By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — Piqua came into the WPTW Holiday Classic looking to right the ship.
And the Indians did that in a big way, making a little history.
Piqua came in to the tournament with a record of 1-6, but after rallying to beat Bethel in the tournament opener Friday, got past Troy Christian 54-44 in the championship game Saturday.
The two teams had met in the championship game the last three years and it was the second straight title for Piqua.
It is the first time Piqua has won back-to-back titles in the tournament and is just the Indians fourth title in the 12 years of the tournament.
Piqua freshman Dre’Sean Roberts also made history, becoming the first freshman to win tournament MVP honors.
After scoring 13 points against Bethel Friday, he followed it with a 16-point effort against Troy Christian on Saturday — sparking Piqua in key moments.
Joining him on the all-tournament team were teammates Kameron Darner and Garrett Schrubb, Izaak Framton, Troy Christian; Luke Frantz, Lehman Catholic; and Nick Schmidt, Bethel.
The WPTW scholarship winners were Cameron Foster, Piqua; Brendan O’Leary, Lehman Catholic; Nick Schmidt, Bethel; and Nathan Waltz, Troy Christian.
Piqua swept the tournament, also defeating Troy Christian in the JV championship game.
Troy Christian 44
It was a tight game throughout as 8-2 Troy Christian — a Division IV program — stepped up to battle Division I Piqua.
The Eagles were within two at 40-38 with 7:40 remaining after three by Framtom, but Piqua outscored them 14-6 the rest of the way.
Iverson Ventura immediately answered with a three for the Indians and Keagan Patton added two free throws.
Devon Sever added a basket and Roberts hit two free throws to make it 49-39.
Schrubb added a three with 2:45 remaining to make it 52-39 and erase any doubt.
The game started with Framton and Darner exchanging threes and it was back and forth the rest of the way.
Ventura hit a three to put Piqua up 16-13, before Brady Clawson hit a bucket to make it 16-15 going to the second quarter.
Piqua was trailing 21-18 late in the second quarter when Dylan Chaney hit a free throw and Roberts scored on a steal to tie it 21-21.
It looked like they would go to the locker room that way, but Troy Christian’s Connor Peters was fouled on a 60-foot desperation shot with one second to go and hit two of the three free throws to put the Eagles up 23-21.
The game was closely contested throughout the third quarter before Darner hit two free throws to put Piqua up 38-35 going to the fourth quarter. The Indians would take the momentum early in the fourth quarter and go on to win.
Roberts led Piqua with 16 points, while Darner scored 12, Ventura had eight, Patton scored seven and Schrubb netted six.
Framton led Troy Christian with 11 points, while Clawson added eight and Schemmel scored seven.
Lehman Catholic 52,
Bethel got off to another fast start, but Lehman would settle down and eventually lead most of the way.
A basket by Cannon Dakin and two 3-pointers by Ethan Rimkus gave the Bees and early 8-1 lead.
Schmidt added a three to make it 11-3, but Lehman would score the final 10 points of the quarter to go up 13-11.
Michael McFarland had five points in the run, David Rossman hit a three and Frantz scored at the buzzer to give Lehman the lead.
O’Leary opened the second quarter scoring to make it a 12-0 run, but the game was even 20-20 late in the second quarter.
Frantz closed the half with two 3-pointers on his way to scoring a 2019 tournament-high 27 points to give Lehman a 26-20 lead at the break.
Lehman led throughout the third quarter, but a three by Mason Brown cut the Cavaliers led to 36-34 going to the fourth quarter.
The Bees stayed close for most of the fourth quarter and were down just 47-44 with 1:20 to play.
Justin Chapman hit three of four free throws down the stretch and Frantz added two to seal the win.
McFarland and Chapman both had seven points for the Cavaliers and O’Leary added six.
Rimkus led Bethel with 12 points.
Dakin scored nine, Schmidt netted seven and Will Reittinger added six.
Contact Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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