By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
TIPP CITY — For the Piqua boys basketball team, it is a scenario that has played out too many times this year: a bad first half — followed by a great comeback — only to be unable to finish at the end when the opportunity was there to win.
And it did one more time Friday night.
This time, it came at Tippecanoe High School, where the Indians dropped a 73-68 decision to the Red Devils — which doesn’t really reflect how close the Indians were to having a chance at win.
Instead, Piqua drops to 7-11 overall and 4-7 in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play, while Tippecanoe improved to 11-7 overall and 6-5 in GWOC American North play.
After rallying from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to tie the game before falling behind again, Piqua again rallied and a four-point possession tied the game at 67-67 with 2:09 remaining.
First, as Quirri Tucker was going in for a layup, Tippecanoe was called for an intentional foul. Tucker made one of two free throws, then Devon Brown had a 3-point play to tie the game at 67.
After a steal by Tucker at the 1:35 mark, Piqua stepped on the baseline with the ball to give it back to Tipp with 1:25 to go. The Red Devils’ Cade Gingerich was fouled as he went up for a rebound with 59.1 seconds to go — as the Red Devils had make a living on second and third opportunities at the offensive end all night.
With 59.1 seconds to go, Gingrich sank two free throws. Piqua ran the clock down under 20 seconds, but a long 3 was off the mark. Tippecanoe’s Josh Wildermuth grabbed the rebound and fired a length-of-the-court pass to Noah Bledsoe to put Tippecanoe up 71-68 with 12 seconds to go.
After Hayden Schrubb made one of two free throws, Tipp added two free throws with 2.3 seconds to go for the final margin.
Tipp had jumped out to 9-0 and 11-2 leads in the first half, with the Red Devils scoring on five of their first six possessions.
When Schrubb hit a 3 with 6:21 remaining in the half, Piqua was back within 23-19. But, just as quickly, Tipp went on a 15-4 run to open a 38-23 lead, with Wildermuth scoring 13 points in the opening two quarters, and Piqua could only close to within 41-29 by halftime.
The Indians started the third quarter with an 18-6 run to tie the game at 47 with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter. Tucker had eight points in the run, while Brown and Ben Schmiesing had four each.
Tipp answered with the next seven points and took a 56-51 lead to the fourth quarter.
Piqua found itself down by as much as eight in the fourth quarter, before coming up short after rallying to tie the game.
Brown led Piqua with 24 points. Tucker had 18 points and Schmiesing added 15 points and eight rebounds.
Wildermuth led Tipp with 25 points. Caiden Smith had 15 points and seven rebounds, Tyler Skaggs had 10 points and eight rebounds and Ben Sauls and Noah Bledsoe both scored eight.
Piqua was 27 of 54 from the floor for 50 percent and seven of 11 from the line for 64 percent. Tipp was 26 of 60 from the floor for 43 percent and 18 of 25 from the line for 72 percent. Tipp won the battle of the boards 32-25 and had 11 turnovers to Piqua’s 12.
Piqua hosts Xenia Tuesday, while Tippecanoe travels to Greenville Friday.
Troy Christian 55,
Yellow Springs 29
YELLOW SPRINGS — The Troy Christian Eagles took one more step toward a Metro Buckeye Conference championship Friday night, shutting down a potent Yellow Springs offense on the road to win 55-29 for the Eagles’ 12th straight victory.
James Anderson led Troy Christian (16-2, 10-1 MBC) with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots, Ben Schenk added 12 points and Trent Huelskamp and Jackson Kremer each scored six as the Eagles pulled out to a 29-14 lead by halftime and never looked back.
“This was our best defensive effort as a group,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “We held one of the league’s leading scorers, Tony Marinelli (18.1 points per game) to no field goals and only four points. The kids were locked in and very disciplined. It was a great road win for the kids, and I’m really proud of them.”
Troy Christian hosts Miami Valley Tuesday before a big showdown against Legacy Christian on Friday.
Miami East 39
CASSTOWN — The Miami East Vikings took a lead early in the fourth quarter at 31-30 against Tri-Village Friday night, but the Vikings were outscored 16-10 in the final eight minutes in a 46-39 Cross County Conference loss.
“The game was tight throughout,” Miami East coach Allen Mack said. “We trailed 14-12 after one, 23-18 at half and 30-29 after three, then we went up 31-30 in the fourth with what may have been our only lead of the game before getting outscored 16-8 the rest of the way.”
Brendon Bertsch led the Vikings (7-11, 3-6 CCC) with 10 points, Austin Rutledge and Austin Kearns each had six and Parker Heim and Jack Runner each had five.
Miami East travels to Newton Tuesday.
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union (2-16, 0-9 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division) maintained control for three quarters Friday night, but the Bulldogs were outscored 17-7 in the final quarters in a 46-44 loss to Dixie — the team’s ninth straight loss.
Milton-Union travels to Waynesville Tuesday to kick off a four-game season-ending road trip.
COVINGTON — Covington fell to 4-13 overall and 3-6 in the Cross County Conference Friday night as the Buccaneers were unable to dig out of a big hole and fell 70-63 to visiting Ansonia.
Braden Miller scored 19 points, Bradley Wiggins added nine and Andrew Cates scored eight for the Buccs, who trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and got to as close as two in the fourth quarter before falling.
After facing Coldwater Saturday, Covington travels to Tri-Village Tuesday.
Other scores: National Trail 69, Newton (3-14, 1-8 CCC) 37. Arcanum 61, Bradford (1-15, 0-9 CCC) 38. Anna 71, Lehman (6-10) 47.
* Girls Basketball
TIPP CITY — One Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division championship wasn’t enough for the Tippecanoe girls basketball team.
The Red Devils (18-2, 13-0 GWOC American North) clinched its second outright division title in as many years in the league on Saturday, defeating visiting Greenville 62-28 for their seventh straight win overall and 28th straight in division play.
Tippecanoe needed only to win Saturday’s to clinch at least a share of the title. But second-place Butler’s loss — which fell to 10-3 in the GWOC American North — at Troy on Saturday, coupled with the Devils’ win, handed Tippecanoe the title outright with two games still to play.
Three Red Devils were in double figures in the game. Maddie Frederick led the way with 16 points, Allison Mader added 14 and Cali Stewart scored 13, with Kendall Clodfelter scoring seven and Chloe Schretzman chipping in five.
Tippecanoe hosts Troy Wednesday before finishing the regular season at Butler on Feb. 10.
TC North 14
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union won its second straight and third in its last four Saturday afternoon, routing Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division foe Northridge 60-14.
Kristen Dickison scored a game-high 26 points, Beyonce Bobbitt added 10 and Morgan Nemeth scored six as the Bulldogs (9-10, 6-5 SWBL Buckeye) took an 18-5 lead after the first quarter, didn’t allow Northridge to score more than five in any quarter and even shut the Polar Bears out in the fourth.
Milton-Union travels to Franklin Monroe Monday.
Marion Local 32
MARIA STEIN — Newton’s Tatum McBride scored 23 points Saturday, leading the Indians (14-6) to a 46-32 win at Marion Local in non-league play.
Newton travels to Franklin Monroe Thursday.
Other scores: Piqua (6-13, 4-9 GWOC American North) 47, Sidney 19. Arcanum 57, Lehman (8-10) 39.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334. Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.