By Rob Kiser
XENIA — Sometimes, the game just doesn’t end the way it should have.
And that’s exactly how Heath Butler felt about the Piqua boys basketball team’s heartbreaking loss to Xenia Friday night in GWOC American action.
The Indians — who led almost the entire game, saw a potential victory go down the drain when Kobe Hughlett drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bucs to a 77-75 win over the Indians on Hall of Fame night at Xenia.
Piqua dropped to 3-8 overall and 2-6 in the GWOC American play, while Xenia improved to 6-5 overall and 3-4 in GWOC American play.
“It is a great life lesson,” Butler said. “That is the great thing about the game of basketball — it teaches you life lessons. We did everything right to get the win, but we didn’t get the reward at the end.”
But, Butler was certainly not discouraged by the outcome.
“I think this was one of our best basketball games,” he said. “We just continue to get better.”
And it was a wild final minute.
Two free throws by Hayden Schrubb with 5:53 to go gave Piqua a 63-51 lead, before Xenia rallied.
Ricky Williams, who had just four free throws going to the final eight minutes, scored 16 of Xenia’s 28 points in the final quarter. He made all six of his field goal attempts, including two threes from beyond 25 feet.
“A couple of those were deep,” Butler said. “There is nothing you can do about that.”
His third three of the quarter tied the game at 65 with 2:50 to go.
Baskets by Samari Curtis and Meechi Harris gave Xenia a 69-66 lead, but Piqua wasn’t done.
A free throw by Nate Monnin and two by Caleb Patton tied the game at 69 with 1:22 to go.
As Xenia tried to hold the ball, Ben Schmiesing leaped, knocked a pass away and scored at the other end to put Piqua up 71-69 with 51 seconds to go.
“That was a huge play by Ben (Schmiesing),” Butler said. “He made big plays like that all game.”
Then Scrubb was fouled with 29.9 seconds to go and calmly sank both free throws to give Piqua a 73-69 lead.
“Those were clutch,” Butler said.
With 23.9 seconds to go, Williams hit his fourth three of the quarter to make it 73-72.
After Monnin hit one of two free throws with 23.2 seconds left, Curtis scored at the other end on a drive to tied it at 74 with four seconds to go.
“I think the one thing is our middle got a little soft at times,” Butler said. “It is easy to get spread out in a game like this and then they are able to attack the middle.”
Xenia fouled Schmiesing on the inbounds with 11.7 seconds to go and he made one of two free throws to make it 75-74, setting up Hughlett’s game-winner.
“We hit a free throw to take the lead,” Butler said. “The kid drained a three in the corner with a hand in his face. What can you do?”
Schmiesing led the Piqua cause with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Monnin had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Patton had his second straight big game with 15 points, Schrubb grabbed 12 rebounds and Devon Brown scored 11 points, all in the first half. All of those are reasons for Butler to be encouraged.
“They are growing and getting better with each game,” he said.
Curtis, just a sophomore, had 25 points and eight rebounds for Xenia.
Williams added 20 points, Hughlett scored 10 and Harris had nine points and five rebounds.
Piqua was 24 of 46 from the floor for 52 percent and 17 of 24 from the line for 71 percent.
Xenia was 27 of 62 from the floor for 44 percent and 13 of 18 from the line for 72 percent.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 37-25, but had 22 turnovers to Xenia’s nine.
“I know everybody wants to measure you on wins and losses” Butler said. “But, if people look back to the Trotwood-Madison game, we are on a roll right now. We are getting better with every game and that’s what it is about. We just have to continue to get better with every game.”
Caleb Patton 5-2-15, Hayden Schrubb 1-4-6, Gage Smith 1-0-3, Ben Schmiesing 8-4-22, Nate Monnin 4-5-15, Devon Brown 4-2-11, Nick Rigola 1-0-3. Totals: 24-17-75.
Kobe Hughlett 4-1-10, Teandre’ Adams 0-0-0, Brandon Love 3-0-8, Meechie Harris 3-3-9, Ricky Williams 6-4-20, Jay Evans 0-0-0, Samari Curtis 9-4-25, Onoriode Uloho 2-1-5, Jamille Henderson 0-0-0, Kai Johnson 0-0-0. Totals: 27-13-77.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Patton (3), Smith, Schmiesing (2), Monnin (2), Brown, Rigola. Xenia: Hughlett, Love (2), Williams (4), Curtis (3).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 18 37 58 75
Xenia 15 36 49 77
Records: Piqua 3-8 (2-6), Xenia 6-5 (3-4).
ST. MARYS — While how they got their was a little different, Piqua’s loss to St. Marys Saturday was just as heartbreaking.
After getting down by as many as 17 in the first half and still trailing by 12 going to the fourth quarter, Piqua took the lead in the final seconds, only to have St. Marys make a shot at the buzzer for a 56-55 win in non-conference action.
Two Ben Schmiesing free throws had given Piqua a 55-54 lead with 4.3 seconds to go.
But after St. Marys missed a desperation shot from midcourt, Derek Jay grabbed the rebound and put it in all in one motion as the buzzer sounded to give the Roughriders the win.
A three by Gage Smith with 34 seconds to go had given Piqua its first lead of 53-52, before Ethan Mielke answered with a basket to put St. Marys in front.
Piqua missed two shots on its final possesion, but got three offensive rebounds, the last by Schmiesing, who was fouled.
He hit two clutch free throws before Jay spoiled the comeback with another heartbreaker.
Schmiesing had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead Piqua, while Nate Monnin also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Smith scored 11 points.
Jay had 24 points for St. Marys and Jacob Grannan added 12.
Piqua was 18 of 49 from the floor for 37 percent and 13 of 22 from the line for 59 percent.
St. Marys was 23 of 43 from the floor for 53 percent and three of 10 from the line for 30 percent.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 27-23 and both teams had nine turnovers.
Caleb Patton 2-2-7, Hayden Schrubb 0-0-0, Gage Smith 4-0-11, Nate Monnin 5-0-11, Ben Schmiesing 4-9-17, Xion Harrison 0-0-0, Devon Brown 2-2-6, Nick Rigola 1-0-3, JJ Rohrbach 0-0-0. Totals: 18-13-55.
St. Marys (56)
Jacob Grannan 6-0-12, Austin Wilker 2-1-6, Drew Jacobs 0-1-1, Colin Clements 2-0-4, Derek Jay 9-0-24, Sam Young 0-0-0, Branden Dunlap 0-0-0, Ethan Mielke 4-1-9. Totals: 23-3-56.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Patton, Smith (3), Monnin, Rigola. St. Marys: Wilker, Jay (6).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 6 22 34 55
St. Marys 19 35 46 56
Records: Piqua 3-9, St. Marys 5-7.