GUTHRIE — Sophomore Adokiye Iyaye was, as he usually is, a scoring machine Friday night.
Iyaye scored a season-high 31 points, but it wasn’t enough for Piedmont to earn a road victory over No. 11 Guthrie. The Blue Jays topped the Wildcats, 58-55.
Iyaye helped Piedmont forge a 21-all halftime tie with the Jays, but Guthrie switched from zone defense to full court man-to-man to open the second half. The result was unforced and forced errors from Piedmont (3-9) and a 10-point lead by the end of the third quarter for Guthrie.
“We looked like the pressure surprised us,” head coach Troy Lallemand said. “It was disheartening.”
Despite the sloppy third quarter, the Wildcats came as close as three points in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get over the hump. Iyaye scored his final points of the game on a layup with 1.8 seconds to play to provide the final margin.
“They’re 10th in the state and they’ve had some good wins,” Lallemand said. “We’re right there we’ve just got to find a way to win games. Still love our effort, we’ve just got to keep working.”
PHS pressured Guthrie full court in the fourth quarter. At times, the pressure forced quick misses from the Jays. Other times, Guthrie found uncontested layups behind the pressure.
“Any time you get behind like that and start pressing you’re going to give up layups, so I’m not surprised at that,” Lallemand said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of coming out and trying to take control of the game.”
Piedmont was 11 of 20 from the free throw line.
“If we take care of the ball and make free throws it’s a different game,” the coach said.
Guthrie 60, Piedmont 43
For three quarters Friday night, Piedmont played the sixth-ranked team in the state within three points.
The only problem? Guthrie owned the first quarter, building a 22-8 margin it played with the rest of the game while coasting to victory. Micayla Haynes scored 16, so did Branzi Jordan while Nakiya Stevenson put in 12.
Maddie Sperle totaled a double-double, with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Piedmont, which came within nine points of Guthrie on a McKenna Kirkpatrick 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
Kirkpatrick scored 12 points and briefly leaft the game with what, at the moment, appeared to be a serious injury to her right knee. She returned to score nine points after the injury, though.
The Lady Wildcats defense was blitzed in the first quarter as Guthrie waltzed to the basket to finish uncontested layups, or on the off chance a Piedmont defender was in the way, to dish off to a teammate for a score.
Piedmont is now 3-9 overall.