By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Shaeden Olden missed the first nine games of last season with a freak non-basketball related injury.
He wants to make up for lost time now.
“I was hoping this was what was going to happen last year, but something stopped me,” said the Troy junior. “It’s adversity, and I’ve just got to face it. Coming into this season, I just know that the team is together, and we’re ready to work.”
Olden had a double-double with a game-high 17 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday night as the Troy boys basketball team bounced back from its first loss of the season to defeat Xenia 52-46 in Miami Valley League crossover play at the Trojan Activities Center.
Olden also added four assists, but it was his rebounding that was the difference as Troy won the battle of the boards 35-30 — and five of Olden’s 14 rebounds came on the offensive end, typically leading to second-chance points.
“I talked to some of my teammates before the game, let them know we had to box out and get to the boards, because that was what was going to win the game, those second chances that we could get and no second-chance points for them.”
“When we watched our tape from Friday night (a loss to West Carrollton), we didn’t think we were very aggressive on the offensive boards,” Troy coach Mark Hess said. “The way Shaeden played tonight, he kind of took that on himself. He was a monster on the offensive glass. He was really aggressive, and when he’s aggressive, we’re a lot better. He did a good job of getting on the glass and getting us second chances to get some easy ones or get to the line.”
And if anyone knows about second chances, it’s the Trojans.
Troy improved to 3-1 on the season, the team’s best start in its first four games in almost a decade, and 1-1 in the MVL Miami Division. And while last year, the Trojans finished 10-13, posting their first double-digit wins season since 2011-12, one of last year’s losses came to Xenia (0-4, 0-3 MVL Valley Division) — which, granted, was led by last year’s Mr. Basketball Ohio Samari Curtis at the time, who has since graduated.
Still, the Buccaneers kept pace with Troy early Tuesday thanks to freshman Shawn Thigpen, who hit a pair of first-quarter 3s and scored 10 points in the opening eight minutes. But Olden grabbed a defensive rebound and hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Trojans an 18-16 lead after one, and Troy never relinquished the lead from there.
Troy kept that momentum going in the second, though, as Austin Stanaford turned a steal into a transition dunk to kick off the quarter and energize the team even more, then Jaden Owens hit a jumper and Olden scored on a putback to give the Trojans a 24-16 lead and finish off an 11-0 run. An offensive rebound by Olden on a missed free throw led to a Stanaford 3-pointer to give the Trojans a 10-point lead at 28-18, and Troy built a 32-21 halftime lead.
Xenia finished the game 20 for 55 (36 percent) from the field, including scores of missed layups and point-blank shots from the second quarter on — and Troy’s rebounding edge made that hurt.
“We got fortunate,” Hess said. “We didn’t start off well defensively, and they were able to get some easy looks. I thought our help got a little bit better as the game went on, and in the second and third quarter we were able to rebound their misses a bit better.”
Xenia fought back in the third quarter, though, outrebounding Troy 10-4 in the quarter to close the gap to 40-34 heading into the fourth. The Bucs got to within four at one point, but Olden grabbed a rebound and hit Owens for a fast-break layup, then Owens hit an open Olden for 3 to push the lead back to 48-39 to help seal the win.
“We were able to get stops and able to get out in transition,” Hess said. “That’s when we’re at our best. We can’t run with our break if we don’t get stops.”
After Olden, Owens scored had 14 points, Tre Archie added eight points, eight rebounds and three assists, Stanaford finished with five points, Landyn Henry and Charlie Walker had three apiece and Andrew Holley scored two.
Thigpen was held in check the rest of the game and finished with 13 points to lead Xenia after scoring only nine points in his first three games combined. Kevin Johnson had 10 points and 11 rebounds, Gavin Gerhardt had 10 points, Matthew Caupp added six, Cameron McFarland had three and Kenji Ward and Isaiah Hoyt each had two.
The last time the Trojans were 3-1 was the 2011-12 season, which was also the last time they won a division title and reached the district final as the team went 17-7 that year. Troy travels to Fairborn Friday.
“For us, it’s good to grind out a win,” Hess said. “We’ve got to learn how to win. Making winning plays down the stretch, we weren’t great, but we when our backs were against the ropes we were able to get stops when we needed, scores when we needed. That was a good learning experience for us to grind that out.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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