Call Sports Editor
Piqua boys basketball coach Heath Butler understands the importance of Friday night’s GWOC North opener with Vandalia-Butler at Garbry Gymnasium.
“There is no doubt (protecting the home floor is important),” Butler said. “We know we are going to have to do down to Vandalia later in the year and play in a tough environment.”
The Aviators have a new coach and are coming into the game with a 1-3 record.
They are led by Jalen Paige, a 5-8 senior averaging more than 20 points per game.
“He was one of the top point guards in the area and one of the leading scorers in the GWOC in the early going,” Butler said. “They will try to control the tempo and break you down fundamentally. They are coming off a loss to Wayne Tuesday. I think they are like us. They are ready to get started with conference game. They also have a 6-5 guy who can control things in the middle, so we have to be aware of him.”
Piqua is coming off a 90-33 loss to Centerville, after a 71-41 win over Wapakoneta to open the season.
Colton Bachman is leading the Indians averaging 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, while Storm Cook is averaging 9.5 points 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Daniel Monnin is leading the Indians on the boards with seven rebounds per game.
Butler feels like the final score with Centerville was a little deceiving.
“We felt like we played pretty well for two and-a half quarters,” Butler said. “The difference was Centerville made shots and we didn’t. We learned some things defensively and we were standing around too much on offense — we worked on that this week.”
Piqua’s game with Springfield Tuesday was postponed.
“The kids really wanted to play Tuesday,” Butler said. “We had a good practice (Tuesday) and then had our best practice of the season tonight (Wednesday). We have one more day to have another good practice before the game.”
Piqua hopes to play more of an uptempo game against Butler.
“What we want to do is control the tempo and play at the tempo we want to play at, whatever that may be,” Butler said. “We don’t want a game in the 30s — because we feel like we have a number of athletes who can put points on the board.”
Piqua will follow that game with its second road game of the season Tuesday, playing Stebbins.
The CBC Indians are 2-2 and led by 6-foot senior guard Malik Thurman, who is averaging 16 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Six-foot junior Ja’Quan Dangerfield and 5-7 senior Isiah Fancher both average in double figures as well.
“They play in a small gym and they like to use that to their advantage,” Butler said. “They will come out with all different kinds of pressure. I am not saying any of these games are easy games. But, this is when we got on a little bit of a roll last year. We want to come out and beat Butler Friday and just ride that momentum.”
This Friday night will be “Rally Towel” night.
Each person who attends this Friday’s game will get a “Rally Towel” if they bring a canned food item.
The canned foods will be donated to the Bethany Center.
Rally Towels will also be available for purchase.