By Rob Kisew
The Piqua boys basketball team had a tough assignment in Steve Grasso’s debut as coach — with a strong Wapakoneta team visiting.
And while the Indians overcame a slow start to hang with the Redskins for a half, Wapakoneta would eventually pull away for a 62-38 victory Friday night at Garbry Gymnasium.
Wapakoneta scored the games first 12 points to put Piqua in an early hole.
Nick Schoonover and Aaron Good had five points each in the run and Adam Scott added two points inside.
Following a Piqua timeout at the 3:02 mark, Scott scored again to make it 14-0.
But, Ben Schmiesing broke the ice, scoring five quick points to get Piqua within 16-5 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Piqua would limit Wapakoneta to just three field goals — threes by Schoonover and Brady Erb and a basket by Gage Schenck.
At the same time, Piqua was able to get some easy baskets in transition and cut into the deficit.
Devon Brown started a 7-0 Piqua run with three points and Qurri Tucker scored two straight baskets to get Piqua within 19-12.
After Schoonover’s three, Schmiesing scored off an assist from Tucker.
After Schenck scored to make it 24-14, Brown hit one of two free throws to cut the deficit to 24-15.
Then, Cory Cottrell drilled a three at the buzzer to get Piqua within 24-18 at the break.
The Indians were still witin 29-22 midway through the third quarter after Hayden Schrubb scored on a drive to the basket and Schmiesing added a basket.
But, Scott scored inside and Schoonover and Good hit threes and suddenly it was 37-22.
Piqua trailed 39-27 after three quarters and Wapakoneta would pull away in the fourth quarter for the win.
Schmiesing led Piqua with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Tucker scored eight points and Brown had seven points and six rebounds.
Schoonover led a balanced Wapak attack with 15 points.
Good had 13 points and eight rebounds, while Scott had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Schenck added 10 points.
Piqua was 14 of 40 from the floor and just eight of 19 from the line.
Wapakoneta was 23 of 55 from the floor and the Redskins hit all nine of their free throw attempts.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 27-26, but had 13 turnovers to Wapak’s five.
The Indians will have a double weekend next weekend, playing Vandalia-Butler Friday and Milton-Union Saturday.
Gage Schenck 3-4-10, Nick Schoonover 6-0-15, Aaron Good 4-3-13, Reed Merricle 1-0-3, Adam Scott 6-0-12, Brady Erb 1-0-3, Ryan Carrico 2-0-4, Travis Raines 0-2-2, Noah Ambos 0-0-0, Nate Ambos 0-0-0. Totals: 23-9-62.
Nick Rigola 0-1-1, Devon Brown 1-5-7, Hayden Schrubb 1-0-2, Quirry Tucker 4-0-8, Ben Schmiesing 6-2-15, Cory Cottrell 1-0-3, Trey Richmond 0-0-0, Xian Harrison 1-0-2, Logan Copsey 0-0-0, Zach Tillman 0-0-0. Totals: 14-8-38.
3-point field goals — Wapakoneta: Schoonover (3), Good (2), Merricle, Erb. Piqua: Schmiesing, Cottrell.
Score By Quarters
Wapakoneta 16 24 39 62
Piqua 5 18 27 38
Records: Piqua 0-1, Wapakoneta 1-0.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.