The Pilot Grove boys and girls basketball teams found out the hard way that slow starts can make it tough for a comeback.
Such was the case Friday night at home against Russellville as the Tigers and Lady Tigers trailed by six points or points after the first period.
As it turned out, Russellville wound up defeating both the boys and girls teams from Pilot Grove by the scores of 59-25 and 54-28, respectively.
The Lady Tigers, dropping to 7-4 on the season, trailed Russellville 16-2 after one, 31-8 at the half and 49-18 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, Russellville outscored Pilot Grove 12-10.
Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott said the girls played a much stronger team. “We had no answers in the first half for their press,” Scott said. “Now that varsity practice has started our kids had no gym to practice and it showed tonight. We did a much better job in the second half, as we got outscored by only three. We are a good team and battled every play against the best team we have seen this season. Emma Sleeper had a great second half. We finish the season with four games this week. We want to finish the season strong, so I think these kids will be ready to win on Monday night.”
Emma Sleeper led all scorers in the game for Pilot Grove with 17 points. Marci Lammers chipped in eight while  Kaitlyn Maggard added three.
For Russellville, Ann Grayson tossed in 14 points.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they played a little bit better while trailing Russellville by one six (12-6) after first period’s end and 25-19 at the half. However, in the third quarter, the Indians outscored Pilot Grove 28-4 to extend the lead to 53-23. Meanwhile, in the final period, Russellville held a 6-2 scoring edge to win the game by 34.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the kids played a great first half, playing them to 25-23. “They came out with a three-quarter trap in the third to outscore us 28-4. We really struggle with length in pressure passing, but I just try to tell the guys to keep their composure and fight through it. We wrap up our last week with Santa Fe, Sweet Springs and Bunceton.”
Charlie Miller had the game high for Russellville with 21 points.
For Pilot Grove, Maddex Douglas had 15 while Hank Zeller added five and Ian Sprick and Blake Gerke each with two.