Troy boys basketball gets statement win on the road to open season


SIDNEY — The Troy boys basketball team and coaching staff had heard the talk heading into the season.

The Trojans graduated 11 seniors off last year’s MVL championship team.

But, it didn’t take long for Troy to answer any questions Friday night, rallying from a double-digit deficit on the road for a 63-59 victory over Sidney to open the season.

“People would say, well what is this team going to be like after losing all these guys,” Troy coach Mark Hess said. “I almost get emotional when I talk about it. I am just so proud of these guys.”

Senior post Kellen Miller — one of three players on the Troy roster with any varsity playing experience heading into Friday night, summed it up pretty well.

“We graduated 11 seniors last year,” Miller said. “And both the games with Sidney were battles last year. I think that’s pretty good (way to start the season).”

And it would be hard to be any more clutch than Miller was in the final minute that had four ties and seven lead changes in the fourth quarter alone.

As the clock went under one minute to play, Troy was trailing 59-56, Miller stopped and popped a 3-pointer from behind the top of the key to tie it at 59 with 57 seconds to go.

“I had missed some shots tonight,” Miller said. “I am just glad that one went in.”

On Sidney’s possession, the Jackets were looking to get the ball into Mitchell Davis inside.

But, two Sidney players collided and Miller alertly grabbed the ball out of mid-air.

“I think they got confused on what set they were running,” Hess said. “Kellen Miller and Evan Kaiser made some big plays for us in the final minute.”

Miller fired the ball to Bryce Haught out near mid-court.

“That was a huge play,” Miller said.

Haught took the ball down the floor and found Kaiser open under the basket.

“That is something we work on all the time,” Haught said. “I knew I was going to get it to Evan (Kaiser).”

Kaiser put it in to put Troy up 61-59 with 25 seconds to go.

“I can’t say I knew we were going to win,” Kaiser said. “But, that play gave us a big boost.”

After a stop at the Sidney end, Miller was fouled with 8.3 seconds to go.

Knowing he needed to make both to make it a four-point game, Miller calmly hit both to finish a 7-for-7 game from the line.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Miller said. “I have made big free throws before.”

A desperation Sidney shot was off the mark and Troy ran the clock out.

“This a big win,” Hess said. “But, the thing is we have come back tomorrow when we get in the gym and keep getting better.”

Troy showed some nerves early —starting two freshman and a sophomore — and Sidney had a 29-17 lead late in the first half.

Haught scored eight points down the stretch as Troy closed with 33-29 at halftime.

“I just wanted to come in and energize the team,” Haught said.

Sidney was leading 44-40 late in the third quarter, when Miller had a 3-point play to get Troy within 44-43.

Troy had a 53-50 lead midway through the fourth quarter after a Miller basket on a Kaiser assist and freshman Brady O’Leary hitting a 3-pointer.

Sidney would rally before Troy scored the game’s final seven points for the win.

Miller led Troy with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Haught had 12 points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocks shots; Kaiser scored 11 points and had three assists and O’Leary finished with 10 points.

Aiden Luis and Isaac Burns both scored five points.

A’Zon Steele led Sidney with 19 points and Davis added 16 points.

Ethan New scored nine, Julie Spradling netted eight points and Jayce Daniel added seven points.

Troy was 24 of 55 from the floor for 44 percent, including two of 13 from long range for 15 percent. The Trojans made 13 of 15 free throws for 87 percent.

Sidney was 26 of 56 from the floor for 46 percent, including four of 10 on 3-pointers for 40 percent. The Jackets converted three of eight free throws for 38 percent.

Sidney won the battle of the boards 30-26, but had 13 turnovers to Troy’s 10.

Troy has a big game with Miami East at home Tuesday night.

“This was a credit to the kids and all the work they have put in,” Hess said. “Not just practice, but everything they did in the off-season to get ready for this season. All the umpteen hours they put in.”

To make a big statement in the season opener.

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

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