Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
PIKETON — Time and time again Thursday night, Southeastern’s defense led to points in transition.
The Panthers clogged Piketon’s passing lanes, frustrated the Redstreaks’ guards and finished on the other end when they had scoring opportunities.
That happened early and often, giving the Panthers something to hang their hats on and, eventually, led to a 47-32 win in the team’s Scioto Valley Conference opener.
“We’ve been trying to get out and push all year. We’re not a fast team, so we’re not trying to push to get lay-ups,” Southeastern coach Doug Hice said. “We’re trying to push to get the ball to the wings because we have shooters. If they don’t have it, then we look for our bigs down low.”
Southeastern (3-1, 1-0 SVC) didn’t have to look for Skylar Hice much in Thursday’s win. She created many of her own scoring chances by cleaning the offensive glass and getting to the foul line, where she finished 6-of-11.
In the end, the senior finished with a game-high 22 points alongside seven rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.
That scoring total is a season high for Hice after she missed her junior season with an injury. Now that she’s back, the Panthers have a bonafide leader to look to when things get rough.
“Skylar came back as a senior this year and she’s just kind of taken over this team,” Hice said. “Everybody looks up to her. She thinks she’s a volleyball player that plays basketall. But in reality, she’s a basketball player, too. She just doesn’t understand that sometimes. When she decides she wants to score like she did tonight, she can be dangerous.”
All season long, Hice’s running mate has been Macie Graves. That didn’t change Thursday as Graves followed in Hice’s footsteps with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals.
“All Macie does is play basketball,” Hice said. “It’s 12 months per year for her. She puts in a lot of time doing it. She’s got a high motor and a high IQ for basketball. She struggled shooting the basketball Monday night but tonight she relaxed a little bit and let the game come to her. She gets hers.”
As for the action, the Panthers took a 4-2 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter and never trailed after that point. Hice scored seven points in the first quarter to aid Southeastern to a 17-11 edge after a quarter of play.
Piketon’s Ava Little hit a 3 with 7:42 left in the second but that was as close as the Redstreaks (3-1, 0-1 SVC) would come to catching up. Southeastern embarked on a 6-0 run to take a 23-14 and eventually stretched that advantage to 31-19 by halftime.
In the third, more of the same took place. The Panthers’ defense continued to provide transition points while the young Redstreaks couldn’t find a rhythm offensively.
By the start of the fourth quarter, the Panthers were up 41-22. From there, the group coasted to victory.
After Hice and Graves’ stat lines, Alexis Bailes added four points for Southeastern alongside three rebounds. Cidney Huff had two points and three assists, and Sierra Mitten had two rebounds and two assists.
All in all, the group created 22 turnovers.
For Piketon, Jazz Lamerson led the way with eight points while Bailey Vulgamore had seven alongside five rebounds. Ally Ritchie also helped out, scoring five points and grabbing six boards.
The Redstreaks will try and get back in the win column Tuesday at Unioto while Southeastern is back in action Saturday afternoon, traveling to Peebles.
“It’ll be a different animal for us,” Hice said. “Peebles has five good guards, three of which are as good as anybody in the state. But they have to find a way to guard us, too. They’re a very well-coached team, they’re very disciplined and they have one of the best players [in Jacey Justice] in Southern Ohio. They’ll be a handful.”
Southeastern: 17-14-10-6 — 47
Piketon: 11-8-3-10 — 32
Southeastern: 19-44 FG, 8-15 FT, 1-4 3pt., 23 rebounds (Hice 7), 13 turnovers, 8 assists (Huff 3). Scoring: Hice 22, Graves 15, Bailes 4, Huff 2, Scott 2, Ruby 2.
Piketon: 12-35 FG, 6-12 FT, 2-7 3pt., 20 rebounds (Ritchie 6), 22 turnovers, 7 assists (Jenkins 3). Scoring: Lamerson 8, Vulgamore 7, Little 6, Johnson 6, Ritchie 5.