By Rob Kiser
It isn’t about where you are in November.
So, don’t expect Piqua boys basketball coach Heath Butler or his team to be pushing any panic buttons after its seven quarter scrimmage with Bellefontaine Saturday at Garbry Gymnasium.
In fact, while the Indians won just one of the seven quarters — it is not a lot different than past pre-seasons for the Indians.
“I know people are going to be saying what’s wrong with Piqua,” Butler said. “But, we struggled last year in the preseason and then we beat Springboro to open the season — and everybody said OK, I see. Our goal is to be ready for Wapak in the season opener. Our first peak will be Wapak.”
And in all fairness, the Indians have limited varsity experience on the floor — and the leading scorer back from last year — Nate Monnin — missed the summer after shoulder surgery.
“Other than Nate (Monnin), Ben (Schmiesing) and Caleb (Patton), we don’t have a lot of varsity experience out there,” Butler said. “And with Nate (Monnin) missing the summer, these guys are out there playing together for the first time.”
Nick Rigola had an early three in the opening quarter and Devon Brown added a field goal to put the Indians up 7-5 before they lost the first quarter 10-7.
Piqua started to find the range in the second quarter.
Piqua won the quarter 11-9, with Gage Smith hitting two 3-pointers and Hunter Hawk adding one, with Monnin scoring the final two points on a bucket inside.
“We came out and we were competitive,” Butler said. “We were using some different combinations.”
In quarters three through six, Bellefontaine won by scores of 18-6, 21-5, 11-5 and 21-6.
“Bellefontaine is a good team and they are big an physical,” Butler said.
Piqua rebounded in the final quarter.
Monnin had a three-point play, followed by a Hayden Schrubb three to put the Indians up 6-4.
Monnin scored again and picked up two assists on outlet passes to Devon Brown for layups as Piqua took an 11-8 lead before Bellefontaine scored five points in the final minute to win the quarter 13-11.
“It is amazing when you put some different guys in there, the energy it can create in the crowd,” Butler said. “We showed a lot of heart in the final quarter.”
Piqua will be back in action Wednesday, hosting Arcanum in a 10 a.m. scrimmage, before Piqua Alumni teams will play each other Wednesday night.
And the Indians will use the matchup with the Trojans to continue building towards the opener with Wapakoneta on Dec. 2.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.