Troy boys basketball goes to 5-0 with win at Butler


VANDALIA — They say it is not how you start, but how you finish.

And did the Troy boys basketball team ever finish Tuesday night at the Vandalia SAC against Butler.

The Trojans outpointed Butler 19-9 in the third quarter and scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to stretch a 26-19 halftime lead to 54-28 en route to a 57-37 win in MVL action.

Troy improved to 5-0 overall and in the MVL, while Butler dropped to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the MVL.

“The third quarter has been our quarter all year,” Troy coach Mark Hess said. “I don’t know what it is.”

If you ask Nick Prince — who led the Trojans with 13 points it is all abut the defense.

And he would get no argument from Hess.

The Trojans forced Butler into 22 turnovers, while holding them to 36 percent shooting from the floor.

“We lost to them (Butler) twice last year,” Prince said. “So, it was definitely a good to beat them. I think it was our intensity on defense. I mean they only scored 37 points. And once we get going on defense, there really is no stopping us (on offense).”

While Butler prefers to be patient on offense, Troy forced them to play much faster than they wanted to in the second half.

“We knew they would prefer to keep the game in the 40s,” Hess said. “We wanted a higher scoring game. Our goal was to get to 60 points. We didn’t quite get to 60, but we were close.”

Noah Davis had all seven of his points in the third quarter, while Isaac Phillips scored five and Konyae Foster hit a 3-pointer.

Then, Troy stretched the lead to 26 points in the fourth quarter and cruised to the win.

While, Troy is 5-0 in the MVL, Tipp opened with a win Tuesday in its first game and Piqua is 3-1 after knocking off West Carrollton.

Sidney is 4-1 after a win over Xenia Tuesday.

“The kids put the work in to get to this point,” Hess said. “They have worked really hard and put a lot of work in over the summer. Right now, we are in about as good a position as anybody.”

And the next two games will be big for the Trojans with Sidney visiting Friday, before Troy travels to Tippecanoe Tuesday.

“This part of the schedule is always a grind,” Hess said. “That is going to be a challenge Friday night.”

Ironically, the first half of the first quarter started like a lot of games at the SAC for visitors.

Troy missed its first six shots and Butler was in front 7-2.

“I don’t know what it is about the first quarter,” Hess said. “But, we have struggled in the first quarter.”

Then, Foster hit what may have been the two biggest shots of the game.

He buried a 3-pointer from outside and scored on a drive to the basket and the game was tied 7-7.

“It is always big when Konyae (Foster) hits a three,” Hess said. “They have to come out and close on him and it opens things up for him to do other things.”

It started a 24-12 run to close the first half — a trend that continued throughout the second half.

“We knew if we just kept playing defense, the shots would fall,” Prince said.

Phillips scored nine of his 11 points in the second half and Kellen Miller finished with 11 points to join Prince in double figures.

Foster had eight points, Davis seven and Hollis Terrell scored six points, while creating havoc on defense.

“Hollis (Terrill) is active out there,” Hess said. “He does (do a lot of things). We have played well as a team all year. It is a different guy every night.”

Tristen Vaandervort had 11 points for Butler and Evan Ables had 10 points and five rebounds.

A.J. Holdeman scored five points, Dion Oliver had five rebounds and Derek Motter had three assists and two blocked shots.

Now, Troy gets ready Sidney Friday night — looking for another big finish.

You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]

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