Brock Netter, Staff Writer
PIKETON — There’s always ups and down with young, inexperienced teams at the varsity level. For example, take a look at Piketon’s contest against West Union Tuesday evening.
The Redstreaks (2-0) committed nearly 25 turnovers.
However, they also sank 18-of-23 free throw tries on the evening and cruised to a 51-32 victory over the Dragons.
“We have a deeper bench this year. But no matter who we put in, we have confidence that they can make free throws,” Piketon coach Brett Coreno said. “We don’t have to base our rotation around who can shoot and who doesn’t shoot as well from the foul line. It’s a great thing to have and it makes the offense more confident.”
The Redstreaks are in a more unique situation than they have been in awhile, having just one senior on the team in Ally Ritchie, who Coreno relies heavily upon to keep things calm and steady in the midst of chaos.
She answered the bell in Tuesday’s win, pacing the Redstreaks with a team-high 11 points and six rebounds.
“She had a great leadership night on top of how she played,” Coreno said. “That calming effect and understanding when to slow things down is what we need from her. Everything she does is completely fine, but when things get a little wild, that’s where we need her the most and she delivered.”
Piketon never trailed on the evening, leading 15-6 after the first quarter with Ritchie and Hayleigh Risner combining for 11 of the team’s 15 points.
Once the lead reached double digits early in the second, it remained that way for the rest of the night. West Union cut Piketon’s lead to 10 points on two different occasions in the second half, but Coreno’s crew refused to let it get any closer than that.
“There were times in the third quarter where we were rushing to get a shot despite being ahead double digits,” Coreno said. “Even in the fourth quarter when we’re up 10 or more points, unless it’s a layup, we have to pull the ball out and run the offense. It’s just little things like that which we need to work on and we’ll get back to doing those things as the season goes along.”
Risner, who is one of four starting freshmen for the Redstreaks, finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Kennedy Jenkins had 10 points and six rebounds while Bailey Vulgamore added nine points alongside three assists.
“Bailey did a great job at looking over the press and making good decisions with the ball,” Coreno said. “Hayleigh had some great blocks and played physical while Kennedy made a ton of solid plays. They’re starting to learn that you have to move on from bad plays and make the next play. There’s still work to be done, but it was nice to see them finish a game like they’re capable of doing.”
Piketon returns to action on Saturday at home against Western.
West Union: 6-6-12-8 — 32
Piketon: 15-9-13-14 — 51
West Union: 11 FG, 8-16 FT, 2 3pt. (Rowe 1, Davis 1). Scoring: Rowe 13, Davis 6, Grooms 4, Taylor 2, Purcell 2, Shivener 2, Weakley 2, Franes 1.
Piketon: 14 FG, 8-17 FT, 1 3pt. (Smith 1). Scoring: Ritchie 11, Jenkins 10, Vulgamore 9, Risner 9, Little 5, Lamerson 4, Johnson 3.