By Rob Kiser
For the Piqua boys basketball team, it is a scenario that has played out too many times this year.
And it did one more time Friday night.
A bad first half —followed by a great comeback — only to be unable to finish at the end when the opportunity was there to win.
This time, it came at Tippecanoe High School, where the Indians dropped a 73-68 decision to the Red Devils — which doesn’t really reflect how close the Indians were to having a chance at win.
Instead, Piqua drops to 7-11 overall and 4-7 in GWOC American play, while Tippecanoe improved to 11-7 overall and 6-5 in GWOC American play.
After rallying from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to tie the game, before falling behind again.
Piqua again rallied and a four-point possession tied the game at 67 with 2:09 remaining.
First, as Quirri Tucker was going in for a layup, Tipp was called for an intentional foul.
Tucker made one of two free throws, then Devon Brown had a 3-point play to tie the game at 67.
After a steal by Tucker at the 1:35 mark, Piqua stepped on the baseline with the ball to give it back to Tipp with 1:25 to go.
The Red Devils Cade Gingerich was fouled as he went up for a rebound with 59.1 seconds to go — as the Red Devils had make a living on second and third opportunities at the offensive end all night.
With 59.1 seconds to go, he sank two free throws.
Piqua ran the clock down under 20 seconds, but a long three was off the mark.
Josh Wildermuth grabbed the rebound and fired a length of the court pass to Noah Bledsoe to put Tipp up 71-68 with 12 seconds to go.
After Hayden Schrubb made one of two free throws, Tipp added two meaningless free throws with 2.3 seconds to go for the final margin.
Tipp had jumped out to 9-0 and 11-2 leads in the first half, with the Red Devils scoring of five of their first six possessions.
When Schrubb hit a three with 6:21 remaining in the half, Piqua was back within 23-19.
But, just as quickly, Tipp went on a 15-4 run to open a 38-23 lead, with Wildermuth scoring 13 points in the opening two quarters and Piqua could only close within 41-29 by halftime.
The Indians started the third quarter with an 18-6 run to tie the game at 47 with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Tucker had eight points in the run, while Brown and Ben Schmiesing had four each.
Tipp answered with the next seven points and took a 56-51 lead to the fourth quarter.
Piqua found itself down by as much as eight in the fourth quarter, before coming up short after rallying to tie the game.
Brown led Piqua with 24 points.
Tucker had 18 points and Schmiesing added 15 points and eight rebounds.
Wildermuth led Tipp with 25 points.
Caiden Smith had 15 points and seven rebounds, Tyler Skaggs had 10 points and eight rebounds and Ben Sauls and Noah Bledose both scored eight.
Piqua was 27 of 54 from the floor for 50 percent and seven of 11 from the line for 64 percent.
Tipp was 26 of 60 from the floor for 43 percent and 18 of 25 from the line for 72 percent.
Tipp won the battle of the boards 32-25 and had 11 turnovers to Piqua’s 12.
Devon Brown 10-2-24, Cory Cotrell 1-0-2, Hayden Schrubb 1-1-4, Qurri Tucker 7-1-18, Ben Schmiesing 6-3-15, Trey Richmond 0-0-0, Mick Karn 2-0-5, Xian Harrison 0-0-0. Totals: 27-7-68.
Cade Gingerich 1-2-4, Caiden Smith 6-3-15, Josh Wildermuth 8-8-25, Ben Sauls 3-2-8, Noah Bledsoe 4-0-8, Tyler Skaggs 3-2-10, Zach Losey 1-1-3. Totals: 26-18-73.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Brown (2), Schrubb, Tucker (3), Karn. Tippecanoe: Wildermuth, Skaggs (2).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 11 29 51 68
Tippecanoe 19 41 56 73
Records: Piqua 7-11 (4-7), Tippecane 11-7 (6-5).