By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
VANDALIA — Piqua was hoping a third-meeting with West Carrollton — in a D-I boys sectional tournament opener at the Vandalia SAC would be a charm.
Instead, it turned intoa deja vu of Piqua’s previous meeting with the Pirates.
After staying close for a half, the Indians struggled in the second half in a 63-30 loss.
In a game at Piqua last month, Piqua had trailed 31-28 at half, before losing 77-56.
West Carrollton improved to 17-6 with the win, while Piqua closed the season at 9-14.
“You know, we did a lot of good things this year,” Piqua coach Steve Grasso said. “We improved our win total by two. I feel like we ended the season on a positive note.”
It was the final game for Owen Curtis, Cameron Foster and Riley Hill.
“We are going to miss our three seniors,” Grasso said. “But, we have a lot of players coming back. We started four juniors and a freshman tonight. And our rotation off the bench is Riley (Hill) and some more juniors. So, we have quite a few people with varsity experience coming back.”
As for the game itself, Grasso was looking to control the tempo — and the Indians did that.
With four points by Dre’Sean Roberts and two by Kameron Darner, the Indians jumped out to a 6-2 lead.
And after getting in a seven-point hole, the Indians fought back
Hill scored five straight points to get Piqua within 16-15 with 3:10 remaining in the half — and the Indians were still within 20-15 at the break.
But, the second half was a different story.
West Carrollton opened a 39-22 lead after three quarters and outscored Piqua 43-15 in the final two quarters.
“We had opportunities,” Grasso said. “What we were looking to do was get through the third quarter and make it a one quarter game — but, that didn’t happen.”
For a multitude of reasons.
“We didn’t shoot free throws well,” Grasso said. “Really, we didn’t shoot the ball well at all. And we didn’t make any three pointers. The bottom line is you have to be able to put the ball in the basket.”
Kalen McKinney led West Carrollton with 14 points and Aigbokhai Kadari added 11.
Roberts and Hill paced Piqua with nine points each.
“Basketball is about going out and working in the offseason,” Grasso said. “When you are playing at game speed, it has to just be automatic. We will be working on the small basketball things.”
And look to avoid an deja vu moments next year.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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