GREENVILLE – Though he doesn’t like to lose, Greenville boys basketball coach Kyle Joseph tried to keep some perspective following Tuesday’s 64-56 Greater Western Ohio Conference loss to Piqua.
Now that they’re in the final stretch of the regular season the Green Wave are preparing for their first Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament game, Joseph said. The tournament draw already is past so wins and losses don’t mean as much now as preparing for postseason play.
“I told our guys weren’t not going to play another team that plays that way the rest of the year as far as holding the ball; it’s a tough way to play,” Joseph said. “You don’t ever want to lose, but big picture I said there’s still some things that we can take away from this and get better. It is what it is. We won’t be in another game like that this year.”
Piqua slowing down the game forced Greenville to change the way it played on Tuesday, which contributed to neither team having a player off the bench score a point.
“Part of it is there aren’t’ many opportunities to sub when you hold the ball for two and three minutes at a time,” Joseph said. “I don’t know about from their perspective, but from my perspective my subs didn’t play as much because there weren’t as many opportunities to sub and a lot of standing around.”
Though Piqua came out on top in the end, Greenville started off well. The Wave built an early 10-3 lead with 3-pointers by Isaiah Gable and Aaron Rich plus two dunks by Gable.
Piqua closed out the opening quarter on a 10-0 run, however, with 5 points each from Caleb Patton and Nate Monnin to lead 13-10 at the end of the period.
Devin Hendrix put the Wave on his back in the second quarter and with 3:46 remaining in the first half made a pair of free throws that put Greenville back on top, 16-15. However, Hendrix was the only Greenville player to score in the quarter, and Piqua finished the period up 21-16.
Part of Greenville’s struggles could be attributed to foul trouble. In particular, Gable, the GWOC’s No. 2 scorer this season, had three first half fouls that sent him to the bench early.
“We got off to a great start,” Joseph said. “Foul trouble really hurt in the first half. Got to fight through it a little better.”
Led by Peter Pandey and Hendrix, the Green Wave started the second half off strong and twice had the score tied. Greenville never regained the lead, though, and Piqua finished the third quarter on a 10-7 run to lead 38-34 entering the fourth quarter.
Piqua led by as many as 14 points midway through the fourth quarter before Greenville made a final charge. The Wave trailed by double digits with a minute remaining but cut their deficit to 6 points with 22.5 seconds left. That’s as close as they got, however, as Piqua finished off an 8-point victory.
Piqua had five players score in double figures on Tuesday, led by Monnin’s game-high 18 points. Also for Piqua, Ben Schmiesing scored 14 points, Gage Smith scored 12, Patton scored 10, and Hayden Shrubb scored 10.
Hendrix led Greenville with 14 points. Also for the Wave, Rich scored 12 points, Gable scored 11, Pandey scored 11, and Trae Wood scored 8.
Greenville fell to 13-7 overall and 9-5 in the GWOC with Tuesday’s loss while Piqua improved to 7-14 overall and 4-10 in the conference.
Greenville will conclude the regular season with home games on Friday and Saturday against Sidney and Versailles before starting OHSAA tournament play on Feb. 25 vs. Sidney.
“I told them (Monday) when we talked about the tournament draw, I said we talk about that today; we’re not going to talk about the tournament again until after Versailles on Saturday,” Joseph said about his message to his players. “And I said we’re going to use these next three games to focus on us trying to get better. Wins and losses in those next three really don’t mean much right now. We’re focusing on us, trying to get as prepared as we can for Feb. 25.”
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.