With basketball schedules constantly changing due to COVID-19, including the cancellation of the Waverly Boys Holiday Classic tournament, the Piketon Redstreaks and the Western Indians decided to play each other before 2020 came to a close.

Piketon used a strong second half to win over Western in that Pike County battle, 57-47. The Redstreaks followed on Wednesday, Dec. 30 with a 76-49 win over Trimble. Western took on Portsmouth West on Dec. 30, falling 61-45. Then the Indians played Ironton St. Joseph Saturday and suffered a close defeat to the visiting Flyers 43-40.

The following story includes sections and box scores from those games.

Dec. 29 — Piketon @ Western

Even though it wasn’t officially the Holiday Classic, the Piketon Redstreaks and Western Indians played their rivalry battle Tuesday evening, Dec. 29, in Latham.

The final score showed a 10-point win for the Redstreaks, 57-47, but it was competitive throughout the contest as the two teams looked to claim county bragging rights.

It was a return to Western High School for Piketon Head Coach Kyle Miller, who coached there for three seasons. It also gave Coach Miller the opportunity to see and coach against his younger brother Kolten, who is a junior guard for the Indians.

“I know what Kolten likes to do and wants to do for the most part,” said Coach Miller of preparing to coach against his brother. “Kolten has become better as a basketball player. He has shown that if we take away something (from his game) early, he does a good job of turning those weaknesses into strengths. It is a proud brother moment to see that. Kolten competed, and I love him to death. We are both ultra-competitive. He’s never beaten me at one-on-one yet though.”

Kolten Miller delivered the first basket of the game for the Indians, giving them what would be their only lead. Piketon’s Levi Gullion connected on a triple to start the Redstreak offense, beginning a 10-0 run over the next three minutes. Brody Fuller and Kydan Potts each scored from close range before Chris Chandler capped the run with a triple, 10-2.

For Western, Riley Beekman broke the drought with a drive for a layup, drawing a foul. Gullion and Fuller followed with back-to-back shots, briefly putting Piketon up by 10, 14-4. Beekman had another drive, scoring while drawing a foul to convert a three-point play. Then Piketon senior Shane Leedy had the final bucket of the quarter, putting the Redstreaks up 16-7.

Heating up from long range, Miller opened the second quarter scoring for Western with a trifecta. That was the start of a 21 point surge by the Indians that included a 5-of-7 performance from long range. The Streaks moved the lead back up to 10 with back-to-back buckets from Sawyer Pendleton and Chandler. Then Western’s Reed Brewster connected on a trey, sparking a quick 8-2 burst by the Indians to get the lead down to four. After Piketon’s Brody Fuller hit, Riley Beekman had a bucket and a three for Western, making the score 22-18.

The Redstreaks kept themselves in front, as the teams traded three-point shots during the next four possessions. Fuller and Chandler hit for the Redstreaks, while Miller and Colton Montgomery connected for the Indians. Western was able to add points from the line with Noah Whitt returning to the lineup after sitting much of the first half with foul trouble. Then Beekman scored again. However, Piketon’s Tra Swayne scored inside to give the Streaks a 32-28 edge at the half.

In the second half, the pattern of Piketon trying to pull away continued, but the Indians never gave up, cutting into the lead multiple times. The Streaks opened the half by pushing their lead to nine on a bucket from Gullion and a triple from Chandler, 37-28. Brewster opened the scoring for the Indians with a three of his own, followed by a free throw from Whitt, 37-32. Piketon added five more quickly with another Chandler three and an inside bucket from Potts, 42-32.

The Indians worked over the next three minutes to cut the deficit again, defensively limiting Piketon to three shot attempts. During that same stretch, Whitt scored to cut the Streaks’ lead down to single digits. Then Brewster hit again from outside, trimming the PHS advantage to five, 42-37. Buckets from Pendleton and Swayne pushed the Streaks to a nine-point advantage again. Then Beekman closed the scoring in the quarter with a pair of free throws, Western was within seven, 46-39.

Scoring was at a premium in the fourth quarter as the defenses battled each other. Swayne connected on a three-pointer to start the offense for the Redstreaks, pushing the lead to 10 again. Western was able to cut it to eight twice more in the fourth quarter before the Streaks closed out the 57-47 victory. During that stretch, Whitt, Beekman and Brewster all scored for the Indians, while Swayne and Chandler handled all of the points for the Streaks.

“We didn’t do a good job of executing the game plan tonight. It was a physical game and the officials let it be a physical game,” said Western coach Doug Williams. “That’s not good for us, because we aren’t very big. Noah Whitt picked up two quick fouls, so that hurt us defensively. For Kolten, it was an extra special game to go against Kyle. He did a nice job. Our goal is to continue to get better throughout the season.”

For Piketon, Chandler finished with 19, followed by Swayne with 10 points, eight rebounds and a pair of assists. Fuller added nine points.

