Kiyah Baker’s free throws give Troy girls 36-35 win over Xenia


TROY — It was the opportunity of lifetime.

And Troy girls basketball player Kiyah Baker wasn’t going to miss her chance for an unforgettable senior memory.

With 4.1 seconds remaining Saturday at the Trojan Activity Center, Baker stood at the foul line with the Trojans trailing Xenia 35-34.

“I have never been in a game-winning situation like that,” Baker said. “I have struggled with free throws all year. So, I was really focused.”

Baker — who had missed her previous two free throw attempts in the final quarter — found nothing but net on both of them to give Troy a 36-35 lead.

“When I made the first one, that took some pressure off,” Baker said. “Because I knew we were at least still in the game. When I made the second one, that felt pretty good.”

Xenia missed a desperation shot at the buzzer to give Troy the win.

Troy improved to 6-13 overall and 6-9 in the MVL and avenged a 52-34 loss at Xenia at earlier this season.

“This was a big win for us,” Baker said. “Because, we had lost to them pretty big the first time.”

Despite going 0-for-11 from the floor in the fourth quarter, Troy was able to extend a 31-29 third quarter lead.

Freshman Simone Adekoya who has made huge progress throughout the season and gets better with every game, hit three free throws to extend the lead to 34-29 with less than two minutes remaining.

“Simone (Adekoya) led us in scoring today and she really played well,” Troy coach Michael Bunk said.

But, Xenia suddenly came to life.

“We had a pick and roll called that really didn’t work out,” Bunck said. “And then they started making some plays.”

Troy was still up 34-33 when Xenia’s Shelby Collier was fouled with 17.9 seconds to go and calmly hit both free throws.

The Trojans came down, but had to call time out with 11 seconds to go.

“We were trying to get the ball to Simone (Adekoye),” Bunck said. “But, that wasn’t there.”

Instead, Baker got the ball out near the foul line and had one thing in mind.

“We were sort of in a delay before and had a pick and roll called that didn’t work out,” Baker said. “I just wanted to put the team on my back (when she got the ball) and finish it for them.”

She drove to the basket and was fouled, before swishing both free throws to win it.

“That is the kind of player Kiyah (Baker),” Bunck said. “She is clutch. I knew she would hit the free throws.”

Troy had trailed 9-4 after one quarter, but scored 17 points in the second quarter to pull even at 21 at the break.

Baker had six points in the quarter and Allana Bolden added five.

A basket by Okoye gave the Trojans a 31-29 lead after three quarters, setting up Baker’s memorable trip to the line at the end to win it.

Okoye had 13 points and eight rebounds for Troy and Baker had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Bolden scored seven points and Jaelynn Smith had five rebounds.

Gabby Winegarner had nine points and five rebounds for Xenia and Jada Dyer had nine points and eight rebounds.

Alaiya Meaux had seven points, five steals and five rebounds and Nataiya Madison had six points and five rebounds.

Troy was 11 of 41 from the floor for 27 percent and 13 of 20 from the line for 65 percent.

Xenia was 15 of 52 from the floor for 29 percent and three of 11 from the line for 27 percent.

Both teams grabbed 31 rebounds and Xenia had 19 turnovers to Troy’s 21.

“We knew we didn’t play well the first game with Xenia,” Bunck said. “We want to come out and show the first game should have been a win for us.”

With an added bonus of a game-winning senior memory for Baker.

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]

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