Call Sports Editor
TROY — The Piqua boys basketball team’s 46-35 win over Troy Friday night at the Trojan Activity Center in GWOC North action was hardly a work of art.
But — in this rivalry — any win is a thing of beauty for the Indians, who improved to 6-4 overall and 3-2 in the GWOC North.
“There is no game like this,” Piqua sophomore Colton Bachman said. “The stands are packed, the students are loud. This feels great to get this win.”
Even if Piqua had to take a bizarre path to the victory — recovering just in time.
After making eight of its first 13 shots from the floor to open a 25-9 lead at the 5:00 mark, the Indians would make just four of 20 field goal attempts the rest of the game.
“It was unbleievable,” Piqua coach Heath Butler said. “We almost got into our old habits of putting our heads down and panicing — but the big thing was we never quit playing defense.”
The Indians would not score again until Troy had run off 15 straight points to close within 25-24 — before two Tate Honeycut free throws with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter.
An 0-for-11 field goal drought that lasted more than 10 minutes ended when Derrick Gullet hit a jumper from just inside the 3-point line with 3:15 remaining in the quarter — Piqua’s only points from the floor in the quarter.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Bachman said. “But, we just kept working hard on our defense. As long as we play defense, we will be OK.”
After Troy came all the way back to tie it twice — on a 3-point play by Austin Funderburg on a rebound of his own missed free throw and a Taren Kinnel basket — Xavier Harrison’s free throw gave Piqua a 30-29 lead going to the fourth quarter.
“What did we score — five points in the third quarter,” Butler said. “But, the kids just kept battling on the defensive end.”
Harrison opened the fourth quarter with the biggest shot of the night — a three to give Piqua a 33-29 lead.
“Huge, huge shot,” Butler said. “After that shot, I don’t think there was any doubt in the kids minds we were going to win.”
Bachman hit four straight free throws, Ryan Neal scored off a Harrison dish and Bachman converted on a steal to make it 41-33 with 4:30 to go and Troy would score just two points the rest of the way.
12 of Piqua’s 21 points in the second half came from the line.
“We knew they had six fouls (in the third quarter),” Bachman said. “So, we wanted to take advantage of that.”
Bachman had scored eight points in the early going and when Storm Cook hit a three with 5:00 to go in the first half, Piqua led 25-9 before things took a turn towards the bizarre before Piqua found a way to gut it out.
“It was kind of strange,” Bachman said. “But, everybody stayed together and played as a team.”
Bachman had 14 points and six rebounds, while Harrison had 11 points and five rebounds.
Ryan Neal, in his first start, grabbed seven rebounds.
“He understood what his role was,” Butler said. “I told him he was in there to rebound. He got an opportunity and he made the most of it.”
Tre Hudson led Troy with 12 points, while Funderburg had eight points and six rebounds and TJ Michael grabbed six rebounds.
Piqua was 12 of 33 from the floor for 36 percent and 18 of 25 from the line for 72 percent.
Troy was 14 of 30 from the floor for 47 percent and six of 11 from the line for 55 percent.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 27-25 and both teams had 16 turnovers.
In the JV game, Nate Monnin got a putback of a missed free throw in the final minute and Brandon Hohlbein scored three of his 12 points from the line down the stretch as Piqua won 40-38.
The Indians will host St. Marys tonight.
“You know, we still haven’t played our best game,” Butler said. “To come in here on the road, against a good defensive team, that says a lot.”
For the Indians, it was a thing of beauty.
Tate Honeycutt 1-3-5, Xavier Harrison 2-5-11, Colton Bachman 3-7-14, Storm Cook 2-2-7, Ryan Neal 2-1-5, Derrick Gullett 2-0-4, Erik Vondenhuevel 0-0-0, Conner Forror 0-0-0. Totals: 12-18-46.
Austin Kyzer 1-2-4, Tre Hudson 5-2-12, Taren Kinnel 2-0-5, Austin Persinger 2-0-4, Austin Funderburg 3-2-8, Luke Manis 0-0-0, TJ Michael 0-0-0, Cameren Adkins 0-0-0, Zach Thompson 1-0-2, Connor Super 0-0-0. Totals: 14-6-35.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Harrison (2), Bachman, Cook. Troy: Kinnel.
Score By Quarters
Piqua 15 25 30 46
Troy9 20 29 35
Records: Piqua 6-4 (3-2), Troy 2-9 (0-4).
Reserve score: Piqua 40, Troy 38.