“This is a tough place to play. No matter how good Western is year in and year out, this is not an easy place to win,” said Piketon coach Kyle Miller. “In my three years here, I always felt at home, and we had a solid advantage. I enjoyed my time here. We will take a win.

“We have four game goals every game, and they don’t change. If we check off all four goals, we put ourselves in a great spot. We checked off three of the four, which usually correlates in a sizable win for us. Getting three out of four goals and only winning by 10 against Western is a credit to how well they played. Western was well prepared. We were lucky enough to get more (shots) to fall than they did.”

Coach Miller was pleased to see the direction of the Western basketball program, saying, “(Head Coach) Doug (Williams) is a good friend. (Assistants) Tyler Jimison and Jeremy McLeod were on my staff when I was at Western. I was always close with (Assistant Coach) Trent Harrop while I was teaching here.

“There is a source of pride that comes back to me when I see 2016 on two banners on the wall (sectional and district basketball titles during Miller’s time coaching there). The program is in better hands now because of Doug, Tyler and those guys. They will continue to improve. As an older brother to Kolten, I can’t be any more happier than I am to see him being coached by those guys.”

For Western, Beekman led the way with 16 points, followed by Brewster with 13 and Miller with eight. Whitt and Montgomery each secured five rebounds.

“Riley often takes a backseat and lets other guys score. Tonight he got to the rim and scored for us, which is good to see,” said Williams, talking of Beekman’s performance. “It is hard to win a starting job as a senior and then have it taken away by something that is out of your control. I was in quarantine for two weeks around Thanksgiving. Then when I came back, Riley was in quarantine. That’s a month where we didn’t see each other.”

Unofficially, Piketon was 16-of-28 from two-point range (57.1) percent and 7-of-24 from three-point land (29.2 percent), adding up to a 23-of-52 performance from the field (44.2 percent). The Streaks went 4-of-8 from the line (50 percent) and had nine turnovers.

The Indians hit on 11-of-27 from two-point range (40.7) and 7-of-16 from beyond the arc (43.8 percent), adding up to 18-of-43 (41.8) percent. Western hit 8-of-10 for 80 percent and had 13 turnovers.

PHS — 16 16 14 11 — 57

WHS — 7 21 11 8 — 47

PIKETON (57) — Levi Gullion 2 1 0-0 7, Brody Fuller 3 1 0-0 9, Tra Swayne 3 1 1-3 10, Kydan Potts 3 0 0-0 6, Chris Chandler 2 4 3-5 19, Shane Leedy 1 0 0-0 2, Sawyer Pendleton 2 0 0-0 4, TOTALS 16 7 4-8 57.

WESTERN (47) — Reed Brewster 2 3 0-0 13, Kolten Miller 1 2 0-0 8, Sean Kerns 0 0 0-0 0, Noah Whitt 1 0 5-6 7, Gavin Myers 0 0 0-0 0, Riley Beekman 5 1 3-4 16, Colton Montgomery 0 1 0-0 3, TOTALS 9 7 8-10 47.

Dec. 30 — Piketon vs. Trimble

Facing an unbeaten Trimble Tomcats team at home on Wednesday evening, the Redstreaks shot the lights out from long range, leading to a 76-49 win.

Senior Chris Chandler was seemingly unstoppable in the opening quarter, scoring 20 of Piketon’s 25. Chandler’s stat line included four straight three-pointers to start. He hit the fourth while drawing a foul and added the free throw for a four-point play. Two more foul shots followed on another possession. Chandler then delivered his fifth three-pointer of the game and added a final bucket for his 20. Brody Fuller also hit a three-pointer, resulting in six triples for the quarter. Piketon was up 25-14 heading to second quarter.

In the next eight minutes, Fuller led the charge with three more trifectas. Gullion and Kydan Potts each had one as well, while Chandler contributed a bucket. The Streaks outscored the Tomcats 18-14, increasing their lead to 43-28.

Coming out of the break, Piketon’s shooting cooled some in the third quarter. Chandler and Swayne each scored five, adding a triple each. Trimble could only match Piketon’s scoring with 10, keeping the Streaks in front 53-38 headed to the fourth.

Fuller, Chandler and Brady Coreno each had a three-pointer in the final quarter. Fuller was also 4-for-4 from the line to lead the charge there, as Piketon sealed the 76-49 win with 23 points in the final frame.

Chandler finished with a career high of 32 points with seven three-point shots. His previous high of 30 points came in the game versus Manchester on Dec. 5. Fuller followed with 19 points, including five threes. In all, the Redstreaks connected on 16 three-pointers.

For Trimble, Austin Wisor finished with 20 points, followed by Tyler Weber with 10 points.

The Redstreaks traveled to West Union Tuesday. They will be in action at Paint Valley on Friday before returning home to face Huntington on Saturday.

