By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — As his team began its second run through division play, first-year Troy boys basketball coach Mark Hess just wanted to see improvement from the first meeting.
“The second time through, you want to see that we’ve gotten better,” Hess said. “That first game at Greenville? Was a lot different than this one.”
After a slow start, the Trojans dominated the Green Wave Tuesday night at the Trojan Activities Center, taking charge with a 16-0 first-half run and keeping their foot on the gas all the way through in a 55-27 victory to complete a season sweep of Miami Valley League Miami Division rival Greenville.
Troy, which defeated Greenville by 10, 62-52, in the second game of the season back on Dec. 3, 2019, improved to 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the MVL Miami with the win. Greenville, which fell to 2-10 and 0-10 in division play, was held to its season-low point total on the night.
“I’ll be honest. I left practice last night, and I didn’t know how much better we were, because I see us every day,” Hess said. “But obviously, these two games were very different, so I’ll sleep a bit better knowing that we played better this game than we did the first time against them. I feel like we’re making steps in the right direction.”
And that direction has led the Trojans up the division ladder and has them tied with 6-3 Tippecanoe for first place. Where Troy has won two straight, defeating rival Piqua Friday night and Greenville Tuesday, the Red Devils have lost back-to-back games to Butler and MVL Valley Division leader Stebbins.
But for the first 6:30 Tuesday night, Troy didn’t look like it had come very far as it struggled to shoot the basketball, allowing Greenville to take a 7-3 lead.
“The last two games, we’ve started bad,” Hess said. “Maybe bad’s not the right word — we’ve started with a lack of energy. We kind of did it Friday at Piqua, and tonight, our cuts weren’t hard, we weren’t running our zone offense, we took quick shots and they didn’t go down. But we finally got a bucket and could set up our pressure.”
And after that, it was all over.
Tre Archie scored on a drive to kick off Troy’s run, then a steal by Andrew Holley led to a layup by Shaeden Olden to tie the score. A steal and layup by Archie gave Troy its first lead, then Austin Stanaford hit a 3 to put the Trojans up 12-7 after the first quarter — a 9-0 run in the quarter’s final 1:30.
Troy continued to pour it on to start the second, taking a 19-7 lead before a layup by Marcus Wood finally ended the Trojans’ run at 16 points. But Troy ran off another 10-0 run after that to go up 29-9, eventually built a 34-11 halftime lead and were never challenged again.
In the end, Troy forced 23 Greenville turnovers while only committing six.
“We were able to turn them over, speed them up and get them into the game we wanted,” Hess said. “When you’re not scoring, it’s tough to set up your pressure. And our pressure was really, really key tonight.
“We didn’t turn it over much tonight, which has been an Achilles heel for us. When we’re forcing turnovers and not turning it over ourselves, we’re a pretty good team. And tonight we were really able to speed them up and score off our defense.”
Troy also finished with a 27-21 rebounding advantage despite the Wave’s edge in the first 6:30. Once Olden began attacking the boards, though, Troy quickly erased any advantage Greenville had. Olden finished with a game-high 18 points — 15 coming in the first half — and added 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the year and his third straight.
“He’s a monster on the glass,” Hess said of Olden. “When he is aggressive getting on the glass, we’re really good, and he played aggressive on the glass tonight. He got a handful of buckets on putbacks, and we play off of his energy. It was good to see him playing at the level he can play at.”
And even with the big halftime lead, the Trojans continued to play strong, building a lead as big as 32 at 49-17 early in the fourth quarter before beginning to substitute liberally, and still the closest the Wave could get was 26 at 51-25.
“That’s a challenge, and that was our talk at Piqua, too, being up 19 at half. And we haven’t been great playing with the lead,” Hess said. “And it’s tough, because you can’t replicate that in practice. But God gave us a gift, we had another opportunity to get better at it — and I thought we were better tonight at extending our lead a bit.”
After Olden’s big night for the Trojans, Andrew Holley had eight points off the bench, Archie finished with six points and three assists, Stanaford and Jaden Owens each had five points, Landyn Henry had four points and three assists, Ryan Davis had three points and Elijah Reynolds, Hollis Terrell and Charlie Walker each had two points.
Tyler Beyke led Greenville with 12 points, Wood had four points and six rebounds, D.J. Zimmer had four points, Foster Cole had three points and Alec Fletcher and Mason Wykes each scored two.
Troy will truly get to see how much it has improved Friday, traveling to West Carrollton with a chance to avenge one of its three league losses.
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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