By Rob Kiser
WEST MILTON — It wasn’t perfect by any means.
But, Piqua boys basketball coach Steve Grasso was happy to get his first win with the Indians program.
And, while Mitch Westerheide is still looking for his with Milton-Union, he saw a lot of positives as well after Piqua outpointed the Bulldogs by 10 points in each half in a 61-41 win.
While Piqua stretched a 12-8 first quarter to 31-21 at half, Grasso was completely satisified.
“If you look at the free throws and shots we missed, we could have easily been ahead by 20,” Grasso said. “But, it is good to get a win.”
And you don’t need to tell Westerheide about missed free throws — the Bulldogs missed 16 in the game.
“We missed 13 in the first half alone,” Westerheide said. “But, we came out and we were aggressive. I liked that about our time tonight.”
The big story in the second quarter was Piqua junior Qurri Tucker.
He hit five of six shots from the floor — including three 3-pointers — and scored 15 of Piqua’s 19 second quarter points.
“We went zone,” Westerheide said. “When you do that, you have to find the shooter.”
Tucker, a first-year starter, has picked up his offense with each game.
“Qurri (Tucker) was one of the guys that has been at just about everything we have done since I took over the program,” Grasso said. “He is a talented player. He has worked hard and it is great to see.”
Piqua scored the first four points of the third quarter on a Nick Rigola basket and steal by Tucker.
But, Milton-Union went on a 10-2 run to get within 37-31 midway through the quarter.
William Morris had five points in that run and Ryan Moore’s basket closed the gap to 37-31.
“We had a couple guys who had good third quarters,” Westerheide said. “We were within six at one point. But, you have to play four quarters.”
Ben Schmiesing hit two of four free throws and Hayden Schrubb hit a three — he hit four on the weekend to start to get untracked scoring wise.
That took the lead to 42-31 and two baskets by Cory Cottrell — the first off a Schmiesing assist — made it 46-33 going to the fourth quarter and Milton could never get it back to single digits.
“Hayden (Schrubb) is an outstanding athlete,” Grasso said. “Devon (Brown) can do a lot of things athletically. And Ben (Schmiesing) is such a great guy as well as being a great player.”
Tucker had 21 points, while Schmiesing had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Brown scored 11 points and Trey Richmond grabbed eight rebounds.
Morris led Milton-Union with 10 points.
Daniel Allbaugh scored eight and Moore and Aaron Stone both had six.
Piqua was 23 of 51 from the floor for 45 percent and 10 of 22 from the line for 45 percent. The Indians have yet to shoot 50 percent from the line for a game.
“We just have to keep working on that,” Grasso said. “That (make free throws) is something good teams do.”
Milton-Union was 15 of 40 from the floor for 38 percent, but just eight of 24 from the line for 33 percent.
“We will go to work on it in practice and it will be different next time,” Westerheide said.
Piqua dominated the boards 38-23 and had 14 turnovers to Milton-Union’s 17.
Piqua, 1-2, will host Tippecanoe Tuesday, while Milton-Union, 0-4, travels to Middletown Madison Tuesday.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.