By Evan Grice
This wasn’t the way the No. 3 Piedmont Wildcats wanted to begin the home stretch of the regular season.
Tuesday night at Guthrie, a slow start was almost vanquished, but poor execution down the stretch left the Wildcats once again feeling a bitter taste in their mouth, as they suffered just their third loss of the season, by a 52-49 score line.
Following the game, a very frustrated PHS head coach Ryan Wagner pointed to one simple culprit as the means to blame: poor preparation.
“This is very disappointing and embarrassing that this is the product our players want to leave out on the floor,” he said. “We played like a bunch of individuals out there and didn’t play for one another. If you aren’t going to defend then you won’t win. This is all on us, we didn’t play very good.”
“You have to play for each other and compete, and things will work out like they are supposed to.”
Late on, the Wildcats had a chance to take the lead with possession and 1:09 left in the fourth quarter, but instead of going for the inside bucket, a three-point shot was missed and Guthrie snagged the rebound.
GHS though left the door open the rest of the way as missed free throws, which could have iced the game, which clanking off the back rim.
Unfortunately, Piedmont couldn’t capitalize and the Wildcats will head into their highly anticipated game with Carl Albert with a bad taste in their mouths.
“In my opinion Guthrie didn’t do anything different this time against us,” senior guard Cameron Peters said. “This was simply a lack of preparation and communication on our part. I think a couple of us were looking ahead to Carl Albert, and we just let our focus stray away. Guthrie got hot tonight and we slacked off. We know we want to be conference champions and we want to beat Carl Albert. Those two things are pretty good motivating factors.”
At the end of the first quarter, Guthrie was clinging to a 15-11 first, after opening the game with an 8-0 run.
Guthrie maintained its edge going into the halftime break leading 23-18, before seeing the game tied at 35-35 at the end of the third quarter.
Adrion Williams led the offense with 25 points on the night, followed by Cameron Peters with nine points.
Kendell Franklin put in eight points, with Dupree Millhouse scoring four points.
Piedmont will be at home Friday night Feb. 21 for its senior night game against Carl Albert with tip-off set for 8 p.m.