By Rob Kiser
The Piqua boys basketball team seemed to be on its way to a stunning upset of Sidney in GWOC American basketball action Friday night.
The Indians took a 37-22 lead to the locker room after playing one of their best halves of the season.
But, after a 20-minute halftime, all that momentum seemed to evaporate.
Sidney opened the second half on a 16-2 run and couldn’t be slowed, coming away with a 69-61 win over the Indians.
“We talked about that (the start of the third quarter) being an important segment of the game,” Piqua coach Steve Grasso said after his team dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in GWOC American play. Sidney is now 3-2 overall and 3-1 in GWOC American play. “The thing is, I didn’t’ think we were playing badly at the time. It is not like we were turning the ball over. We were getting layups and just missing them.”
Ratez Roberts scored all 14 of his points in the final two quarters, Andre Gordon hit a three to give Sidney its first lead at 45-44 late in the quarter and Josiah Hudgins was able to knock down two 3-pointers.
“They have one of the top players in the conference (Andre Gordon) and he can pick a team up,” Grasso said. “They had some other guys step up and hit shots. Number 23 (Josiah Hudgins hit some big shots). When a team goes on a run like that, you have to answer.”
To Piqua’s credit, they did early in the fourth quarter, going on a 6-0 run to take a 55-51 lead.
A Devon Brown basket on a Ben Schmiesing assist was sandwiched between two Schmiesing baskets and Piqua led with 5:45 to go.
But, after a Sidney timeout, the Jackets scored the next 12 points, including two dunks by Roberts and Piqua never recovered.
“The thing is, there are a lot of skills required in basketball,” Grasso said. “Beyond, shooting, passing and dribbling, you have to be able to finish games off. These guys have never been in a position to do that before. It is something we have to continue to work on.”
It wiped out what was another step in the right direction for Piqua, after a couple tough games to start the season.
The Indians outscored Sidney 23-10 in the second quarter to take a 37-22 halftime lead.
Schmiesing was a force inside with 14 points in the first half, while Brown scored 10 and Qurri Tucker had eight.
“We played really good basketball the first two quarters,” Grasso said.
Schmiesing finished with a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Brown had 18 points and seven rebounds.
Nick Rigola and Tucker both scored 10 and Hayden Schrubb pulled down seven rebounds.
Gordon led Sidney with 23 points.
Roberts had 14 points and Hudgins scored 10. Devan Rogers added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Piqua was 27 of 59 from the floor and four of nine from the line, while Sidney was 25 of 53 from the floor and 13 of 18 form the line.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 30-25, but had 13 turnovers to Sidney’s 12.
“We have played well the last two games,” Grasso said. “It is unfortunate we didn’t come away with wins. We are better than our record. But, when people see the GWOC website and ready the paper, I think we opened some eyes tonight.”
Which, hopefully, will eventually lead to some wins for the Indians, who travel to Greenville Tuesday.
Ryan Heins 1-3-6, Ratez Roberts 6-2-14, Andre Gordon 9-2-23, Devan Rogers 2-6-10, Josiah Hudgins 4-0-10, Darren Taborn 2-0-4, Trey Werntz 0-0-0, Keith Lee 1-0-2. Totals: 25-13-69.
Nick Rigola 4-1-10, Devon Brown 9-0-18, Hayden Schrubb 0-0-0, Qurri Tucker 4-1-10, Ben Schmiesing 9-2-21, Cory Cottrell 1-0-2, Trey Richmond 0-0-0. Totals: 27-4-61.
3-point field goals — Sidney: Heins, Gordon (3), Hudgins (2). Piqua: Rigola, Tucker, Schmiesing.
Score By Quarters
Sidney 12 22 47 69
Piqua 14 37 46 61
Records: Sidney 3-2 (3-1), Piqua 1-4 (0-3).
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.