By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — Piqua coach Steve Grasso chose to see the glass as half full.
And understandably so.
In the annual Hall of Fame game — in which Tami Gheen Delimpo, Antwan Jones, Bryan Magoteaux, Steve Magill , Kathy Purk Graeser and David Rolf were inducted into the Piqua Athletic Hall of Fame — the Indians played well for a half, before losing 77-56 to visiting West Carrollton in MVL action.
Piqua dropped to 7-11 overall and 5-9 in the MVL with the loss, while West Carrollton improved to 12-5 overall and 11-3 in the MVL with the win.
“We went 1-1 this week,” Grasso said. “We were coming off a big road win at Xenia Tuesday night. I feel really good about where we are at.”
The Indians were trailing the Pirates just 31-28 at halftime.
But, with MVL leading scorer Kalen McKinney scoring 16 of his 25 points in the second half, West Carrollton opened a 25-point lead early in the fourth quarter and went on to the victory.
“We talked a lot at halftime about continuing to play with energy in the second half,” Grasso said. “Then, they came out and opened the lead up to 15 very quickly. We cut it back down to nine, but then they took it to 15 again and that was pretty much it.”
In the opening half, Piqua was able to match West Carrollton for the 16 minutes, despite playing at a much faster pace than normal.
Dre’Sean Roberts had seven points in the opening quarter to keep Piqua within 16-11. He hit a three to get Piqua within 10-9, before the Pirates opened the lead back up.
But, West Carrollton had a number of missed shots in the paint and turnovers as the first half went on.
“I feel like we shouldn’t let the opponent dictate what we do,” Grasso said. “We are a moderate pressing team and I think that kind of surprised them. They had some problems with that.”
A long three by Riley Hill and two baskets by Garrett Schrubb put Piqua in front 21-20 with 5:00 to go in the half.
Baskets by Iverson Ventura and Dylan Chaney had Piqua in front 28-24 before West Carrollton scored the final seven points of the half — capped by a three by McKinney.
Piqua was not able to sustain that kind of energy in the second half.
“I think the extended halftime hurt us a little bit,” Grasso said. “I think we lost some of the momentum we had.”
Roberts led Piqua with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Schrubb added eight points and seven rebounds.
Kameron Darner and Hill scored seven points each.
Isaac Zennia added 16 points and six rebounds to the Pirates cause, while McKinney had six rebounds to go with his scoring.
Aigbokhai Kadari had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Austin Jones had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Stanely Shrivers added eight points and nine rebounds.
Piqua was 19 of 53 from the floor for 36 percent and 13 of 22 from the line for 59 percent.
West Carrollton was 31 of 71 from the floor for 44 percent and nine of 14 from the line for 64 percent.
The Pirates dominated the boards 53-26 and had 19 turnovers to Piqua’s 21.
“We needed to do a much better job boxing out,” Grasso said. “Right now, we just need to get healthy. We have a lot of people banged up. We lost Keagan (Patton) tonight to a foot injury, Iverson Ventura wasn’t 100 percent, Riley Hill is still working his way back.
“We have two winnable games at home coming up, so we just want to finish strong.”
They go to Stebbins on Tuesday first, before hosting Greenville on Friday night.,
Contact Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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