BETHANY — Adokiye Iyaye just needed new shorts.
Iyaye scored a game-high 27 points — 21 of which came after half with a new pair of shorts — to lead Piedmont to a 66-56 win over Class 4A No. 14 Star Spencer.
Thw win punched the Wildcats’ ticket to the Bethany Classic finals Saturday night at 8:30 against Northeast Academy or Casady.
Iyaye swapped shorts with a teammate in the second quarter after a cut on his hand left blood on his original shorts. After the switch, Iyaye’s play went to another level.
“That was a team that we’re better than and sometimes when we’re not playing well I have to step in,” Iyaye said. “I didn’t start good, so I had to pick it up. I guess the shorts were the difference.”
Must have been. Piedmont led 43-39 into the fourth quarter when Iyaye, a sophomore, went to work. He scored 13 points — eight in a row to open the quarter — to help the Wildcats pull away for the 10-point win, punctuating the victory with a powerful two-hand dunk with just less than two minutes remaining.
“He’s a special player and he needs to do that,” head coach Troy Lallemand said of Iyaye. “He took over when he needed to take over and our kids rode him. That’s what we expect out of Adokiye.”
Addaryl Quinn added 17 for Piedmont. Quinn made 8-of-11 foul shots late in the fourth quarter to fend off the Bobcats, who were led by Lattaryus Smith’s 25 points. Piedmont made 28 free throws in the game, 23 more than Star Spencer attempted.
“I’m just glad our shape and mental toughness won out,” Lallemand said. “Very proud of our guys, that was a good team win.”
Bethany 47, Piedmont 41
Piedmont’s attempt to reach the girls final was an up and down roller coaster ride.
The Lady Wildcats trailed 23-3 after a quarter, responded with an 18-0 run and eventually took the lead in the third quarter, only to falter down the stretch in a 6-point loss.
“We were Jeykll and Hyde tonight,” head coach Jordan Stark said.
When Piedmont was good, it was terrific. The Lady Wildcats defense swarmed, limiting Bethany to 13 points combined in the second and third quarters, while putting 32 points on the board.
“The girls kicked it in. That’s how they can play. Defense, movement, passing, it all increased once we got momentum,” Stark said. “We have to be that the whole time instead of just when we want to.”
The ‘Cats tied the game at 31 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter and briefly took a 1-point lead on a Maci Attalla free throw less than a minute later.
Bethany made the plays down the stretch, though, to earn the berth in Saturday’s title game vs. Harrah.
A 5-0 burst from McKenna Kirkpatrick pulled Piedmont within two, 42-40, with 1:58 to play, but that’s as close as PHS came. Kirkpatrick scored 13 to lead Piedmont. Maddie Sperle had 12 and Hannah Reasoner scored 11.
Bethany was led by three players in double figures — Rachel Bley and Brooklyn Judkins had 11 — topped by Hannah Harrell who scored 12.
Piedmont went 3-for-19 from 3-point range. Bethany was 4-of-8.
“Any time you’re shooting 15 percent from there you aren’t going to win a game,” Stark said.
Piedmont faces Bethel Saturday at 4 p.m.