By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — It may not show in the Piqua boys basketball team’s record.
But, the progress is there.
The Indians fell to 1-6 overall and 1-5 in the MVL with a 78-59 loss to Stebbins, but Piqua coach Steve Grasso saw a lot of positives. Stebbins is 5-1 overall and 5-1 in the MVL.
“If you look at where we were a couple weeks ago, there is progress out there,” Grasso said. “Again, that is a good team. Stebbins is 5-1 now.”
And Piqua was able to say with the visiting Indians in the early going.
It was tied 11-11 after one quarter and a putback by Iverson Ventura put Piqua up 13-11 with 7:30 to go in the half.
But, Stebbins was able to run off with 11 unanswered points with Jalen Tolbert, Daniel Bowman, Ryan Hickey and Marcus Watson all scoring in the run.
Garrett Schrubb stopped the Stebbins run with a three with 4:30 to go in the half to get Piqua back within 22-16 and the half ended with Stebbins leading 33-26.
“We were only down seven at the half,” Grasso said. “Both teams were kind of turning the ball over. Then in the third quarter, they stopped turning it over and we continued to have turnovers.”
Jakob Reed had 14 points in the third quarter, nearly matching Piqua’s total of 15 as Stebbins stretched its lead to 59-41 and cruised to the win from there.
“Jalen Tolbert, Jakob Reed, Nate Keller and Ryan Hickey are all guards averaging between 12 and 18 points for them,” Grasso said. “That is a tough combination.”
Piqua had a balanced attack.
Schrubb scored 14 points to lead the way.
Ventura added 13 and Jerell Lewis, who continues to improve with each game, added 10.
Devon Sever and Dre’Sean Roberts both scored eight points.
“We really did have a lot of guys doing good things,” Grasso said.
Reed led Stebbins with 21 and Tolbert added 18.
Hickey scored 14 points and Keller added nine.
Now, Piqua gets a short break from the MVL schedule.
The Indians will play Bethel in the WPTW Classic at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Garbry Gymnasium.
Lehman will play Troy Christian in the opening game at 6 p.m.
The consolation and championship games will be the following afternoon.
“It will be a little different style of basketball,” Grasso said about the three D-IV teams. “They are good teams, but it is a different style. I think it will be good for us to get a break from the MVL. Then, we have games with Greenville and Fairborn after that. So, we have a couple days next week to get better and get ready for that stretch.”
And hopefully, have the progress show up in the win column.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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