By Rob Kiser
CLAYTON — Piqua boys basketball coach Heath Butler knew the kind of effort his team would need to get a win at Northmont Tuesday night in GWOC North action.
And for the final 16 minutes, Butler got exactly that.
But, the damage was done in the early going, as Northmont held on for a 66-58 victory in GWOC crossover action at Northmont High School.
“We came out really flat,” Butler said. “But, that said, I couldn’t have been prouder of the way the kids battled back. It would have been easy to pack it in, play a quick final two quarters get on the bus and go home and they didn’t do that.”
Northmont opened a 20-point lead early in the third quarter — and after Bradley Hohlbein and Colton Bachman had scored all 22 of Piqua’s first half points, the T-Bolts came out in a triangle-and two.
Piqua began to cut into the lead, but still trailed 46-33 going to the final eight minutes.
Derrick Gullett opened the fourth quarter with a three and when Hohlbein hit one with 4:41 to go, Piqua trailed just 50-42.
Caleb Patton, who hit two threes in the fourth quarter, tipped a miss to Ben Schmiesing in the closing minute and when Bachman hit a three, Piqua trailed just 63-58 with 22.3 seconds to go.
But Northmont, who made 10 of 14 from the line in the final quarter, hit one of two free throws, before a Piqua turnover allowed Northmont to put the game away.
“We were back within five,” Butler said. “They had a miss (free throw), but we had a costly turnover.”
The game had started with Piqua calling two timeouts before they could score, as Northmont jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first three minutes.
Jarell Taylor and Rodney Richardson had four points each and Jason Biggs hit a three for the T-Bots.
Northmont made it 13-0, before Hohlbein scored five points.
The T-Bolt sled 23-7 after one quarter and 36-22 at halftime before Piqua’s second-half comeback.
“Our focus was a little off,” Butler said. “On a Tuesday crossover against a good team, when you are not perfectly focused, that (the first half) is what can happen.”
Hohlbein led Piqua with 21 points, while Bachman added 17 points and five rebounds.
Butler was just as pleased with his role players.
Tyren Cox led Piqua on the boards with six rebounds.
“I thought Tyren (Cox) did a great job rebounding,” Butler said. “Brady Hill did a nice job on loose balls, Nash Black gave us some big minutes and Caleb Patton hit some big shots.”
Taylor had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Northmont, while Biggs added 17 points.
Piqua, 9-7, was 21 of 55 from the floor and five of 11 from the line, while Northmont, 9-7, was 24 of 55 from the floor and 12 of 18 from the line.
Both teams had 29 rebounds and Northmont had six turnovers to Piqua’s 11.
Piqua returns to action Friday, hosting Trotwood-Madison to start the second round of GWOC North play.
“We just have to get back after it and get ready to go for the crown against Trotwood-Madison Friday,” Butler said.
And he is confident his squad will be focused from the start.
Bradley Hohlbein 7-2-21, Derrick Gullett 2-0-6, Nate Monnin 0-0-0, CJ Davis 0-0-0, Colton Bachman 7-1-17, Tyren Cox 0-1-1, Ben Schmiesing 2-1-5, Caleb Patton 2-0-6, Nash Black 1-0-2, Brady Hill 0-0-0. Totals: 21-5-58.
Jarell Taylor 9-2-22, Myles Tanner 3-1-7, Rodney Richardson 3-2-8, Arius Spears 1-4-6, Jason Biggs 6-2-17, Jabari Perkins 1-1-4, Vinson Walker 1-0-2, Dalonte Capers 0-0-0. Totals: 24-12-66.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Hohlbein (5), Gullett (2), Bachman (2), Patton (2). Northmont: Taylor (2), Biggs (3), Perkins.
Score By Quarters
Piqua 7 22 33 58
Northmont 23 36 46 66
Records: Piqua 9-7, Northmont 9-7.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.