THS — 14 14 10 11 — 49

PHS — 25 18 10 23 — 76

TRIMBLE (49) — William Freeborn 0 0 0-0 0, Tucker Dixon 1 0 0-0 2, Blake Guffer 4 0 2-8 10, Tyler Weber 2 1 2-3 9, Austin Wisor 4 3 3-3 20, Bryce Downs 1 0 0-2 2, Clarence Jones 3 0 0-0 6, TOTALS 16 4 7-1649.

PIKETON (76) — Levi Gullion 1 1 2-4 7, Shane Leedy 1 0 0-0 2, Brody Fuller 0 5 4-4 19, Tra Swayne2 1 1-3 8, Sawyer Pendleton 0 0 0-0 0, Brady Coreno 0 1 0-0 3, Kydan Potts 1 1 0-0 5, Chris Chandler 4 7 3-3 32, Alex Jenkins 0 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 9 16 9 10-14 76.

Dec. 30 — Western vs. P. West

For the second straight night, a slow start in the opening quarter saw the Western Indians fighting from behind all night long, falling to the visiting Porstmouth West Senators 61-45.

The Senators surged ahead 19-7 following the opening quarter. Western didn’t allow the lead to grow much larger by keeping it close in the second quarter. At the break, Western was behind 28-14.

With scoring at a minimum, Kolten Miller led Western in the first half and continued in third quarter by producing seven of Western’s 10. But the Senators countered with 16 points, stretching their lead to 44-24.

In the final quarter, Noah Whitt, Reed Brewster and Sean Kerns helped the Indians make a push. Whitt scored seven, followed by Kerns and Brewster with six each. In all, Western added five three-pointers, producing 21 points in the final eight minutes. But West added 17, including 6-of-9 from the charity stripe, to finish the 61-45 win.

Miller finished with 18 points to lead all scorers in the loss.

PWHS — 19 9 16 17 — 61

WHS — 7 7 10 21 — 45

PORTSMOUTH WEST (61) — R. Sissel 4 0 3-4 11, E. Adkins 0 0 0-0 0, L. Howard 3 2 0-0 12, T. Cantrell 0 1 0-0 3, J. Dixon 3 2 1-4 13, M. Phillips 1 0 0-0 2, S. Sadler 0 0 0-0 0,

WESTERN (45) — Reed Brewster 1 2 0-0 8, Kolten Miller 0 5 3-5 18, Wyatt Grooms 0 0 0-0 0, Colton Montgomery 0 0 0-2 0, Sean Kerns 0 2 1-2 7, Noah Whitt 3 1 0-0 9, Riley Beekman 1 0 1-2 3, Gavin Myers 0 0 0-0 0, TOTALS 5 10 5-11 45.

Jan. 2 — Western vs. St. Joseph

It was a tale of two halves when the Western Indians hosted the Ironton St. Joseph Flyers on Saturday night in the first game of the new year. A fourth quarter scoring drought ultimately saw Western fall 43-40.

The Indians came out firing, hitting four three pointers in the opening quarter. Noah Whitt had two of those to lead the charge with six points. Reed Brewster had another and a bucket for five points, while Kolten Miller also had a three. Colton Montgomery had Western’s other basket, making the lead 16-13.

In the second quarter, both teams put up 16 points. Miller added two more three-pointers to lead the way, while Whitt and Montgomery each had a basket. Riley Beekman, Gavin Myers and Zach Teed all contributed points from the line.

Scoring slowed for both teams as they settled in for a battle in the second half. The Indians managed to outscore the Flyers 7-4 in the third quarter, using a three from Miller, along with baskets from Whitt and Myers. But the fourth quarter was a different story, as the Indians could not score at all. Defensively, they limited Ironton St. Joseph to nine points, suffering a 43-40 loss.

Miller finished with 12 points to lead Western, followed by Whitt with 10 and Brewster with eight.

For St. Joseph, J.C. Damron led with 17, followed by Jimmy Mahlmeister with 10.

The Indians were set to head to New Boston Tuesday evening, before returning home to play Notre Dame Friday.

ISJHS — 13 17 4 9 — 43

WHS — 16 17 7 0 — 40

IRONTON ST. JOSEPH (43) — Jackson Rowe 0 0 0-0 0, Will Whaley 0 0 0-0 0, Matthew Sheridan 1 2 0-0 8, J.C. Damron 6 1 2-2 17, Jared Johnson 1 0 2-4 4, Michael Mahlmeister 0 0 2-2 2, Jimmy Mahlmeister 1 1 5-6 10, Max Weber 1 0 0-0 2, TOTALS 10 4 11-14 43.

WESTERN (40) — Reed Brewster 1 2 0-0 8, Kolten Miller 0 4 0-0 12, Wyatt Grooms 0 0 0-0 0, Colton Montgomery 2 0 0-0 4, Sean Kerns 0 0 0-0 0, Noah Whitt 2 2 0-0 10, Riley Beekman 0 0 2-2 2, Gavin Myers 1 0 1-2 3, Zach Teed 0 0 1-2 1, TOTALS 6 8 4-6 40.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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