The Pilot Grove girls basketball team had its unbeaten record put to the test Saturday in the Seventh Annual Pilot Grove Tiger Classic.
Facing the Otterville Lady Eagles for the title, Pilot Grove  rallied from a one point deficit at the end of the third period to beat Otterville by a score of 45-40.
As for the boys championship game, the Prairie Home Panthers rode the hot hand of junior Kassen Lock with 24 points for a 49-40 victory.
In the third places games, the Stover girls beat Bunceton 45-28 while the Otterville boys edged Bunceton 59-53. In the games on Friday for consolation, the Sacred Heart girls upended Prairie Home 48-40 while the Stover boys defeated Russellville 52-42.
The Lady Tigers, improving to 6-0 on the season, opened the first half with a two point lead against Otterville at 16-14 but then was outscored 15-12 in the third to trail by one at 29-28. However, in the final period, Pilot Grove retook the lead and never looked back by outscoring Otterville 17-11.
Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott said this was a total team effort and a battle physically all game.
“We were in foul problems from the beginning,” Scott said. “Melanie Wolfe was hurt late in the first half and did not return. She is a huge rebounder and scorer for us. Chloe Schlotzhauer had a great rebounding and defensive game in the second half after sitting out most of the first half. Emily Schupp had another good all-around game. Grace Phillips stepped up super for us late in the fourth quarter with six points-four very big free throws. We went into a stall the last two minutes and 29 seconds with a one point lead. Emily hit two free throws with 31.3 seconds on the clock and then Grace hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds left to put the game away. Abby Schupp also came off the bench to play her best game of the season. We just could not finish our shots in the first half. We had the shots we’ve been making, but not tonight. Good teams have to find ways to win on a off night. Players off the bench had to step up tonight for us to win. Great way for us to go 6-0, with a championship in our own tournament.”
Emily Schupp finished the game with a double-double for Pilot Grove with 22 points and 10 rebounds. She also had two steals and two assists.
Grace Phillips tossed in eight points to go along with her four rebounds, three assists and one steal while Abby Schupp had five points, four rebounds and one assist, Melanie Wolfe four points, nine rebounds and one blocked shot, Chloe Schlotzhauer three points, seven rebounds, two steals and one assist, Natalie Glenn two points, four rebounds and one steal, Natalie Rentel one rebound, one steal and one blocked shot and Reagan McFatrich with one rebound.
For Otterville, Josie Neal had 15 and Abby Nichols 10.
As for the Prairie Home boys, who improved to 5-2 on the season, they also had a game on their hands while leading Pilot Grove by just one at 8-7 after one and 23-19 at the half. The second half was just as close as the first as Pilot Grove came out and outscored Prairie Home 10-9 in the third to cut the lead to three at 32-29. However in the final period, Prairie Home held a 16-12 advantage to win the game by nine.
Prairie Home coach Mark McLaughlin said Pilot Grove is an outstanding team and they had an excellent plan for the game. “It’s kind of the game that’s good for both teams to learn from and a really fun game for the fans to watch,” McLaughlin said. “I’d like to see us do a little better job in special play execution and in capitalizing on our free throw opportunities as we were just 10 of 20 in this game. Making 75 percent of our free throws and winning 75 percent of the dead ball situations is the key to separating from opponents.”
Kassen Lock also had five rebounds, two steals and two assists to go along with his game-high 24 points. Clayton Pethan finished the game with seven points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two assists while Luke Stewart added six points and six rebounds, Blake Petsel five points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals, Blaine Petsel four points, one rebound, one steal and one assist, and Ty Stidham three points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said Prairie Home was the better team tonight. “We struggled to find an answer for the Lock kid defensively and on the offensive side we didn’t have anyone going for us. It was a tough loss for us but we will learn from it and get better.”
Gavin Shepherd was the only player in double figures for Pilot Grove with 11 points. Lucas Fahrendorf and Bailey Quint each chipped in nine points while Cole Meisenheimer had eight and Ethan Williams with three.
In the girls third place game, Stover led Bunceton 22-10 at the half and then outscored the Lady Dragons 23-18 in the second half.
Jenna Bellis had 20 points to lead all scorers for Stover.
For Bunceton, Madelyn Myers had nine points, eight rebounds and one assist while Chloe Moser added eight points and 10 rebounds, Taylor Burnett seven points and two rebounds, Cara Bishop two points, five rebounds and two assist, Maddie Brandes two points, Taylyn Heilman two rebounds and two assists and Regan Triebsch with two rebounds.
In the boys third place game, Bunceton trailed Otterville by just one (30-29) at the break but was outscored 29-24 in the second half to suffer the loss.
Isaiah Gilmore had 16 points and Mason Mateja 13 to lead Otterville.
For Bunceton, who dropped to 3-3, Jason Burnett had 21 points, two assists and one rebound. Hunter Shuffield chipped in 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Dylan Flatt added six points, six rebounds and two assists, Dillon Alpers four points and 10 rebounds, Layne Brandes three points and three rebounds and Brayden Doyle with six rebounds and one assist.
In the girls consolation game, Sacred Heart led Prairie Home from the opening tip and took a 30-14 lead into the half but was outscored by the Lady Panthers 26-18 in the final two periods.
Coach McLaughlin said it’s heartening to see the fight these girls showed in this game. “Maggie Wood had a good scoring night with 20 points while Ashley Twenter continues to progress after returning from her injury, and Paiton Williams also had another good scoring night.”
Maggie Wood had 20 points, nine rebounds and two steals to lead Prairie Home, who dropped to 1-6. Paiton Williams finished the game with seven points and five rebounds while Ashlyn Twenter added five points, six rebounds and three steals, Kelsey Watson four points, four rebounds and four steals, Madison Bishop two points, four rebounds and four steals and Kaelyn Crews with two points, four steals and two rebounds.