By Rob Kiser
TROTWOOD — The drought is over.
Not since the 2006-07 boys basketball season has Piqua had to prepare for a second-round tournament game.
That all changed Saturday night at Trotwood High School in Centerville D-I sectional tournament.
The Indians felt like they had lifted a gorilla off their backs after a 68-60 win over Beavercreek at Trotwood-Madison High School.
Piqua will play Greenville, a 55-50 winner over Belmont, at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday night at Centerville.
“Huge, no doubt about it,” Piqua coach Heath Butler said.
Especially given the added pressure of playing 4-19 Beavercreek, a team the 13-10 Indians should beat.
“From the time of the draw, that is all the kids heard,” Butler said. “That Beavercreek had four wins and this should be your year. And to their credit, they stayed focus at practice and didn’t let that affect them.”
For a big group of Piqua seniors, it was obvious relief.
“The seniors are like a brotherhood,” Colton Bachman said. “Obviously this feels really good — but big picture, this program hadn’t had a tournament win in nine years, so this huge for us.”
With Bachman scoring 18 points on six of nine shooting from the floor in the opening half, the Indians took a 30-27 lead to the locker room.
After Beavercreek had closed to within 36-35 in the third quarter — and was determined not to let Bachman score — the Indians role players step up.
Tyren Cox had two putbacks, CJ Davis hit a three, Ben Schmiesing knocked a shot down from just inside the 3-point line and Caleb Patton hit a free throw as Piqua extended the lead to 46-39 going to the fourth quarter.
“Those guys aren’t all-GWOC players or anything like that,” Butler said. “That is guys stepping up — and Tyren (Cox) and CJ (Davis) are two seniors doing that.”
Beavercreek wouldn’t go away.
A three by Jackson Tedder had pulled Beavercreek within 49-48 with 6:00 to go.
It took Bachman — who had been scoreless in the second half — just fives seconds to answer with a 35-foot bomb to take the lead back to 52-48.
“Cold-blooded,” Butler said.
Bachman never hesitated.
“I know I wasn’t getting a lot of shots in the second half,” Bachman said. “But, there are times when I just have to step up for the team.”
Beavercreek wouldn’t go away — with Jon Alessandro scoring 12 in the fourth quarter.
They got within four twice in the final two minutes — but Davis had some big baskets in the fourth quarter and Bachman made a couple free throws late to seal the deal.
“It kind of felt like the Tecumseh game (in the fourth quarter) last year, when they came back to beat us,” Bachman said. “We just had to find a way to grind it out.”
Bachman finished with 24 points for the Indians, while Bradley Hohlbein had 13 — including eight in the fourth quarter, including a big three.
Davis had nine points and seven rebounds, Nate Monnin had eight points and five rebounds and Derrick Gullett scored seven points.
“We had a lot of people contribute tonight,” Butler said.
Alessandro had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds for Beavercreek, while Tedder added 16 points and five rebounds and Jackson Back scored 12
Piqua scorched the nets for 24 of 37 from the floor for 65 percent and 13 of 23 from the line for 57 percent.
Beavercreek was 20 of 44 from the floor for 45 percent and 10 of 12 from the line for 83 percent.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 23-22 and had 10 turnovers to Beavercreek’s 6.
“I thought we did a good job, both rebounding and keeping our turnovers down,” Butler said.
Bachman is now just 11 points shy of Mark Matthews career scoring record at Piqua.
“People have been telling me for the last couple weeks to go for it,” Bachman said with a laugh. “That is not what is about. I just enjoy playing with these guys so much. We are not ready to quit yet.”
After waiting this long for a tournament win — why settle for one.
Bradley Hohlbein 5-1-13, Derrick Gullett 2-3-7, Nate Monnin 3-2-8, CJ Davis 4-0-9, Colton Bachman 7-6-24, Nash Black 0-0-0, Ben Schmiesing 1-0-2, Brady Hill 0-0-0, Tyren Cox 2-0-4, Caleb Patton 0-1-1. Totals: 24-13-68.
Jackson Back 4-0-12, Jon Alessandro 7-5-21, Drew Prater 0-2-2, Cedric Baldwin 3-0-6, Jackson Hansen 0-3-3, Jackson Tedder 6-0-16, Jordan Williams 0-0-0, Alec Otto 0-0-0. Totals: 20-10-60.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Hohlbein (2), Davis, Bachman (4). Beavercreek: Back (4), Alessandro (2), Tedder (4).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 13 30 46 68
Beavercreek 13 27 39 60
Records: Piqua 13-10, Beavercreek 4-19.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.