By Rob Kiser
DAYTON — It was a big night for Ben Schmiesing.
And an even bigger one for the Piqua boys basketball team.
Schmiesing had a career-high 35 points and the Indians got a much needed win in GWOC American action, stunning Stebbins 75-62 on the road and surviving a wild second half that included three Stebbins technical fouls.
“It feels great,” Schmiesing said. “This is huge for us because Stebbins is a really good team. This gives us momentum heading into the second half of the GWOC North schedule.”
Piqua improved to 4-11 overall and 3-7 in GWOC American play, while Stebbins dropped to 8-8 and 4-6.
Schmiesing gave a sign of things to come in the first half.
He made eight of 10 shots from the floor, including two threes and three of four free throws to finish the half with 21 points.
He closed the half with a three to put Piqua up 30-26 at the break.
“I banked in a three at the end of the half,” Schmiesing said with a laugh. “That was a pretty good sign what kind of night it was going to be.”
Piqua coach Heath Butler was not surprised.
“That was a just a blue collar effort by a blue collar kid,” Butler said. “That is the way Ben (Schmiesing) always plays.”
But, Schmiesing would be the first to tell you it wasn’t just about him.
“Everybody was working to get me the ball,” Schmiesing said. “Everybody else played great and it doesn’t happen without my teammates.”
That showed in the second half.
Gage Smith opened the second half with back-to-back threes to make it 36-26, before a Schmiesing basket made it 38-26.
“It wasn’t just Ben (Schmiesing),” Butler said. “Gage hit some huge shots (10) points in the third quarter, Nate (Monnin) was strong in the second half. Hayden (Schrubb) did a nice job. Xion (Harrison) hit some big threes. Even though Caleb (Patton) didn’t have a big game offensively, he really had a nice floor game and hit some big free throws at the end.
“Nick Riola had a big basket in the fourth quarter. Cory Cottrell gave us some big minutes.”
In a wild third quarter, where Stebbins picked up two technical falls, the pivotal one came with 17 seconds to go when Monnin got shoved to the floor after being fouled.
“It got pretty chippy out there in the second half,” Schmiesing said. “But, we kept our cool.”
Piqua was leading by 12 at the time.
Monnin made all four free throws and Smith hit a three for a 7-point possession to make it 59-40 going to the fourth quarter.
“That was probably the key moment right there,” Schmiesing said.
“Just the way the kids kept their composure,” he said. “People who see the score will have no idea how much Ben (Schmiesing) was getting grabbed and clawed. He never let it bother him.”
Despite getting another technical in the fourth quarter, Stebbins got back within eight.
But Schmiesing made six of seven free throws in the final quarter and scored eight points as Piqua held on for the win.”
Schmiesing also had eight rebounds to go with his 35 points.
He was 11 of 16 from the floor and 11 of 14 from the line.
Monnin had 13 points and 16 rebounds and Smith scored 13 points.
Jonathan Mpanzu had 16 points and six rebounds for Stebbins, while Tavian Williams added 14 points and Michael Mayo scored 13.
Piqua was 22 of 45 from the floor for 49 percent and 23 of 32 from the line for 72 percent.
Stebbins was 22 of 51 from the floor for 43 percent and 13 of 24 from the line for 54 percent.
Piqua won the battle of the boards 31-20, but had 17 turnovers to Stebbins’ 7.
Piqua will play at Vandalia-Butler Tuesday.
“This was huge for us,” Butler said. “We have lifted the fog of the SAC. We have been playing well there lately and they are on of three games we lost at the buzzer. The kids just played with so much heart. This gives us a lot of momentum.”
After a big night for Schmiesing that meant so much more for the team.
Caleb Patton 0-2-2, Hayden Schrubb 1-2-4, Gage Smith 4-1-13, Nate Monnin 3-7-13, Ben Schmiesing 11-11-35, Nick Rigola 1-0-2, Xion Harrison 2-0-6, Cory Cottrell 0-0-0. Totals: 22-23-75.
Jalen Tolbert 3-0-6, Jonathan Mpanzu 7-2-16, Michael Mayo 5-0-13, Tavien Williams 4-4-14, Chris Davis 3-0-6, Mark Perkins 0-7-7, Tyheed Miller 0-0-0, Murad Ilyasov 0-0-0, Jamie Bullock 0-0-0. Totals: 22-13-62.
3-point field goals — Piqua: Smith (4), Schmiesing (2), Harrison (2). Stebbins: Mayo (3), Williams (2).
Score By Quarters
Piqua 14 30 58 75
Stebbins 8 26 39 62
Records: Piqua 4-11 (3-7), Stebbins 8-8 (4-6).
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.