The Pilot Grove boys and girls basketball teams had two close games and fell in both last week against the Smithton Tigers, 70-64 and 45-44, respectively.
For the Lady Tigers, they trailed Smith 23-18 at the break and 35-30 after three quarters of play before rallying back with a 14-10 advantage in the final period.
Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott said the girls played really hard.
“We did so many things well for the first game,” Scott said. “Natalie Glenn and Grace Phillips lead us in scoring.  Both played well for sophomores. The surprise was not hitting our free throws.   We must get more physical on the boards.  We really battled the last two minutes and showed great will to win.  This game helped us grow up tonight.  I got to see what players are going to do under pressure. They hear me say everyday little things change your game and little things win or lose a game.  We talked about that after the game.  We need to fix little events of our game to be better players on the court. A great first game of the season for the Lady Tigers.”
Lynne DeHaven had 16 points and Ahlyna Cason 11 for Smithton.
For Pilot Grove, Grace Phillips led all scorers with 17 points. Natalie Glenn chipped in 11 while Abby Schupp added seven, Reagan McFatrich and Leah Vollrath each with four and Marci Lammers with one.
As for the Pilot Grove boys, they trailed Smithton 19-10 after first period’s end and 39-28 at the half. Smithton also held a 16-13 scoring edge in the third quarter to extend the lead to 55-41. However, in the final period, the Tigers rallied back with a 23-15 advantage to cut the lead back to six.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the Tigers simply came out flat offensively and defensively.
“The difference in the game was that we spotted them plus 9 in the first quarter,” Skaggs said. “I felt that our hands were active and we deflected many passing lanes. Although, we have to hit layups and eliminate second chance points by rebounding the ball. We showed great heart in our determination to fight back, but as I stated to them the last three weeks. We have to drop that mindset of being the comeback kids this year and dominate from the tip off. I have to find a collective group of five that are going to give us a great first quarter start. We have to set the tone from tip.”
Aaron Douglas had 16 points and Alex Walsh 14 to led Smithton.
For Pilot Grove, senior Cole Meisenheimer tossed in a game-high 26 points. Bailey Quint chipped in 17 while Bo Vinson added eight, Dylan Schupp and Dade Christy each with three points, Hayden Krumm, Dalton Reuter and Kealin Vinson with two points each and Seth Blumhorst with one point.