PIQUA – In an evening full of ups and downs, the Piqua Indians fell just short with a 37-35 loss to the Vandalia-Butler Aviators at Garbry Gym on Friday.
Both teams got off to a slow start, scoring just 15 points between them in the first quarter. The Aviators came out with a tenacious defense that kept the Indians off-balance early although Butler was not able to capitalize to any extent.
In the second quarter, both the Indians and the Aviators began to find some offense with Piqua pulling ahead at the half by a score of 20 – 18.
The third quarter momentum swung back to Butler as turnovers became an issue for Piqua with the third quarter score ending at 31-27, Butler.
As the fourth quarter opened, Butler found their stride and opened up an eight-point lead with less than three minutes left to play, but the Indians battled back, fighting to within two points when Xion Harrison nailed a three-pointer to make the score 39 -37 Butler with 44 seconds left in the game.
The two point margin remained as Butler had the ball out of bounds and called a time out with 11 seconds left. Nate Monnin then fouled Butler’s Miles Joiner with 6.5 seconds. Joiner missed the free throw and the Indians got the ball back with 4 seconds remaining.
Butler then called a 60 second time out.
The Indians set up the in-bounds for a buzzer-beater three-point shot which missed its mark giving the Butler Aviators a 37-35 GWOC win.
Piqua head coach Heath Butler said, “It was a typical early first GWOC North game. Both sides were not really sharp offensively but the thing was both sides defensively battled really hard.”
“It came down to some simple things,” Butler said, “passing, catching the basketball. If you take a look at the stats, I think that Vandalia had less turnover than us. I think we battled hard on the boards. In any basketball game you have to look at two statistics, that’s rebounds and turnovers. I think the one thing that we need to work on is we have to start winning on turnovers.”
Butler head coach D.J. Wyrick was happy to walk away with a win.
“There’s nothing better than a road win in-conference,” said Wyrick, “We kinda just stole one tonight and that’s outstanding.”
The Piqua Indians take on the Tippecanoe Red Devils in conference action on Tuesday.