By Evan Grice
What started off as a blowout, nearly ended in disaster for the No. 6 Piedmont Lady Wildcats Tuesday night at Collett Fieldhouse against No. 13 Guthrie.
Leading 35-14 at the half, the Lady Blue Jays threatened to make a game out of things by cutting the Lady Wildcats lead to 44-33 going into the fourth quarter.
Fortunately for Piedmont, Hayden Priddy was well equipped to handle the situation, as she scored 11 of her season-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to help PHS snap its two-game losing streak and win 65-49.
“We came out slow after halftime, and Coach (Jamie) Hill said we needed to come out and take control of the fourth,” Priddy said about the Lady Wildcats nine-point third quarter performance. “Clearly we were the better team out there, and we didn’t play like it in the third quarter. So she just told us to go out there and take care of business so that it wouldn’t turn into a game.”
Just 1:15 into the fourth, the Piedmont faithful were able to breathe a slight sigh of relief as Priddy nailed a pair of three-point shots to give the Lady Wildcats a 50-36, which Piedmont was never in danger of losing from that point on.
A constant thorn in the side of Piedmont throughout the night though was the play of Lady Blue Jays guard Micayla Haynes who finished with 26 points to lead all scorers on the night.
“Our intensity dropped in the third quarter,” Hill said. “(Micayla) Haynes is a great player for Guthrie there’s no doubt about that. We tried to talk at halftime about not getting complacent and that’s unfortunately what happened. She was able to get some better looks in the second half because of it. We shouldn’t be having moments where we are just satisfied with how we are playing.”
Balancing out the scoring attack on the night for the Lady Wildcats was Kayden Carver who finished with 17 points for the Lady Wildcats.
“Having Kayden be a scorer just adds another dimension to this team,” Priddy said. “I’ve known Kayden all my life and when she is shooting like she was tonight, then we need to get her the ball. Other times she will get the ball to other people so they can score. Basically, having her as a third player who can score makes us a harder team to guard and stop.”
Piedmont (5-3) came out and took the game right to Guthrie from the start, leading 5-0 at the 6:31 mark of the first, which eventually led to an 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Other scorers for the Lady Wildcats on the night included Alex Hall with seven points, followed by Bre Reid, Mina Iyaye and Maddie Sperle each with four points. Keli Patterson and Abbie Hall both added three points.
Aaliyah Allison put in seven points for Guthrie (4-6) with Sojourner Love and Kamber Smedley each scoring six points.
Piedmont will be on the road Friday night against No. 1 Shawnee (9-0) with tip-off set for 6:30 p.m.
“Shawnee is a task there’s no doubt about that,” Hill said. “I know the girls can go out and win. Shawnee is a very good and experienced team, but they are beatable. If we can come out with a win, then it’s going to say a lot about us. This is the big one.”