Pilot Grove senior Reagan Walker and junior Emily Schupp have been a great 1-2 punch for the Lady Tigers for the last three years.
On Monday at Pilot Grove, the Slater Wildcats found out first hand as Walker and Schupp combined for 55 of the team’s 76 points to lead the Lady Tigers to a convincing 76-51 win.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they had another tough loss while hanging around for nearly three and a half quarters before bowing out to Slater 66-52.
The Lady Tigers, who closed out the first half of the season at 6-3 overall and 1-2 in the CAC, outscored Slater in all four quarters and trailed only once for the entire 32 minutes as the Wildcats led 3-2 with 7:15 left in the first.
That’s when Walker took over with 19 points in the opening period, which included 12 straight points during a two minute stretch to put the Lady Tigers on top 19-6 with 3:41 remaining.
As for Schupp, the junior standout finished the quarter with six points as Pilot Grove opened a comfortable lead against the Wildcats at 25-15.
Of course it didn’t hurt that Pilot Grove hit on 11 of 16 shots in the period against Slater or that they forced eight turnovers with a suffocating defense.
The Lady Wildcats finished the game with 37 turnovers but were still in the game at the half thanks to a 9-0 run to closeout the period to cut the lead to 14 at 42-28.
While the lead swelled at one point to 23 at 42-19 in the second after two free throws by Schupp, head coach Landon Daniel couldn’t have been happy over the final two minutes and 13 seconds as Slater came back and reeled off nine straight.
Nonetheless, the Lady Tigers outscored Slater 17-13 in the period behind Walker’s 25 first-half points, which included five three-pointers.
The second half was pretty much the same as the first, however, Slater made it interesting in the third by cutting the lead back to 10 on two different occasions at 42-32 with 7:29 left and 46-36 with 5:02 remaining. The Lady Wildcats never got any closer after that as Pilot Grove came back and reeled off 11 straight-seven by Chloe Schlotzhauer-to extend the lead back to 21 at 57-36.
The Lady Tigers also matched their biggest lead of the game on the final basket in the third quarter by Schupp to make it 61-38.
Pilot Grove held a 19-10 advantage in the period.
As for the final period, the Lady Tigers never let the lead get below 21 while forcing a running clock at the 1:41 mark after a basket by Schupp to make it 76-46.
Slater, meanwhile, closed out the game with five straight points to cut it back to 25 but was still outscored 15-13 in the quarter.
The win was also the first in the conference this season for Pilot Grove after back-to-back losses to Madison and Sturgeon.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said a three-game winning streak is a good feeling going into break.
“I’m very proud of the girls’ efforts tonight and our offensive production,” Daniel said. “Reagan Walker really got us going in the first half scoring 25 points with five three point baskets and her defensive efforts led us to a lot of other scoring opportunities as well. We also did a really good job of not letting them score too many baskets inside the paint which has been a big focus for us because of our size, but we let them get too many clean three point shots off as they hit seven for the game. Again very proud of the girls for the way they have been playing of late and if we clean up a few things over break we could be playing very good basketball in the new year.”
In addition to scoring a team-high 29 points, Walker also had six steals, four assists and two rebounds in the game for the Lady Tigers.
Schupp finished the game with 26 points, nine rebounds, seven steals, five assists and one blocked shot while Chloe Schlotzhauer added 13 points, 10 rebounds, seven steals and four assists, Kaitlen Weekley six points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, Natalie Rentel two points, two rebounds and one assist, Aryn Lorenz and Abby Schupp each with two rebounds and Reagan McFatrich with one rebound.
For the game, the Lady Tigers hit on 33 of 64 shots from the field for 52 percent but were only 4 of 21 from the foul line for 19 percent.
Emilee Grimes had 21 points and Abby Uhlich 20 for Slater.
As for the Pilot Grove boys basketball team, they couldn’t have had a worse start while scoring just four points in the opening period on 2 of 18 shooting to trail Slater 10-4.
Luckily for the Tigers, Slater was just as cold from the field with only four baskets.
But that all changed in the second quarter as Slater finally caught fire by reeling off eight straight during a two minute stretch to extend the lead to 14 at 22-8 with 3:34 left. However over the final two minutes and 57 seconds, Pilot Grove closed out the half on a 6-2 run to cut the lead back to 10 at 24-14.
The Tigers also kept the game within striking distance in the third quarter while cutting the lead to eight on two different occasions at 33-25 after two free throws by sophomore Cole Meisenheimer with 4:20 left. Then, at the 3:22 mark, Gavin Shepherd scored on a layup to make it 39-31.
Pilot Grove also had back to back baskets for the first time in the game in the quarter after failing to do so in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they had no answer for Slater inside-outside presence as the Wildcats continued to lead by a score of 47-34.
Although the Tigers had their best quarter in the third, it still wasn’t enough as Slater outscored Pilot Grove 23-20.
The Tigers made a run at Slater in the final period and had it down to eight at 47-39 with 7:28 left after a three by Anderson Twenter and a two by Shepherd. However from that point on the Wildcats outscored Pilot Grove 19-13 and upped the lead to as much as 16 at 62-46 with 3:11 left.
Slater also outscored Pilot Grove 19-18 in the period.
As for the scoring in the game for Slater, Keshawn White had 16 and Dillon Stoneking 12.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 1-8 overall and 0-3 in the CAC, Meisenheimer finished the game with 14 points while Twenter had 12, Shepherd 11, Donnavan Gerke nine, Bailey Quint five and Lucas Fahrendorf with one.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the boys are giving a solid effort and continue to work hard every night out. “We are in need of this break to heal up a bit and get back into practice to work on our offensive skill set,” Skaggs said. “It will be nice to catch a breather here for a couple days before we enter the New Franklin Tournament on January 2nd.
In the boys JV game, Slater defeated Pilot Grove 49-48.
The Tigers opened the first half with a four point lead against Slater at 26-22 but was outscored 27-22 in the second half to suffer the loss.
Coach Skaggs said the boys just came up a bit short in the JV game. “I thought they played well, but we have to make our free throws at both levels,” Skaggs said. “We were 13 of 26 in the JV game, which was decided by one point. We just can’t accept that at either level. Overall, many guys played well on the defensive and offensive side.”
Hayden Krumm had the team-high for Pilot Grove with 11 points. Dalton Reuter chipped in 10 while Luke Kollmeyer added eight, Dorsan Hein six and Dylan Schupp with three.
Malin had the game-high for Slater with 14 points.