By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — Figuring out how to put themselves in position to win a game has not been a problem for the Piqua boys basketball team.
Finishing has been another story.
And the same movie played again for Piqua basketball fans Friday night against, offsetting a spectacular shooting night by junior guard Qurri Tucker.
With 5:26 to go, Piqua found themselves in a 49-49 tie with Sidney.
Two-and-a half minutes later, they were staring at a 56-49 deficit, partially because the Indians were their own worst enemy in crunch time — and partially because Keith Lee came off the bench to give the Jackets a spark.
And Sidney went on to a 62-53 victory.
The Jackets kept themselves within one game of Vandalia-Butler in the GWOC American race, improving to 14-6 overall and 10-3 in GWOC American play; while Piqua fell to 8-12 overall and 5-8 in GWOC American play, with Greenville visiting Tuesday.
In Piqua’s next two possessions after the 49-49 tie, Lee knocked the ball away as Piqua was dribbling and scored at the other end and Sidney again slapped the ball away as Piqua tried to dribble between two defenders — with Lee making one of two free throws at the other end to make it 52-49.
Piqua then missed a layup off an inbounds pass, with Lee again scoring at the other end to make it 54-49.
After a Piqua timeout, the Indians again turned it over and Josiah Hudgins scored to give Sidney a 56-49 lead with 2:55 to go for an insurmountable advantage.
Ben Schmiesing scored to make it 56-51, but that was as close as Piqua could get.
Sidney had opened a 25-12 advantage midway through the second quarter with Devan Rogers hitting one three and Hudgins adding two in the early going and Ratez Roberts, returning from injury, scoring eight points off the bench in the second quarter.
But, Tucker hit all five of his field goal attempts in the opening half — and the last one, with 30 seconds to go, brought Piqua within 32-25 at the break.
The Indians then scored the first 10 points of the second half — drives to the basket by Devon Brown and Cory Cotrell sandwiched around threes by Schmiesing and Tucker — to take a 35-32 lead with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Sidney righted the ship, but Riley Hill’s second three of the game for Piqua tied it at 40 late in the third quarter.
Piqua picked up a technical foul after the shot — with Andre Gordon hitting both free throws with 35.7 seconds to go in the quarter — to go up 42-40 going to the fourth quarter.
The game was evenly played from there until Sidney took over down the stretch.
Tucker finished nine of 12 from the floor to lead Piqua with 20 points.
Schmiesing added nine points and nine rebounds.
Gordon paced Sidney with 20 points and nine reboounds, while Roberts scored 12 points and Hudgins added 11.
Rogers had eight points and nine rebounds and Lee scored seven points, all down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
Piqua was 21 of 43 from the floor for 49 percent and four of five from the line for 80 percent.
Sidney was 26 of 53 from the floor for 49 percent and five of 11 from the line for 45 percent.
Sidney won the battle of the boards 27-20 and had five turnovers to Piqua’s 10.
Devon Brown 3-0-6, Cory Cotrell 2-0-5, Hayden Schrubb 1-0-2, Qurri Tucker 9-0-20, Ben Schmiesing 3-2-9, Mick Karn 1-2-5, Riley Hill 2-0-6, Trey Richmond 0-0-0. Totals: 21-4-53.
Darren Taborn 2-0-4, Ryan Heins 0-0-0, Andre Gordon 8-2-20, Devan Rogers 3-1-8, Josiah Hudgins 4-1-11, Ratez Roberts 6-0-12, Keith Lee 3-1-7, Trey Wentz 0-0-0. Totals: 26-5-62.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Cotrell, Tucker (2), Schmiesing, Karn, Hill (2). Sidney: Gordon (2), Rogers, Hudgins (2).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 8 25 40 53
Sidney 16 32 42 62
Records: Piqua 8-12 (5-8), Sidney 14-6 (10-3).