By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The Miami East girls basketball team has been busy in the new season’s first few days — so busy that it really didn’t have much time to prepare for Wednesday’s matchup at Troy.
“Playing Friday, playing Saturday, practice Monday, playing Tuesday, we didn’t have time to work on some changes we wanted to make,” Miami East coach Bruce Vanover said. “And the girls were awesome. We did a quick walkthrough today and talked about the adjustments we were making, and I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the job they did.”
The Vikings hit three first-quarter 3-pointers to take control and only turned the ball over six times in the game, while the Trojans battled all night long but simply struggled to execute on the offensive end in a 47-38 loss to non-league rival Miami East Wednesday at the Trojan Activities Center.
“We got outplayed,” Troy coach Aaron Johnson said. “We got out-hustled, we got out-executed. They came with desire and intensity, and we tried to bob and weave, took a couple punches and tried to punch back, and in the end their unit executed as a team, and we didn’t.
“Give them credit — they outplayed us. I think they wanted it more. They beat us to every loose ball, and when it was coming off the rim, they had two or three girls on it. We weren’t aggressive and we weren’t fundamental — but there was a lot that can be fixed. I think watching this tape, there will be some things we can look at and fix.”
Miami East recovered from back-to-back losses to improve to 2-2 with the win, claiming its seventh straight win over the Trojans. Troy, which fell to 1-1, hasn’t defeated the Vikings since a 40-37 win on Jan. 8, 2011.
“We’ve been playing man-to-man, but we got beat by quickness the last two games,” Vanover said. “Of course, we’ve always got the 1-2-2 (zone) in our back pocket, and we decided it gave us the best chance to pinch down on Tia (Bass) and keep Macie and MaKenna (Taylor) in our sights wherever they went. We wanted to make sure we limited Tia’s opportunities, because she’s a nice player.”
After Miami East’s Camryn Miller and Troy’s MaKenna Taylor traded 3s to kick off the game, Kayly Fetters and Rori Hunley hit back-to-back 3s to put the Vikings in charge. With East leading 15-7, though, Troy’s Bass scored on a putback and Macie Taylor hit a 3 to cut the deficit to 15-12 after one.
A jumper by Macie Taylor tied the score at 16-16 with 4:00 left in the first half, but Miller answered with another 3 and then knocked down a third one to book-end a 10-2 Viking run and put east up 26-18. Macie Taylor converted a three-point play, but Fetters hit a jumper to give the Vikings a 28-21 halftime lead.
“We had shot the same amount of 3s in the first three games — we just didn’t hit them,” Vanover said. “We told the girls you’ve just got to believe in what you’re doing and shoot when you’re open.”
Fetters continued pour in shots, scoring eight more points in the third quarter as the Vikings led by as many as 11 at 37-26 and carried a 41-32 lead into the final quarter. A late 3 by Laura Borchers got Troy within six points at 44-38 with 54.1 seconds to play, but Paxton Hunley went 3 for 4 from the free throw line and the Trojans committed turnovers on both of its possessions in the final minute, and the Vikings put away the win.
Fetters led the Vikings with a game-high 17 points and five rebounds, Miller finished with nine points, Rori Hunley scored eight, Cadence Gross had seven points and seven rebounds, Paxton Hunley added five points and Kyleigh Kirby had one point. In the end, East won the turnover battle 22-6 but was outrebounded 33-31.
“We still have some youthfulness, but the girls did a nice job of starting to click a little bit tonight and showing the potential we’ve got,” Vanover said. “We’ve just got to keep going out and proving it every night and keep getting better.”
“There wasn’t much they did that surprised us tonight. It just comes down to executing. They executed a gameplan, and we didn’t,” Johnson said. “There were times when we did, but there were also times where we went off script. We don’t have that consistency yet. Tonight, in this game, it was about finding five girls to play together, and we didn’t have five girls on the same page tonight.
“I think we are capable of beating them, but tonight we were not.”
Macie Taylor and Bass both finished with double-doubles to lead Troy, with Macie Taylor posting 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists and Bass adding 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. MaKenna Taylor added nine points, Laura Borchers had three points and Brynn Siler had one point.
Miami East plays its fifth of six road games to begin the season Saturday at West Liberty-Salem, while Troy closes out its three-game homestand on Dec. 4 with a matchup against division rival Greenville.
“It’s still early in the season. This was game No. 2, not No. 19,” Johnson said. “We start league play on Wednesday, and our goal is still to win the league.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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