By Rob Kiser
After two disappointing losses in the Buckeye Insurance Group Classic Holiday tournament, the Piqua boys basketball team couldn’t wait to get back on the floor.
They will get that chance Tuesday when Fairmont visits Garbry Gymnasium.
“I think it would be worse if we had to wait longer to play a game,” Piqua boys basketball coach Heath Butler said. “I think we had double-digit leads in both games of the holiday tournament in the second half. To be playing in a holiday tournament, at home and lose both games — they are definitely anxious to get back out on the floor.”
And despite Fairmont’s 3-7 record, the Indians, 5-4, will definitely be tested.
Four of Fairmont’s losses are by seven points or less.
They have a two-point loss to Alter, a three-point loss to Northmont, a five-point loss to Springboro and a seven-point loss to Springfield.
“Their (Fairmont’s) record is really deceiving,” Butler said. “They have played a really tough schedule — one of the toughest schedules in the GWOC.”
Darius Dunson, a 6-foot senior, leads the Firebirds with 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Jimmy Bergman, a 5-10 senior, averages 14.1 points, while 5-10 junior Kamron Drollet averages 13.3 points.
“Three guys do most of their scoring,” Butler said. “But, they have a lot of role players that are important. They get a lot of rebounds and loose balls. We are going to have to win on most of the loose balls and rebound if we want to win this game.”
Piqua is led led by 6-foot-4 senior Colton Bachman, averaging 23.2 points per game.
Bradley Hohlbein, a 6-2 senior guard, averages 12.9 points and leads the team with 2.9 assists per game, while 6-3 junior post Nate Monnin averages 9.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
“We have got to be able to finish games,” Butler said. “We know people are going to (pressure us until they handle it). We have been doing a good job of that in practice. All our goals are still in front of us. We can still win the North and we have the Flyin To The Hoop coming up. But, if we are going to win the North, we are going to have to win the close games.
“We have to get back to the same approach we had in the Sidney game. We know there are going to be times when things don’t go well during the game. It is how you respond to it.”
Butler knows it will be an uptempo game.
“Fairmont likes to go up and down the floor,” he said. “They will use pressure — even though it is a different kind of pressure, it is still pressure. They like to pressure and dribble-drive — all things that have bothered us. So, it is going to be a challenge.”
One Butler feels the Indians are ready for.
“You can go one of two ways (after the holiday tournament),” he said. “You can pout and start talking about next year. Or you can work on getting better. We have had two of our best practices since the holiday tournament. Now, we get to get back out on the floor.”
And show they have put those two games behin them.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.