Piqua hoop team goes 11-5 in 1944-45

Duane Bachman

Duane Bachman



“Starting off their 1944-45 basketball season in winning style were the Central High Indians as they clicked 27 to 19 Friday night at the Field House, defeating the Covington Buccaneers. While the Tribe was playing their first game, the Covington netters were taking to the court for the sixth time this season, but despite experience to back them up, were unable to find the center of the ring, to take a substantial lead, trailing 17 to 9 at the half. In addition to being the initial 1944-45 appearance, it was also Coach G.P. Wertz first in about 10 years, as head basketball coach for Piqua Central. Playing a rough and tumble game, the Piqua High Indians succeeded in tearing apart the squad from Dayton Kiser Friday night at the Field House to chalk up their second of the 1944-45 basketball season, winning 30 to 18. Both teams turned the court into a football field with 19 fouls being called on Kiser, Piqua committing only five, and in collecting on eight free throws , while Kiser scored on two.”

“Starting out to be what fans believed to be a lop-sided run-of-the mill game, the basketball game between Piqua Central and West Milton Saturday night at the Field House turned out to be one of the most exciting contests played on that floor this season, the befuddled Indians sweating out a 38 to 30 victory. One of the most thrilling and spectacular games ever played by two undefeated teams in these parts was staged Friday night at Bellefontaine, the Piqua High Indians winning 26 to 24 in a game with an anti-climax. The thrill of the game came in the last few seconds when Bellefontaine’s Dearwester swished a basket through the net as the gun went off, tying the score. However, the referee’s whistle had blown a second before calling a foul, which canceled the basket.”

“Starting the 1945 season off with a real thriller, the Central High Indians lost 28 to 27 in a heart-breaking overtime battle with the Urbana five at the Field House Friday. Last night’s defeat marks the Tribe’s first this season, but they took it standing up, the Urbana quintet being forced to fight furiously for their one point winning, which was made when Evilsizor took a pot shot from near the half way mark on the hardwood which swished the net for the winners. After suffering their first reversal Friday night at the Field House, the Central High quintet came back Saturday evening at Bradford to defeat the Railroaders 39 to 27.”

“Piqua was ahead 38 to 36 with seconds to go in the last quarter. Hole, a Greenville guard, stood at the half-way mark on the floor and flipped the ball in, without even touching the rim of the basket. The buzzer sounded and the game was tied 38 to 38. The crowd went wild! The coaches couldn’t sit still on the benches, but the players walked calmly into their huddles to plan their overtime action. The ball was again in motion—Piqua took the tip-off and Cruse swished the net! Greenville’s Pequiqnot and Buchy followed through for five more points in quick succession, giving the visitors a 43 to 40 edge. Piquads started pulling on their coats, the game was lost—but the Indians had different ideas, for Winans was awarded a foul shot that he made count, and Buck Wertz, the coach’s son, aimed for the basket twice and both times was deadly for the Indian win.”

“The Piqua Central High Indians are of but one school of thought today, and that is that the Sidney Yellow Jackets were underrated, for Friday night in the Sidney gym then handed the Tribe their first MVL defeat this season, blanking them from the win column, 40 to 32. Their defeat didn’t come as too much of surprise to the local lads, for they have been letting down in practices all week, but despite the letdown were doubly anxious to win last night, first to cop another league win and second, because it was Bill Cruse’s (Indian guard) last game for Piqua Central as he was graduated at the semester and expects to enter the army soon. Again the Piqua Indians are basking in the limelight with a trifle more optimistic outlook toward the Miami Valley League crown, for they copped a fairly easy win over the Miamisburg Vikings Friday night at the Field House, defeating the visitors 42 to 31. It was a tight squeeze Friday night on the Xenia Central basketball floor for the Central High Indians, but they made it their 42 to 40 victory over the Bucs, being saved by the bell, which sounded a split second before a Xenia player swished the net with a basket that would have tied the score if he’d found his opening a half second sooner. Last night’s game was another of those thrilling contests which have characterized the Indians play all season, but this time the local fans were spared the chills and breathtaking suspense for only those old faithfuls, Don Brown and Jim Ostendorf, Principal Robert Winner, who tote around a handful of high school boys, and Coach Wertz’s wife, who goes along for luck were sitting in the bleachers. The majority of car owners couldn’t stretch their gasoline rations to the distant city.”

“The Piqua-Troy game will be the main topic of conversation around the Miami Valley League until next Friday when the two arch rivals meet for the playoff at the Van Cleve gym in Troy since the Piqua Indians won the right to challenge Troy’s earlier league lead when they narrowly eeked out a 39 to 37 victory over Dayton Fairmont Friday night at the Field House. It was truly a fight to the finish last night with both teams battling it out until the last few seconds when Buck Wertz dropped in the tying foul and miraculously followed through with the winning basket from outside the foul line.”

“The 1945 Miami Valley League champion was crowned Friday night on the Troy basketball court when a deserving Troy Hi quintet, only once beaten in the current season, destroyed the Piqua Central Indians title hopes, winning 46 to 36. Since so much was at stake in this contest, an advantageous lead to the Piqua Call-Troy News trophy in addition to the MVL crown, it was expected that there would be a little rough play on the part of both teams, and so it was, with Winans and Blackmore, rival centers, going out of the game in the fourth quarter on fouls, two other players for Piqua and Troy being tossed out because of a fist fight, and a couple remaining in with only one foul to go.”

“The Piqua High Indians were breathing down the necks of the Big Seven Dayton Chaminade in the Townsend Memorial game Wednesday night at the Field House when they tied the Chaminade squad 29 all in fourth quarter and lost 31 to 28 in the closing few seconds of the overtime.”

“In their first round of play in the Class A Southwestern Ohio district tournament Thursday night in the Dayton Coliseum, the Piqua High Indians knocked off the Oakwood Lumberjacks, 34 to 22, and will again move into the limelight Saturday evening when the meet Hamilton Public at 8 o’clock. The Piqua –Oakwood tilt last night was not marked by good basketball by either side, but rather it was a case of both teams putting their worst foot forward, Pete Lawrence perhaps playing the smoothest ball for Piqua in the last quarter when he dropped in seven points to give the Indians a substantial lead.

“Losing their district tournament hope to Hamilton 40 to 30, the Piqua Indians played their last game in the 1944-45 season and five senior members of the squad saw their last cage action for Piqua Central last Saturday night in Dayton. The senior boys who will not see action for Piqua next year include Dick Bridgman, Bill Cruse, Stut Smith, Ted Gray and Leroy Thompson. The Indians won 11 games out of 16 and tied for second place in the Miami Valley League.”

Duane Bachman
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2016/01/web1_bachmanmug.jpgDuane Bachman