By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Troy girls basketball coach Aaron Johnson knows Rome wasn’t built in one day.
With two weeks before the sectional tournament draw, though, the Trojans have been making plenty of progress.
“We’re just trying to put some bits and pieces together here and there and then glue that whole thing together so it holds water by the time we get to the tournament,” he said.
Troy won its third straight and for the fourth time in its last five games Saturday at the Trojan Activities Center, pulling away from Xenia late to complete the Miami Valley League crossover season sweep, 49-30.
The Trojans improved to 8-7 overall and 7-5 in the MVL Miami Division, with its only loss in its last five games being an overtime one to Piqua. Xenia, which Troy defeated 57-44 in the first meeting between the teams, fell to 4-12 overall and 2-10 in the MVL Valley Division.
“Our last three or four games, I’ve been incredibly pleased with what I’ve seen,” Johnson said. “It was a tough game to play because it was hard to maintain a rhythm, a flow, and it was really hard to sustain a run. That’s a much better Xenia team than we’ve seen in the past.”
And the Buccaneers tried to make sure that Tia Bass — who piled up 29 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots in the first meeting this season — didn’t beat them this time.
After Bass scored the game’s first four points, she was held without a field goal the rest of the way, finishing with seven points and 10 rebounds.
But Troy has more than one weapon, and Macie Taylor was up to the task Saturday.
Saturday scored a game-high 22 points, 10 of them coming in the first half to help stake Troy out to a 22-15 halftime lead. Taylor also added seven rebounds and four assists, twice hooking up with Laura Borchers, who hit three 3-pointers in the game and added 11 points.
“The refs let us play, and it took us a while to adjust to that intense style,” Johnson said. “The more we actually execute our offense, the more I like our looks. When Macie shot within the framework of our offense, I thought she shot the ball really, really well. And it was nice to see Laura Borchers step up again and make some shots.
“And transition-wise, we were smarter and didn’t just go, go, go all the time. We made some of their turnovers hurt because we executed.”
The only thing that kept Xenia in the game early was its 3-point shooting, hitting four of them in the first half. The Trojans only allowed them to hit one in the second half, though, building a 36-27 lead after three quarters and then outscoring the Bucs 13-3 in the fourth quarter to put things away.
“Holding them to 15 points in the first half, I thought, was crucial. And I thought we did a really good job on the boards,” Johnson said. “We got to the free throw line a bit more than we had in the past, too.”
Elise McCann added four points, four rebounds and three assists, Brynn Siler had four points and six rebounds and Kiersten Franklin had one point for the Trojans, who were 15 for 26 from the free throw line in the game — with Taylor going 9 for 10 herself.
Brynna Mardis led the Bucs with nine points on three 3s, Reaghan Wakefield had seven points and eight rebounds, Bri Randall hit two 3s and added seven points, Alexis Claybaugh scored four points and Kamea Baker had three points and six rebounds.
Troy won the battle of the boards 46-30 in the game and, after committing 29 turnovers in the first meeting, cut that number to only 14 while forcing 18 Buccaneer turnovers.
“A win’s a win,” Johnson said. “And this was a good win for us. This was one of those wins where, was it perfect? No. But I thought we did some really, really good things.”
Contact Josh Brown at [email protected], or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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