Troy boys basketball improves to 2-0 with win over West Carrollton


TROY — Troy boys basketball coach Mark Hess wouldn’t say it, but Friday night’s win over West Carrollton — a team picked by many to win the MVL this year — was an early season statement win.

If not that, at the very least it sent a message that Troy — with four new faces in the starting lineup — has advanced from a work in progress very quickly.

Troy advanced to 2-0 overall and in the MVL with a 66-55 win, while West Carrollton dropped to 1-1 overall and in the MVL.

“That’s two in a row,” Hess said. “Really, I just feel like this was a good team win. I know we talked about it at Greenville. We got off to a slow start Tuesday and we talked about how long it would take to come together.”

The answer is pretty quickly.

And there were a number of keys to the win.

Junior guards Isaac Phillips, Nick Prince, Noah Davis and Konyae Foster all hit big shots in combing for 49 points.

But, maybe as big as anything was the physical presence 6-foot-6 senior post Zach King brings to the floor.

After limiting Greenville’s DJ Zimmer to five points Tuesday, he frustrated 6-foot-7 West Carrollton post Sam Walker all night Friday night.

Coming off a big opening game, Walker had just nine points and 12 rebounds — with six of those points coming in the first quarter when the Pirates took a 22-17 lead.

“Zach (King) has had back-to-back tough defensive assignments,” Hess said. “And he has stepped up to every challenge. Sam Walker was coming off 23 points and 15 rebounds in the opener. Zach did (have him frustrated). Zach does a lot of the dirty work. He does so many things for us that don’t show up in the scorebook.”

Troy took its first lead at 26-24 on a 3-pointer from Phillips, who scored 14 points in the opening half.

The Trojans would trailed only once after that.

Troy led 34-30 at the half and a 3-pointer by Konyae Foster made it 38-32 early in the third quarter.

But, with Troy leading leading 40-32, West Carrollton ran off nine points in a little over a minute to take a 41-40 lead.

Prince answered with an NBA 3-pointer and added two free throws after being fouled on an offensive rebound to make it 45-41.

“Isaac (Phillips) and Nick (Prince) are just playing with so much confidence,” Hess said. “They hit big shots and that is confidence.”

Davis knocked down a big 3-pointer from the corner early in the fourth quarter to stretch a 48-46 lead to 51-46.

Three points is as close as the Pirates could get as Troy opened a double-digit lead late in the game.

“That was a huge shot by Noah (Davis) from the corner,” Hess said. “I looked at the coaches and said that is confidence. Because, Noah (Davis) knocked down those shots all summer. Confidence comes from repetitions and work in the summer.”

Phillips finished with 19 points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists for the Trojans, while Prince had 18 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Davis scored 12 points and had six rebounds, Foster added 10 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals and King added six points, six rebounds and three assists, while Charlie Walker and Evan Kaiser also provided valuable minutes.

Trey Dennis had 16 points for West Carrollton and Javen Vaughn added 10 points, six assists and four steals.

Ronald Douds had eight points and three steals.

Troy hit 18 of 46 shots from the floor for 39 percent, including six of 13 from 3-point range for 46 percent. The Trojans converted 24 of 37 free throws for 65 percent.

West Carrollton made 21 of 43 shots for 49 percent, including four of eight from long range for 50 percent. The Pirates struggled at the line — hitting just nine of 23 for 39 percent.

Troy won the battle of the boards 35-23 and had 14 turnovers to the Pirates 17.

“I am just so happy for these guys,” Hess said. “These guys work so hard this summer and it is great to see them rewarded (with a big win).”

And the Trojans will look to follow it up Tuesday, when Xenia visits for another MVL game.

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