By Rob Kiser
It is almost “Go Time”.
And Piqua boys basketball coach Steve Grasso can’t wait.
The Indians will kick off the season Friday, hosting Wapakoneta.
Piqua was a 64-53 loser on the road to the Redskins a year ago — Wapakoneta beat a strong Sidney team and went on to the district finals.
“My understanding is they had a real good team last year,” Grasso said. “They went to the district finals and they have a lot of those players back. They like to dribble drive and kick out for the three. It will be a tough game for us.”
Three names to remember for Piqua, were also standouts on the football team this fall and are all seniors.
Ben Schmiesing is a 6-foot-2 senior post who scored 35 points in one game last year and averaged 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. He provides a physical presence for the Indians inside.
Hayden Schrubb, another 6-2 senior, averaged four points and 4.5 rebounds a year ago, to go with 2.5 assists and can play anywhere from the point to inside.
Devon Brown is a 5-10 senior who averaged 6,8 points a year ago, scoring in double figures in four of the 12 games he played in.
Adding to that is Nick Rigola, a 6-2 senior with tremendous athletic ability and a deep bench.
“We have some high level athletes on this team,” Grasso said. “Some guys who are going to continue and play athletics at the next level once they are done at Piqua.”
Piqua has no problem with an uptempo style like Wapak likes to play — given that the Indians tallest player on the roster is 6-2.
“When you are athletic and not real tall, sometimes that (uptempo and fastbreak) can be the easiest way to score,” Grasso said. “So, I think that is something we are going to want to do.”
Grasso is happy with what he has seen so far.
“Definitely,” he said. “We have been solid for the most part. There were a couple scrimmages where we were missing key players who were taking college visits.”
And Grasso is happy to be opening the season at home.
“I remember my first game as a high school coach on the road on a Friday night,” he said. “The student section (for the other team) was right behind us and the pep band was blaring. The first game is usually an exciting time with a good crowd. So, it is great to be playing at home and have that advantage.”
As the Indians get it started.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.