PIQUA – “This was probably the game of my career,” said Greenville senior Adam Hickerson, after putting up the game-winning three-pointer to thump Piqua on Friday night.
Hickerson was ecstatic after the big win, jumping on the court and celebrating with this teammates. “I was so excited,” he said.
It was sweet justice for the Wave, after losing to Piqua earlier on Jan. 4 in a 50-52 game that went down to the buzzer.
“It was nice to come back and beat them the way they beat us last time,” Greenville boys basketball coach Michael Bashore said.
Friday’s victory puts Greenville at 6-12 for the season, which was a far cry from their 0-9 beginnings.
“To start out 0-9 and go to 6-12 is fantastic, from where these kids have been in the last few years,” Bashore said. “I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year,” Hickerson said. “We got off to a rough start, but we turned the second half of the season around, and I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else right now.”
The Wave led from the start, with Hickerson
Allen Tabler and Hickerson led the first quarter for Greenville, with both popping in a seven points for a five point Wave advantage at 11-16.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys,” Hickerson said. “Its so much fun to play with them.”
Piqua caught up quick in the second, with Josh Holfinger and Colton Bachman teaming up to slow down Greenville’s advances.
“They’re similar to us. They run the same kind of sets, they play at the same level, and they’ve got a lot of young players,” Bashore said. “We’re going to have some great battles in the next three or four years.”
Holfinger scored four fast points for Piqua to lead 19-18, but it didn’t last long with Zach Comer intervening for two.
Then Hickerson dunked off a fast break, and scored again seconds later from a rebound.
“I can’t say enough about him as an individual,” Bashore said. “When we thought we lost him for the year (due to a wrist injury), and for him to come back and play. It’s great.”
The Wave led by five going into halftime, at 19-24.
Piqua’s Josh Holfinger caught fire and put up 13 points in the third quarter, which more than matched his ten points in the entire first half. Every inch of the next eight minutes were a struggle for both teams.
“What can you say? All night we battled back. We’d get up, then they’d get up, but we didn’t give up,” Bashore said. “I think that’s a sign of how far we’ve come since day one. We’ve done really well at not caving in when things go bad for us.”
The teams had seven ties throughout the game, with five of them in a back-and-forth clash happening in the third.
Piqua led only once still in the third, but a half-court buzzer shot from Greenville’s Devin Wood put his team ahead 39-42 heading into the final quarter.
“Believe it or not, he actually practices that shot every day,” Bashore said. “But I still didn’t expect it to go in. That was a little luck on our side, but he practices it every day.”
Piqua didn’t waste any time out of the break, and quickly grabbed the lead at 44-42 . Comer tied with two, but Piqua tossed in a pivotal trey. Hickerson earned one of a foul shot, but Bachman found another found another three-point bucket.
With three minutes left in the game, Greenville found themselves down by four for the first time all game.
But Comer managed two points a minute later on a layup, and Clay Guillozet snagged a mid-air steal and passed to Tabler for a three-pointer of his own.
With 34 seconds left in the game, Piqua scored inside the paint, and Greenville was put on notice trailing by just one point.
And that’s when Hickerson delivered on a three-pointer, making for one of the best finishers of his career.
“Towards the end, the coach just wanted us to hold out for the last shot. Clay kicked it out to me in the corner. I was open, so I took it,” Hickerson said.
With three seconds left, Greenville led by two and the clock ran out in their favor.
This marks the Wave’s fifth win out of the last seven games, and the team is finding themselves on a roll for the first time all year.
Going forward, Bashore and the rest of the Green Wave has their sights set on the rest of the GWOC.
“We still owe Vandalia one. We’ve still got Sidney left. And we’re at six (wins) now, and they only won two last year, so the kids are just loving every minute of it,” Bashore said. “And we’re getting ready for the tournament. We’re looking forward to at the least getting one win out of the tournament and staying competitive in the second game.”
Now tournament season looms, and the Wave is in fast preparation for the challenges ahead.
“This was just a great win to get right before the tournament, so we could get a good seed and get to where we want to play at,” Hickerson said.
“There’s three teams in the heading into the tournament with three wins or less, so we talked all week about having to three games better than them because we’re coming from an outside conference,” Bashore said. “And we wanted to get to six wins, to make sure there were at least three teams below us, so we could pick a little bit about where we wanted to go.”