TROY — At first, Troy girls basketball coach Jeremy Hughes said it didn’t matter how his team won the season opener against Greenville in MVL action at the Trojan Activity Center.
Then, he changed his mind in talking about a rally in the fourth quarter that led to a 48-44 overtime win.
“Actually, I am glad we won the way we did,” Hughes said. “I think it was good not to play our best and be down and be able to win a game like that.”
After leading 20-15 at halftime, the Trojans were outscored 13-3 in the third quarter and found themselves trailing 35-26 with just 4:32 remaining in the game.
“It didn’t look good (at that point),” Hughes said. “But, I thought one of the keys was us sticking to our game plan.”
The comeback started with a 3-point play by Mackenzie Rogers off a Kiyah Baker assist to make it 35-29.
Still trailing 36-29, Brynn Siler hit two free throws for the Trojans.
Back-to-back baskets by Baker on drives to the basket pulled Troy within 36-35 with 1:34 remaining.
“We haven’t had post play like that in awhile,” Hughes said. “I thought Kiyah Baker really stepped up for us tonight.”
Megan Lind scored to put Greenville up 38-35 with 1:02 remaining, before Amyannah Tucker brought the Trojans back.
First, she scored with 25 seconds to go on a putback of her own miss to make it 38-37.
After Skylar Fletcher hit one of two free throws with 14.7 seconds left to make it 39-37, Tucker was fouled on a drive to the basket with 3.3 seconds to go.
She calmly hit both free throws to tie the game 39-39.
“Amyannah (Tucker) just showed so much poise out there,” Hughes said. “There was never a thought that she was going to miss either one of those free throws.”
Greenville threw the ball away on the inbounds and Troy had a shot to win it at the buzzer, but it was off the mark.
“Now, that was a surprise that we would be in position to actually have a shot to win it,” Hughes said.
Tucker scored seven of Troy’s nine points in the extra period.
After Siler hit one of two free throws, Greenville’s Minaxi Pandey hit a 3-pointer to give the Wave its last lead at 42-40.
It took Tucker just 25 seconds to answer with a three of her own to put Troy back in front.
“We had called the play a couple times earlier,” Hughes said. “It was just perfectly executed.”
After Baker hit one of two free throws to make it 44-42, Troy was running down the clock in the final minute.
The Trojans missed a shot with 30 seconds to go, but freshman Landry Niles was able to get the offensive rebound.
Tucker then hit four straight free throws down the stretch to finish off the win.
“I just thought she (Amyannah Tucker) was really poised out there,” Hughes said.
Tucker led Troy with 23 points and seven rebounds and Baker had 12 points and five rebounds.
Niles and Siler also had five rebounds each.
Pandey had 16 points for Greenville and Josie Camacho added eight points.
Lind pulled down 15 rebounds.
Troy was 15 of 49 from the floor for 31 percent and 16 of 22 from the line for 73 percent.
Greenville was 13 of 38 from the floor for 34 percent and 12 of 25 from the line for 48 percent.
The Wave won the battle of the boards 32-28, but had 18 turnovers to Troy’s 14.
“I know we fouled a lot,” Hughes said. “But, watching the Eaton game, Skylar Fletcher had scored a lot in transition and we were able to take that away. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as I thought we would tonight.”
But, it all added up to a 1-0 start in the end.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]