The Pilot Grove Lady Tigers basketball team found out first hand how tough it is to beat a team twice in less than a week.
While surging past Santa Fe last week in the semifinal round of the Wildcat Classic in Slater, the Lady Tigers found themselves in another battle Monday night at home. And just like the first game, Pilot Grove had to hold on in the final period to beat Santa Fe in a thriller 54-51.
As for the Lady Tigers, head coach Linda Scott said she was worried about a letdown against Santa Fe.
“Santa Fe is a good team and beating them two times in five days is a blessing,” Scott said. “Melanie Wolfe had a super game for us. Mel has been in a shooting slump so hopefully this game will get her on track for a super end of her career. Emily Schupp also had a very good all around game. Chloe Schlotzhauer, meanwhile, hit two huge free throws with seconds left to put us up by three. Everything went our way tonight for a change. These kids just like to play close games. I am waiting for a total breakout game so I can sit back and relax one game this season. But I will take more wins like this one because everyone did their part to help us win our 15th game of the season.”
At 15-3 on the season, the Lady Tigers led Santa Fe by just three (18-15) at the end of the first period. Meanwhile, in the second quarter, Santa Fe rallied back to tie the game at 28-all after outscoring Pilot Grove 13-10. The Lady Tigers took control of the game after that by outscoring Santa Fe 13-8 in the third to go up by five at 41-36. However, in the fourth quarter, the Lady Chiefs stormed back with a 15-13 advantage to cut the lead back to three.
Scott said Santa Fe had it down to a one point ballgame with 12.8 seconds left. Then, with 8.5 seconds remaining, Scott said Chloe Schlotzhauer hit two free throws to put the Lady Tigers up by three.
Melanie Wolfe led the scoring attack for Pilot Grove with 18 points along with eight rebounds, one steal, one assist and one blocked shot. Emily Schupp finished the game with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots while Grace Phillips added seven points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist, Chloe Schlotzhauer six points, five assists, four steals and two rebounds and Abby Schupp with six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Santa Fe was led by Carrigan Smith with 29 points.
Of course the Pilot Grove boys wanted nothing more than to get back on the floor after a frustrating week last week at Slater.
Although the Chiefs made a game of it in the fourth quarter, Pilot Grove held a 13 point lead (30-17) at the break. However in the second half, Santa Fe rallied back with a 27-17 advantage to cut the lead back to three.
“I thought the guys came out and responded defensively as a team and individually,” said Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs. “I challenged them to recognize opponents biggest threats. Several games this season we allowed multiple guys to go off for 20 plus games and has been a weakness. I thought we did a great job our their main perimeter threat last night. We have to carry the same defensive focus forward as it will be challenged the rest of the season when facing teams with premier scorers.”
Bailey Quint also had a big night for the Tigers by tossing in a game-high 17 points. Gavin Shepherd chipped in 12 while Dorsan Hern added eight, Cole Meisenheimer and Bo Vinson four each and Kealin Vinson with two.
For Santa Fe, Sims had 12 and Begeman 11.
In the JV girls game, Pilot Grove defeated Santa Fe 27-6
The Lady Tigers, 2-0 on the season, outscored Santa 9-3 and 18-3 in a two quarter game.
Danae Lammers had 12 points to lead all scorers for Pilot Grove. Aryn Lorenz chipped in nine, Leah Vollrath four and Natalie Rentel with two.
Scott said it was good to get the younger kids some playing time. “We came out relaxed and shot the ball super well,” Scott said. “Lorenz and Lammers hit some big threes for us that broke the game open early. Vollrath and Roth both played hard defense that got us steals. These Lady tigers come out each day to practice and make us a better varsity team. I’m just happy to get these girls some playing time  and our future looks bright with these girls.”