By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe boys basketball coach Adam Toohey couldn’t help but smile when asked about the possibilities when senior guard Nolan Mader returns to the lineup.
The 6-foot-4 senior, who is out with a stress fracture, averaged 18.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a year ago and was considered by most to be the top returning player in the Miami Valley League.
“That is kind of the dream scenario,” Toohey said. “That would be kind of like Christmas.”
But, don’t feel too bad for Toohey and the Red Devils until Mader does return.
As they showed in a 65-48 win over Piqua Tuesday night, the Red Devils are a pretty good team already.
Tippecanoe improved to 3-1 with the win and 2-1 in the Miami Valley League Miami Division, while Piqua dropped to 0-3 overall and in the MVL Miami.
“Ben Knostman and Zach Frederick are really playing well after a year of varsity experience,” Toohey said. “Griffin Caldwell and some other guys have all really stepped up.”
For Piqua coach Steve Grasso, it was another tough night on the hardwood.
“Until we start doing the little things, we are not going to be successful,” Grasso said. “And we did that tonight. We can’t be missing layups and giving up points in transition, not boxing out. We have to start doing all the little things.”
Piqua scored the opening basket on a putback by Iverson Ventura, and Keagan Patton and Riley Hill added baskets to keep Piqua within 7-6.
But two baskets by Knostman, with a 3-pointer by Caldwell sandwiched in-between, jumped the lead to 14-6, and Tippecanoe just built the lead from there over the next three quarters.
“We wanted to come out and get off to a good start, playing at home,” Toohey said.
The Red Devils did that at both ends of the floor.
On offense, Tippecanoe made good decisions all night.
“We have talked about shot selection a lot,” Toohey said. “The coaches talk to the players about that and the players recognize when they take a bad shot. When you have eight guys out there doing make (taking good shots), that works out pretty well.”
And the Red Devils were able to frustrated Piqua when the Indians had the ball.
“We have worked really hard on defense,” Toohey said. “We lost our opener against Stebbins and we gave up a lot of points. And even when we beat Tecumseh, we gave up a lot of points.”
For Grasso, it was just a frustrating night.
“When you come down and miss layups, then you are not in position in transition on defense,” he said. “We can’t do those kind of things.”
With Knostman scoring 11 points in the opening half and Frederick adding 10 — including two 3s — Tipp increased its leads to 37-22 at halftime.
Frederick then scored five quick points to start the second half and make it 42-22, and the Red Devils cruised from there.
Tippecanoe led 58-29 after three quarters.
Frederick paced the Red Devils with 20 points.
Knostman added 15 and Gavin Garitz tallied nine.
Piqua freshman Dre’Sean Roberts scored 10 points — all in the fourth quarter — and Hill added nine points, while Jerell Lewis scored nine.
Tippecanoe will travel to West Carrollton Friday, while Piqua hosts Xenia Friday before traveling to Tecumseh Saturday.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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