By Rob Kiser
Piqua boys basketball coach Heath Butler knew exactly what to expect Saturday night against Milton-Union — even if the records might tell you something different.
“You see it at the college level and the professional level,” Butler said about the one-win Bulldogs team. “That’s why they call it a trap game. It got interesting at the end, which is exactly what happens a lot of times when you are coming off an intense game Friday night.”
In the end, the Indians were able to come away with a 68-62 victory after a few anxious moments late in the game.
“This was huge (getting two wins over the weekend),” Butler said. “It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you win.”
Piqua seemed to have a comfortable 65-56 lead with 1:13 to play. Ten seconds later, it was 65-62 after a six-point play by Milton-Union.
Bulldogs guard Tommy Smith was fouled on his sixth 3-point field goal of the game. After he made the free throw, Piqua was called for a shove on the box-out. Blake Ullery then converted both free throws — going 8-for-8 from the line for the game — and it was 65-62.
Twice in a row, Piqua missed the front end of one-and-ones, but was able to come up with stops when Milton-Union had the opportunity to tie.
With 18.1 seconds to go, Colton Bachman hit the second of two free throws — for his career high 35th point of the game — t make it 66-62 and seal the win.
“We missed a couple of front ends of one-and-ones,” Butler said. “Those things can happen.”
The first quarter was a shootout between Bachman and Smith.
Both scored 14 points in the quarter —with Smith hitting four shots from behind the arc and Bachman three.
Bachman added 11 more points in the second quarter — to complete a 25-point first half — and Piqua led 38-31.
But, with Eric Swartz scoring six points in the third quarter, Milton-Union close the gap to 48-46 going to the final eight minutes.
With Nate Monnin scoring four points on offensive rebounds and Ben Schmiesing two, Piqua was able to push the lead to nine, before the bizarre six-point play.
“Those were some big baskets by Nate (Monnin) and Ben (Schmiesing),” Butler said. “Once Nate gets his mind made up, he is hard to stop.”
Monnin added 12 points to the Piqua cause with 1o rebounds and matched Bachman with four steals, while Smith finished with 23 points for Milton-Union and Swartz added 17 points and seven rebounds. Ullery scored 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Piqua was 23 of 51 from the floor for 45 percent and 13 of 17 from the line for 77 percent.
Milton-Union, 1-17, was 20 of 39 from the floor for 51 percent and 16 of 21 from the line for 76 percent.
Milton won the battle of the boards 18-15, but had 16 turnovers to Piqua’s 10.
Piqua, 11-9, can clinch a third-straight winning season when Vandalia-Butler visits Tuesday.
“Even though we already had Senior Night, it is our last home game,” Butler said. “It is important that we send the seniors out right.”
After avoiding Saturday night’s “trap”.
Bradley Hohlbein 2-2-8, Derrick Gullett 1-4-6, Nate Monnin 6-0-12, CJ Davis 1-0-2, Colton Bachman 11-7-35, Brady Hill 0-0-0, Ben Schmieisng 2-0-5, Tyren Cox 0-0-0, Caleb Patton 0-0-0, Nash Black 0-0-0. Totals: 23-13-68.
Tommy Smith 7-3-23, Blake Smith 1-2-4, Daniel Albaugh 0-2-2, Eric Swartz 8-1-17, Blake Ullery 1-8-10, Zach Vagedes 2-0-4, Braden Smith 0-0-0, William Morris 1-0-2, Ryan Moore 0-0-0. Totals: 20-16-62.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Hohlbein (2), Bachman (6), Schmiesing. Milton-Union: Tommy Smith (6).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 19 39 48 68
Milton 20 31 46 62
Records: Piqua 11-9, Milton-Union 1-17.
Reserve score: Piqua 53, Milton-Union 34.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.