Brock Netter, Staff Writer
KINNINKINICK — The Piketon Redstreaks remembered Zane Trace celebrating on their home floor back on Dec. 18, snapping a 35-game conference losing streak.
That was all the motivation they needed going into Monday.
Despite a low scoring first half, the Redstreaks (8-13, 4-9 SVC) flipped a switch and turned in a dominant, efficient second half performance as they defeated the Pioneers (2-18, 1-12 SVC) 50-37 in SVC action.
“It was really hard watching Zane Trace celebrate on our court last time,” Piketon guard Bailey Vulgamore said. “We wanted this one really bad. We prepared very hard, worked hard in practice and the whole team wanted this. It was time to come together and get the win.”
Part of flipping that switch was the Redstreaks’ near-perfect free throw shooting in the third and fourth quarters as they finished 16-of-19 at the line, 17-of-22 overall.
But it was Kennedy Jenkins who took over in the second half and put Piketon on the right track towards victory.
After being held scoreless in the first 16 minutes, she scored the Redstreaks’ opening 11 points in the third quarter and the Pioneers had no answer for the freshman forward.
“I just wanted to be there for my team,” Jenkins said. “I had to keep pushing as hard as I could and continue to give all of my effort. We were at a point we needed scoring and I just didn’t give up.”
Zane Trace maintained control out of the gates and Piketon had no answer for Emily Allen during the opening eight minutes.
Allen continuously found herself with the ball in her hands whether it be thanks to an offensive, or defensive, rebound. She out-rebounded Piketon 6-5 in the quarter, and added six points to the mix as the Pioneers led 10-9.
Piketon stayed the course, however, and over the next few possessions, Jazz Lamerson found herself shouldering the load. Having already scored the last four team points, she added two more buckets and gave the Redstreaks their first lead of the game at 13-10.
“That stretch by Jazz really picked our team up,” Jenkins said. “We knew then that we had everything in our favor. We just kept pushing and feeding her the ball inside.”
But Zane Trace kept things ugly and continued to hang around as it scored six of the final eight points to cut the lead to 18-16 at halftime.
“We need to do better at starting faster,” Jenkins admitted. “Usually we don’t pick things up until the second half and sometimes all the effort isn’t there in the beginning. We have to do better at that in these final games.”
But after an OK first half, that’s when the switch was flipped, and Jenkins went to work.
It started with a pair of baskets that forced Zane Trace to call timeout and regroup. But she continued to pour it on with two more buckets and three free throws, helping to push the lead to double digits going into the fourth.
“Me and Kennedy have always been really close, so we bounce off each other,” Vulgamore said of Jenkins. “As soon as I seen her giving it her all, I think the team came together and lifted each other up. She made us play much better in the second half.”
Even with momentum on the Redstreaks’ side, Zane Trace fought back as Lauren Lane drilled back-to-back triples, pulling the game to within 38-31 with less than four minutes left.
However, the Pioneers had to start fouling to extend the game and Piketon was dead on from the stripe as they closed out the win.
Jenkins finished with a game-high 18 points and five rebounds to lead Piketon while Vulgamore added 13 points. Lamerson had 10 points and four rebounds as well.
Lane led the Pioneers with 14 points, followed by Allen with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Piketon wraps up its regular season Thursday at home against Westfall while Zane Trace hosts Hillsboro on Tuesday.
Zane Trace: 10-6-9-12
Piketon: 16-44 FG, 17-22 FT, 1-8 3pt., 38 rebounds (Risner 11), 20 turnovers, 9 assists (Risner 3). Scoring: Jenkins 18, Vulgamore 13, Lamerson 10, Risner 5, Little 4.
Zane Trace: 16-56 FG, 3-7 FT, 2-9 3pt., 28 rebounds (Allen 13), 15 turnovers, 8 assists (McCullough 4). Scoring: Lane 14, Allen 12, McCullough 7, Crow 4.