By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
The Piqua boys basketball team roster has seen a few changes to the lineup since the start of the season.
And the Indians are starting to come together, picking up their fifth win in seven games and fourth in the last five with a 68-62 win over West Carollton Tuesday night in GWOC American play.
Piqua is now 5-6 overall and 2-5 in GWOC North action, while West Carrollton is 2-10 overall and 0-6 in GWOC American play.
The changes have come both from injuries — and players emerging.
Seniors Qurri Tucker, Trey Richmond and Mick Karn have been key components all season.
Senior Zach Tillman and sophomore Garrett Schrubb have emerged with increased playing time, while Kameron Darner is gaining valuable experience as a sophomore and role players Zack Lavey and Makeegan Kuhn have improved as well.
“We had some injuries,” Piqua coach Steve Grasso said. “And you want to get your best athletes out there on the floor. I know Kameron (Darner) only score one point tonight, but he handled the ball against their pressure all night.”
Against West Carrollton, it was more of the same formula.
Piqua opened leads of 19-14 after one quarter and 39-29 at halftime, shooting a torrid 67 percent from the floor on 16 of 24 shooting.
Tucker and Tillman led the way with 15 and 10 points respectively.
Then, Schrubb opened the third quarter with his second and third 3-pointers of the game as Piqua’s lead grew to as much as 13.
But, this is not your typical West Carrollton team of recent years.
James Hall scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Pirates closed within 54-50.
When Kalen McKinney hit a three and Jye’Ton Howard hit a jumper, West Carrollton led 55-54 with 6:33 remaining.
“This is not your typical West Carrollton team,” Grasso said. “The coaching staff comes from Trotwood and they brought a few athletes with them. You saw some big dunks and their athleticism tonight.”
Baskets by Tucker, Karn and Tillman had Piqua leading 60-57 when a big turning point occurred with 3:22 remaining.
West Carrollton was hit with technical foul.
Tucker hit both free throws and was fouled on Piqua’s possession and hit two more to make it 64-57 with 3:03 remaining.
The Pirtate got back within 65-62 at the 37.6 second mark on a three by Hall, but Richmond hit two free throws with 23.9 seconds remaining to get the win.
“We handled that situation (losing the lead) really well,” Grasso said. “This was a good win for us.”
Tucker led the Indians with 24 points, while Schrubb had 14 points and five rebounds and Tillman also scored 14 points.
Richmond added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The West Carrollton attack was balanced as well.
Hall finished with 15 points — 13 in the second half — and five rebounds.
McKinney had 14 points and five rebounds and Ryan Brown Jr. also scored 14 points.
Howard added 11 points and Jordan Ward grabbed six rebounds.
Piqua was 24 of 41 from the floor for 58 percent and 15 of 20 from the. line for 75 percent.
West Carrollton was 27 of 65 from the. floor for 41 percent and six of 14 from the line for 43 percent.
The Pirates won the battle of the boards 26-24 and had eight turnovers to Piqua’s 17.
Piqua will look to continue its winning ways this weekend, playing at Xenia Friday and hosting Elida Saturday.
“We are playing well, the future is bright,” Grasso said.
As the Indians showed again Tuesday night.
West Carrollton (62)
Jye’Ton Howard 5-1-11, James Hall 6-2-15, Austin Jones 3-0-6, Ryan Brown Jr. 6-2-14, Kalen McKinney 6-1-14, Jordan Ward 1-0-2, Jaymar Miller 0-0-0, Tristan Dillon 0-0-0. Totals: 27-6-62.
Qurri Tucker 7-9-24, Kameron Darner 0-1-1, Trey Richmond 3-4-10, Garrett Schrubb 5-1-14, Zach Tillman 7-0-14, Mick Karn 2-0-5, Zack Lavey 0-0-0, Makeegan Kuhn 0-0-0. Totals: 24-15-68.
3-point field goals — West Carrollton: Hall, McKinney. Piqua: Tucker, Schrubb (3), Karn.
Score By Quarters
West Carrollton 14 29 50 62
Piqua 19 39 54 68
Records: West Carrollton 2-10 (0-6), Piqua 5-6 (2-5).
Reserve score: Piqua 77, West Carrollton 74 OT.