Lady Bulldogs win by only three, 50-47; Sturgeon boys pull away against Tigers, 65-50

After losing by only five on the road against the Sturgeon Lady Bulldogs back on December 4th, the Pilot Grove Lady Tigers basketball team felt they could make up that deficit and more at home Friday night during Homecoming.
Although the Lady Tigers had a horrendous second quarter by giving up 18 points, they battled back to tie the game at 36-all at the end of the third quarter. So with only eight minutes left in the ballgame, Pilot Grove’s chance of winning were about 50-50 against Sturgeon.
Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, they picked the wrong time to go in a shooting slump while turning the ball over 10 times alone in the final period to suffer a 50-47 loss.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they also put up a good fight against the Bulldogs before bowing out in the second half in a 65-50 loss.
Pilot Grove coach Landon Daniel said this is really a tough game to swallow.
“We had a great start and came out with a lot of energy and got some really good looks on offense and played well defensively but then we hit a dry spell in the second quarter and a lot of fouls were called in the game and Sturgeon hit free throws going 14 for 16 in the second quarter alone,” Daniel said. “In the third we picked up the pace again and got the game back to a tie with some big shots from the outside. We got done again to start the fourth but worked our way back but just couldn’t get over the hump with a few calls that didn’t go our way and some costly turnovers that were unforced hurt us. The girls played their heart out and we had a lot of kids step up when their number got called because of foul trouble but we must continue to get better on defense and stop allowing teams to score at will especially on the backside of our zone.”
The Lady Tigers, dropping to 9-12 overall and 2-6 in the CAC, had every chance to pull away from Sturgeon while leading 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
However a 11-0 run by the Lady Bulldogs to start the second period gave Sturgeon all the momentum they would need for the rest of the half to lead Pilot Grove by four at 25-21.
Sturgeon also went on a 7-0 run in the second period to lead by as much as nine at 25-16 with 1:59 left. However for the rest of the half, Pilot Grove rallied back with five straight points to cut the lead back to four.
Although Sturgeon outscored Pilot Grove 18-7 in the second quarter, the Lady Tigers more than made up for it in the third quarter by coming out in the second half with seven straight points to go up 28-27 with 6:17 left. The Lady Bulldogs quickly responded, though, with six straight to push the lead back to five at 33-28. However, over the next minute, Pilot Grove would answer with six straight to lead by one at 34-33.
Meanwhile, after playing to a 36-36 tie after three, Sturgeon came back and took the lead in the final period around the 1:38 mark after a basket by Lauren Mills to make it 43-41.
Of course both teams struggled to handle the ball in the final period while turning it over 18 times. But even then the Lady Tigers had a chance when senior Cynthia Brumback hit a three to give Pilot Grove the lead at 44-43 with 1:27 left.
The Lady Tigers never led again after that as Sturgeon rallied back with a 7-3 advantage for the victory.
Mills finished the game for Sturgeon, who improved to 12-9 overall and 6-2 in the CAC, with 17 points.
For Pilot Grove, Brumback had 16 while Emily Schupp added 10, Reagan Walker eight, Allison Weekley seven, Melanie Wolfe three, Rachel Lorenz two and Chloe Schlotzhauer with one.
The Lady Tigers also finished the game shooting just 33 percent from the field and 45 percent from the foul line.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they battled right with Sturgeon while playing to four ties alone in the first quarter. However after taking a 15-13 lead at the 2:19 mark on a basket by Brady Rentel, the Tigers would never lead again in the ballgame as Sturgeon closed out the period with five straight points to go up by three at 18-15.
The Bulldogs also outscored Pilot Grove 16-11 in the second quarter to lead at the half by eight at 34-26.
Although Sturgeon’s lead swelled by as much as nine in the second quarter, Pilot Grove also had it down to one at 20-19 after a basket by Steven Bell with 6:46 left.
Pilot Grove never got any closer than eight points in the second half while Sturgeon led by as much as 22 at 64-42 in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs outscored Pilot Grove 21-12 in the third quarter to lead 55-38. Meanwhile, in the fourth, Sturgeon went on a 9-0 run during a two-minute stretch to extend the lead to 22.
The Tigers, however, didn’t go down without a fight while battling back with six straight points to closeout the game.
Chance Wells had 20 points and Tyler Cockrell 18 for Sturgeon, who improved to 6-13 overall and 4-6 in the CAC.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 10-11 overall and 3-5 in the CAC, Brady Rentel had 20 points. Regan Meisenheimer chipped in 14 while Ben Glenn added eight, Steven Bell three, Cole Mize and Parker Schuster each with two and Lucas Fahrendorf with one.
Pilot Grove also finished the game shooting 54 percent from the foul line while Sturgeon shot 68 percent for the game.