By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Even after his team missed its first 13 shots from the field, fell behind 12-0 and trailed Troy by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, Sidney girls basketball coach Jamal Foster knew his Yellow Jackets weren’t out of it.
“Basketball is a game of runs, and today was a testament to how we practice,” Foster said. “Our mentality is to just keep battling. There’s four quarters in a game, and we want to play hard from the first to the fourth.”
The Trojans, looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s one-point loss at Butler, started hot Saturday at the Trojan Activities Center, scoring the game’s first 12 points and building a 30-17 lead late in the first half. But the Miami Valley League Valley Division-leading Jackets outscored Troy 12-2 in the third quarter to take a one-point lead into the fourth and forced three turnovers in the final minute to seal a 47-42 crossover victory.
Sidney won its second straight, improving to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the MVL Valley, while Troy fell to 4-5 and 3-3 in MVL Miami play, dropping its second straight in a very similar fashion to its other losses this season.
“We followed the gameplan (at the beginning),” Troy coach Aaron Johnson said. “You saw some execution, you saw us running our offense. That was a little indication of what we are capable of doing if we execute. But after that, it was the same old story — consistency for all four quarters.”
In the end, Troy committed 26 turnovers — 12 of them in the third quarter to help Sidney take the lead before the three costly late-fourth-quarter ones helped the Jackets hold onto it.
“We didn’t take care of the ball and execute the way we should have,” Johnson said. “It’s just one of those things we have to figure out. We’re young, and while their pressure did hurt a bit, we anticipated that and knew it was coming. When we executed our press offense, it didn’t bother us. But when we did not and tried to dribble through some things, that’s when we had issues.
“The press is designed to speed you up, and when we took our time and ran our press offense, we were fine. When they sped us up, they caused havoc and caused turnovers.”
And more often than not, it was freshman Lexee Brewer finishing those turnovers off on the other end. She finished with a team-high 16 points, with 10 of them coming in the first half — all on fast-break layups following Troy turnovers.
“Lexee is starting to come into her own,” Foster said. “She’s playing hard on defense, which kick-starts her on offense. Her defense leads to her offense, and she’s more of a leader by action for us. I know she’s just a freshman and she’s learning every day, we don’t try to put too much pressure on her, but when we were down and out today and couldn’t throw a rock into the ocean, her effort and her play got us back into it. She willed us back into it in that second quarter.”
Troy maintained its lead throughout the second, though, even growing it to 13 points at 30-17 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Macie Taylor. But a fast-break bucket by Brewer at the buzzer cut the lead to 30-21 at the half, and Sidney rode that momentum into the third quarter, finishing off an 11-point run to get to within two points before a drive by Taylor ended the run and made the score 32-28 Troy. Kelsey Kizer hit a 3, though, and then stole the ball and hit Brewer for yet another transition layup to give Sidney its first lead of the game at 33-32 heading into the fourth.
From there, it was a back-and-forth slugfest early in the final quarter. Another 3 gave the Trojans the lead at 39-37 with 3:26 to play, but Kizer answered with a 3 to give the lead back to Sidney and Peyton Wiley drilled her third 3 of the game to extend the lead to 43-39 with 2:35 remaining.
“The freshmen (Brewer and Allie Stockton) get a lot of pub — and rightfully so. They’ve earned it. But Peyton and Kelsey coming into their own changed the dynamic of our team by the way they stretch out the floor,” Foster said. “Peyton plays hard on both ends of the floor, and their development is turning our season around a bit.”
From there, Taylor hit two free throws to get Troy to within two, and the Trojans got the ball back and called timeout with 1:48 to play. But an offensive foul away from the ball wiped away a bucket inside by Tia Bass that would have tied the game, and a pair of Sam Reynolds free throws with 1:00 to play gave Sidney a four-point lead once more. After that, Troy threw away the in-bounds pass, had a 3 by Taylor waved off by another foul away from the ball and had the ball stolen one final time to allow Sidney to hang on.
After Brewer’s 16-point effort, Allie Stockton added 11 points, Wiley finished with 10 and Kizer scored six. Hallie Truesdale had two points and five rebounds and Reynolds had two points and four rebounds.
“That team, compared to the last couple years, is night and day,” Johnson said. “Kudos to coach Foster. Those girls are playing hard as heck for him, and they deserve credit. We were beaten tonight. It wasn’t a thing where we gave it away — their girls outhustled us to every ball, they played with intensity and effort, and we had too many moments where we went through the motions.”
Macie Taylor led all scorers with 17 points and added six rebounds and four assists for the Trojans, while Bass had her fifth straight double-double with 12 points — 10 in the first half — and 13 rebounds. Brynn Siler added six points and 10 rebounds as Troy outrebounded Sidney 39-25, Elise McCann had four points, MaKenna Taylor had two points and four assists and Lily James had one point.
It was Troy’s second game in a row against one of the MVL’s division leaders — and their next one will be against another, as the Trojans travel to Tippecanoe on Dec. 30 to face the MVL Miami co-leaders, the Red Devils.
“At this point, it doesn’t matter who we play. It matters how we play,” Johnson said. “We’re not playing well enough to win a game, no matter the opponent. It’s more about how we’re going to execute and play ourselves. That’s the thing we have to fix.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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