CENTERVILLE – Greenville took a two-point lead with just a minute remaining Tuesday night but couldn’t hang on for the victory, losing 56-53 to Piqua in the second round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
“We played hard. They played better. That’s really about it,” Greenville boys basketball coach Mike Bashore said. “We missed some opportunities in the first half. It was a close game. Every possession counted. That’s what happens in the tournament, and they took advantage of them. I mean we got some steals, but then we turned it right back over to them. They ended up coming out on top.”
Tuesday’s game was the third meeting of the season for the Greater Western Ohio Conference rivals. Greenville won the first matchup 73-62 on Jan. 8 at home and lost 66-45 on Feb. 5 at Piqua.
The postseason matchup was closer than either of the regular season games as the largest lead for either team was just six points.
Greenville had its largest lead of the game in the opening minutes as Aaron Rich, Isaiah Gable and Trae Wood combined to give the Green Wave a 6-0 lead.
It took less than two minutes for Piqua to erase its deficit with Bradley Hohlbein and Colton Bachman heating up from the outside. With Piqua draining four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, the Indians held a 16-14 lead at the end of the period.
Scoring slowed down in the second quarter with Piqua only netting eight points and Greenville scoring six, making the score 24-20 in favor of the Indians at halftime. Three of those points were historic for the Indians, though, as Bachman drained a 3-pointer late in the half to make him Piqua’s all-time leading scorer.
In the third quarter Greenville’s all-time leading scorer, Clay Guillozet, took over. After being held to just two points in the first half, the Green Wave senior exploded for 20 points in the third quarter to put Greenville up 42-38.
Greenville maintained its lead for the first three-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter until Hohlbein sank Piqua’s ninth 3-pointer of the night to put the Indians ahead 48-46.
It remained a two-point game for the next three minutes until Guillozet drew a foul and made both of his free throw attempts, tying the game at 48-all with just 1:31 remaining.
In the next 20 seconds Piqua and Greenville both hit a pair of free throws to keep the score knotted. Then with just a minute left Wood got a fast-break layup to put Greenville up 52-50. Again the lead didn’t last, though, as Piqua tied the game seven seconds later with two more free throws.
With time running down Greenville committed a turnover, giving Piqua a chance to take the lead with only 33 seconds left. Bachman drew a foul with 15.6 remaining and made both of his free throws, putting the Indians up 54-52.
With just 2.4 seconds remaining Guillozet drew a foul and made the first of his two free throw attempts but missed the second. Piqua got the rebound and after being fouled made two more free throws to win by three, 56-53.
Guillozet finished the game with a game-high 25 points. Also for the Green Wave, Gable scored 10 points, Rich scored eight, Wood scored six, and Devin Hendrix scored four.
Bachman led Piqua with 22 points while Hohlbein scored 19, Nate Monnin scored eight, CJ Davis scored five, and Ben Schmiesing scored two.
Piqua improved to 14-10 with Tuesday’s win and now advances to play Wayne in the sectional championship game. Greenville finished its season with a 13-11 record.
“I thought it went well,” Bashore said of the season. “I thought we played better as the season went along. We had a lot of first-time guys. That’s a big jump from playing JV to playing varsity. We got a tournament win. We had another winning season. So those are things we can hang our hat on. I mean we weren’t happy with how it ended today, but you’ll have that sometimes. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go your way.”
Tuesday’s game also marked the end of the high school basketball careers of Greenville’s four seniors – Guillozet plus Codi Byrd, Chris Force, and Yuta Nakamura.
“Everybody will talk about what Clay does, and Clay is special, but those other kids are great program kids to have around,” Bashore said. “They come to work every day knowing they might not play much, and they still put the effort in every time. That’s all you can ask for of kids is that they continue to work hard. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had great kids every year that I’ve been here. Next year will be no exception.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.