly opened a nine-point lead with a 7-2 run to start the fourth quarter.
Yeomans was a big part of that, continually driving through the Greenville defense for baskets.
Maybe her most impressive play came with 3:40 to go when she blocked a 3-point attempt by Behnken, grabbed the ball and went coast-to-coast to make it 40-31.
“Tylah (Yeomans) is such a dynamic player out there,” Justice said. “She makes a lot of big plays.”
Karley Johns had a couple electric drives and dishes on behind the back passes to create easy baskets for Schrubb.
And Tayler Grunkemeyer — who had missed her first four free throws to start the game — made five straight down the stretch when it mattered.
“Karley (Johns) really did a nice job,” Justice said. “Tayler (Grunkemeyer) is a great soccer player. She has been in big situations. She understood how big those free throws were in the second half.”
Yeomans would lead all scorers with 21 points.
Young added seven, Schrubb and Johns both had six and Grunkemeyer scored five.
Behnken led Greenville with 19 points.
Abbie Yoder scored six off the bench and McKinney finished with five.
Piqua will be back in action Saturday, hosting Fairborn.
“We are 7-3 now, that is pretty good,” Justice said with a smile after the game.
And he is hoping for a game that more follows the script Saturday.
Haleigh Behnken 6-3-19, Nyesha Wright 0-0-0, Natea Davidson 0-2-2, Morgan Gilbert 1-2-4, Annie Hayes 0-1-1, Abbie Yoder 3-0-6, Libby McKinney 2-0-5. Totals: 12-8-37.
Aubree Schrubb 3-0-6, Kathy Young 2-1-7, Karley Johns 2-2-6, Tayler Grunkemeyer 0-5-5, Kenzi Anderson 1-1-3, Tylah Yeomans 7-7-21, Adde Honeycutt 0-1-1, Elise Cox 0-0-0. Totals: 15-17-49.
3-point field goals — Greenville: Behnken (4), McKinney. Piqua: Young (2).
Score By Quarters
Greenville 10 19 29 37
Piqua 3 20 33 49
Records: Piqua 7-3 (4-3), Greenville 3-5 (3-3).
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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