By Evan Grice
While the Bethany Classic got off to a solid start for the No. 6 Piedmont Lady Wildcats, two straight losses put a damper on the festivities the rest of the way in PHS’ first tournament of the season.
Piedmont 59 Elgin 44
Against the No. 8 Lady Owls in the opening game of the tournament, Piedmont was in no mood to mess around.
A solid first quarter effort was followed up by an equally as dominant second half effort as the Lady Wildcats sent Elgin packing with a 59-44 victory.
“We talked a lot in the locker room before the game about being the tougher team,” Piedmont coach Jamie Hill said. “Elgin is a talented team, but today we were the more physical team and we were better. We put Mina (Iyaye) on their post player (Jentry Holt) and it worked out there. Our girls played great defense out there and that translated into points for us. I’m very happy with this performance.”
While Elgin’s 6’3” standout Jentry Holt did finish the game with 17 points, the Lady Wildcats were more than able to contain her during the contest, specifically Mina Iyaye, who finished with nine points in the contest but made her presence felt on the defensive end of the court.
“I knew I had a big job on the defensive end, so I blocked out as hard as I could,” Iyaye said. “If I would have lost my poise then that would have prevented all of us from really being able to play our best. Everyone was so excited about rebounding and blocking out during this game.”
Piedmont kept the Lady Owls at bay in the first quarter, pulling from a 3-2 lead to a 21-14 advantage going into the second quarter.
At the halftime break it was 34-19 in favor of Piedmont, thanks in part to solid shooting which included going 8-for-10 from three point range.
Elgin tried to make a comeback in the third but it wasn’t enough to get to single digits as the Lady Wildcats stayed in front at 46-32.
Bre Reid led the Lady Wildcats with 18 points in the game, with Hayden Priddy putting in 16 points. Alex Hall scored seven points with Kayden Carver putting in six points. Sydney Morrison scored three points.
Ally Short and Ava Battese added nine points for the Lady Owls.
Harrah 57 Piedmont 32
While the Lady Wildcats were hanging tough with the No. 5 ranked team in Class 4A early on, it didn’t last the whole way through.
Harrah’s Lady Panthers used a strong second half to overturn a 24-20 deficit and send Piedmont to the third place game of the Bethany Classic with a 57-32 defeat.
Piedmont held a 4-0 lead early on at the 3:56 mark of the first quarter before Harrah stormed back and took the advantage at 9-7 with just over a minute left in the first.
PHS held a 24-20 lead at the half, and found itself tied at 31-31 going into the fourth.
However, foul trouble and cold shooting would eventually do the Lady Wildcats in against Harrah.
Hayden Priddy led the offense with nine points on the night with Harrah being led by Darian Hill with 20 points.
Millwood 42 Piedmont 33
Against another top-10 ranked team from a lower classification, the Lady Wildcats came out strong again.
Unfortunately, late game struggles allowed the Millwood Lady Falcons to take the lead late on and eventually claim third place over Piedmont with a nine-point victory.
Piedmont held a 13-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, before seeing its lead cut to just two points at 18-16 going into the halftime break.
Millwood took a 27-23 lead into the fourth quarter, where Piedmont held a 31-29 lead with 3:40 left in regulation, but eventually lost the lead at 34-33 with 2:27 left in the contest.
Bre Reid led the Lady Wildcats with 12 points followed by Alex Hall with eight points. Mina Iyaye scored five points with Kayden Carver and Hayden Priddy putting in four apiece.