PIKETON — Before Thursday’s game against Southeastern, Piketon coach Jason Taylor wrote one word on the white board in his team’s locker room.
He wasn’t thrilled about being out-rebounded in their season opening loss to Eastern, so he wanted to see a more concerted effort on the glass.
His team responded by winning the rebounding advantage by a 39-22 margin, which helped the Redstreaks (1-1, 1-0 SVC) pick up a 48-29 victory over Southeastern (1-1, 0-1 SVC) to open SVC action.
“We got out-rebounded 45-27 against Eastern, and we couldn’t afford to have that happen again in conference play,” Taylor said. “Completely different story tonight. We owned the boards, especially on the defensive end and held Southeastern to just one shot.”
In addition to their first season-opening conference victory since 2018, it was also the first win of Taylor’s head coaching career.
“It feels pretty good, but the girls deserve all the credit,” Taylor said. “I’ve got a great group of kids who work and want to win.”
Piketon’s Addie Johnson enjoyed a white-hot start, and that set the tone for the rest of the night.
She had four of Piketon’s opening eight points and corralled three quick rebounds as the ‘Streaks jumped out to an 8-2 lead.
While Johnson continued to operate, Jazz Lamerson and Kennedy Jenkins began to make their impact felt with a slew of baskets that helped extend the lead to 18-9 after the first quarter.
Piketon’s relentless mentality on the boards began to pay dividends in the second quarter.
Between Natalie Cooper, Laney Brown, Lamerson and Jenkins, the Panthers had trouble preventing second chance opportunities from happening.
Piketon only managed nine points in the frame, but held Southeastern to eight and held a 27-17 lead at halftime.
“We probably left 15-20 [points] on the floor, but we owned the defensive end of the floor,” Taylor said. “I’m an old-school minded guy, so I emphasize defense and rebounding. Win those two battles and, typically, you’ll win the game. Our offense will thrive off of our defensive effort.”
Both offenses were ice cold from the floor in third, but Southeastern managed to trim the lead to 27-21 with three minutes left.
However, Lamerson scored the Redstreaks’ first bucket with 2:55 left in third. She added another score just seconds later, which sparked a 10-2 run for a 37-23 lead — one that stayed put for the rest of the night.
Lamerson finished with a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds, followed by Jenkins and Johnson with 12 points each.
“You can tell those three have been playing together for a few years. They work so well and know where the other will be at all times,” Taylor said. “It’s a bit different for them running an uptempo, quick-motion offense. But we want to use their speed and athleticism to take advantage of as many situations as possible.”
Morgan Ware finished with eight points and six rebounds for Southeastern.
Piketon returns to action on Saturday at home against Fairfield, while Southeastern hosts Logan Elm that same afternoon.