By Rob Kiser
While Milton-Union came in with a 2-14 record Saturday night, the Piqua boys basketball team was taking nothing for granted at Garbry Gymnasium.
And the Indians, who improved to 5-13, took care of business with a workman-like 60-47 victory in non-conference action.
“I was really proud of the kids after the tough loss last night,” Piqua coach Heath Butler said in referring to Friday’s five-point loss to Tippecanoe, where the Indians led much of the game. “They went out there tonight and battled.”
From the outset, Piqua was able to use the strength and bulk of Nate Monnin and Ben Schmiesing inside.
Both had double-doubles, with Monnin finishing with 16 points and 16 rebounds; and Schmiesing adding 14 points and 11 rebounds, despite fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
Hayden Schrubb added nine boards as Piqua had a 40-27 edge on the boards.
“We did a great job on the offensive glass,” Butler said. “People don’t understand how tough that is in the modern game to be a big guy — all the grabbing and pulling that goes on in there. Nate and Ben did a great job and Hayden Schrubb and Caleb Patton did a nice job finding them.”
Still, Milton-Union wouldn’t go away.
When freshman AJ Lovin hit a three early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were within 40-33.
“Give Milton-Union credit,” Butler said. “They came in and battled the whole game.”
That’s when Piqua junior Cory Cottrell gave the Indians a spark.
Cottrell’s playing time has increased in the past few weeks and he showed why Saturday night.
He scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as Piqua opened the lead back up to double-digits.
“Cory (Cottrell) had a career game,” Butler said. “It is great to see because this is a kid who has worked hard, waited for his time and took advantage of it.”
He was 3-for-3 from the floor in the final quarter, with two threes, while making both his free throws.
For the game, he was three of four from the floor and five of six from the free throw line.
“He had a cut to the basket,” Butler said. “He hit a couple of corner threes. He did a great job and it was very rewarding to see that.”
Gage Smith added eight points to the Piqua cause.
Blake Smith had 12 points for Milton-Union, while Daniel Albaugh had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Caleb Wintrow added seven points and seven rebounds.
Piqua was 21 of 50 from the floor for 42 percent and 10 of 17 from the line for 59 percent.
Milton-Union was 18 of 60 from the floor for 30 percent and seven of 11 from the line for 64 percent.
Piqua did have 18 turnovers to Milton-Union’s seven.
As the season winds down, Piqua will have another double weekend at home this week with Sidney Friday and Elida Saturday.
“It is kind of nice to go Friday-Saturday and then have a little break to get ready for Sidney,” Butler said. “The voting for the tournament starts in the middle of the week. Now, it is about building up a little momentum.”
Which started by gutting out a “blue collar” win Saturday night.
William Morris 2-0-6, Caleb Wintrow 3-0-7, Zach Vagedes 0-1-1, Blake Smith 5-2-12, Daniel Albaugh 5-0-10, Blake Ullery 2-2-6, Keagan Crosby 0-0-0, Ryan Moore 0-0-0, A.J. Lovin 1-2-5. Totals: 18-7-47.
Hayden Schrubb 1-3-5, Gage Smith 3-0-8, Caleb Patton 0-0-0, Nate Monnin 7-1-16, Ben Schmiesing 6-0-14, Cory Cottrell 3-5-13, Nick Rigola 1-0-3, Xion Harrison 0-0-0, JJ Rohrbach 0-0-0, Cam Ashton 0-1-1, Hoden Yount 0-0-0, Devin Fosler 0-0-0, Logan Copsey 0-0-0. Totals: 21-10-60.
3-point field goals — Milton-Union: Morris (2), Wintrow, Lovin. Piqua: Smith (2), Rigola, Monnin, Schmiesing (2), Cottrell (2).
Score By Quarters
Milton-Union 9 18 30 47
Piqua 17 32 40 60
Records: Milton-Union 2-15, Piqua 5-13.