The Piketon Redstreaks had a pair of first-half runs they couldn't convert into a knockout punch against visiting Unioto Tuesday night, then couldn't keep the Shermans off the free-throw line in the second half in dropping their first game of the year, 66-62.
Unioto was fueled by its youth movement, including a big all-around night by freshman Erique Hosley with 14 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Sophomores Nick Corcoran and Kyle Strange also were in double figures, with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
"The kid just has a presence about him," said Unioto coach Matt Hoops of Hosley. "He doesn't shy away from big moments. He was biting his nails in the locker room and I just told him to relax and embrace the moment. Boy did he ever do that. I don't think we can say enough about (Nick Corcoran). He hit some big shots for us."
Playing without Zach Farmer, who was out with an ankle injury, Piketon brought the pressure early against the younger visitors and quickly ran out to a 6-0 lead. Undaunted, however, on the strength of six points from Hosley, Unioto was able to claw back to take its first lead with just over three minutes to go in the opening period.
Piketon, which led 17-16 after the first, put together its second run of the half, this one a 10-3 burst to open up the largest lead it would have all night, 27-19 midway through the second quarter. This time it was Strange, Corcoran and Chase Detillion who drove the comeback that brought the game even at halftime, 29-29.
Coming out of the locker room, it was Unioto's turn to make a run, limiting Piketon to single-shot possessions and aggressively attacking the boards. When Nick Overly hit a three-pointer just past midway through the third, Unioto had its largest advantage, 45-38, and that seven-point edge would hold up at the end of three, 50-43.
Piketon came out firing in the fourth, however, and once they regained the lead on a Wyatt Brewster drive with just under six minutes to play, a frantic series of lead changes was begun that didn't end until Hosley got an offensive rebound and was fouled, making both shots for a 63-61 Unioto edge with 1:12 remaining. Although Unioto did not shoot overly well over the last minute from the foul line, they made enough to keep Piketon from seeing another advantage for the 66-62 final.
Unioto's attacking style was evidenced by the 35 free throw attempts they took, making 19 of them. Piketon, meanwhile, was only 9 of 14 from the line.
Craigen Moore led Piketon with 21 points, although 14 of those came in the first half. Brewster added 20 points.
Southeastern 50, Paint Valley 47
Southeastern has seen plenty of close games over the past five days. It wasn't pretty, but the Panthers finally got on the right side of a close game with Tuesday's three-point victory over visiting Paint Valley.
"The big thing for us was we were able to get 56 shots off," said Southeastern coach Kyle Uhrig, though his team only shot 29 percent from the field. "It wasn't our best effort, but the kids found a way to win. You have to like it when you can scrap out a win, especially in our league. That's a testament to the kids that even when things go bad we can still get it done."
Nick Kellough led the Panthers (3-4, 2-3)with 19 points, while adding 7 rebounds. Austic Hice added nine points and nine rebounds, while Dylan Miles finished with 11 points and five assists.
For Paint Valley (2-5, 0-5) Clay Statton and Cody Bryan each had 13 points.
Southeastern will host River Valley on Friday, while Paint Valley will travel to Vinton County on Saturday.
Westfall 65, Adena 53
Westfall had four players in double figures in a 65-53 win over Adena.
Alek Stonerock led the Mustangs with 19 points, while Jon Thomas added 18. Doug Hardin scored 12 points and David Robinson added 11.
Westfall (2-4, 2-3) will play Saturday at Miami Trace. Adena (0-7, 0-5) will play Friday, Dec 28 against McClain.
Portsmouth West 61, Waverly 58
The game yielded a result the Tigers have been all too familiar with this season, but it was one of the stronger performances the team has seen so far this year. Waverly (1-5, 0-3) had three players hit double digits in scoring, led by Eric Rinehart's 15 points . Frank Sylverster added 13 points, while Jean Paul White added 12. Joe Joe Henderson added eight points in the loss, while Trevon Bolin-Hitchens added six. Aaron Heibel finished with four.
Waverly will play again Thursday, Dec. 27, against Eastern in the Holiday Classic at Waverly High School.
GIRLS BASKETBALL Westfall 58, Logan Elm 54
Westfall's been looking for a "four-quarter" effort all season. They finally got it in Tuesday's 58-54 win over Logan Elm.
"We finally played for four quarters," said Westfall coach Jennifer Blue after her team posted quarter scores of 15, 18, 10, 15 in the win. "It was a great team ballgame with great distribution. Our defense really stepped up as well."
Kelsie Robinson led the Mustangs with 20 points, adding five assists. Paige Swaggerty and Regan Stonerock each scored 13. Swaggeryt added nine rebounds, while Stonerock added eight.
Westfall (5-4, 1-3) will host Adena on Thursday.