By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — The Piqua boys basketball team entered Friday night’s MVL game with Troy on a four-game winning streak.
And the Trojans had no intention of letting it reach five games.
The Trojans got off to a fast start and rode that to a 19-point halftime lead and a 60-47 victory over the Indians in MVL action.
Troy improved to 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the MVL, closing within one game of Tippecanoe, who fell to Vandalia-Butler Friday night. Piqua dropped to 5-7 overall and 3-6 in the MVL.
“We wanted to speed them up with our defense,” Troy coach Mark Hess said. “That’s what we like to do. We weren’t perfect on offense a few times early, but then we settled down.”
Piqua missed its first 10 shots from the floor as Troy opened a 12-0 lead.
Austin Stanaford started the scoring with a bucket inside, before Jaden Owens scored and Shaeden Olden added a 3-point play.
Then, Owens fired in a three and added another basket as the Trojans made it 12-0, before Dre’Sean Roberts hit a pair of free throws for Piqua with 1:32 remaining in the opening quarter.
“They were at a different level of athleticism and length from our last few opponents,” Piqua coach Steve Grasso said. “It took us a little while to get adjusted to that.”
Iverson Ventura and Devon Sever had baskets to close Piqua within 12-6 late in the first quarter, but Tre Archie had the final basket of the quarter and Troy continued that momentum into the second quarter.
After Piqua had closed to 16-11 early in the second quarter, Troy ran off 13 straight points, including two threes by Landyn Henry.
Using balance on offense and aggressive defense, the Trojans led 37-18 at the break.
“That is when we are at our best,” Hess said about Troy’s balanced offense. “The guys get to where they would rather make a good pass than score. Tonight is the way we like to play. It may not be pretty at times, but we do a good job of getting after it on defense and making the other team play faster than they want to.”
But, Hess knew the second half would be a challenge.
“It is tough to play with a 19-point lead,” he said. “You want to be patient on offense. Make sure you have a good shot, don’t necessarily go for the fancy shot. But, that is not easy to do. It would have been nice to win by 30, but that would have been too easy.”
Grasso was happy with the way the Indians played in the second half.
Piqua got as close as 14 several times, before getting within 13 after the benches emptied late.
“Really, I thought we could gotten it under 10 a couple times,” Grasso said. “We came up with turnovers, but then we didn’t execute on the offensive end.”
Stanford led Troy with 12 points, while Owens, Archie and Olden all scored 11. Olden also pulled down 12 rebounds for double-double, while Stanaford grabbed seven.
Henry scored seven points and Elijah Reynolds scored six.
“We did a good job of getting everyone involved,” Hess said.
Sever led Piqua with 11 points and has continued to improve with each game.
“We tried something a little different and brought him off the bench,” Grasso said. “He has been working on finishing at the rim, because that is something he struggled with this summer and he did a good job. of that tonight.”
Ventura added 10 points, Garrett Schrubb added nine points and six rebounds and Roberts also had nine points.
The game was played with intensity from the start and Grasso said the officials did a great job of handling it.
“There was some talking back and forth in the first half,” he said. “That got cleaned up in the second half and I thought the officials did a great job of handling that.”
Troy was 21 of 50 from the floor for 42 percent and 13 of 16 from the line for 81 percent.
Piqua was 17 of 48 from the floor for 35 percent and eight of 10 from the line for 80 percent.
Troy owned the boards 35-19 and had 16 turnovers to Piqua’s 15.
Contact Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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