By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — After a one-point loss at Butler in the first meeting, the Troy girls basketball team wanted to make a statement.
“We’re not the same team we were in December,” Troy coach Aaron Johnson said.
The Trojans aren’t even the same team they were six games ago.
Macie Taylor and Tia Bass both had double-doubles as Troy shot close to 50 percent from the field and obliterated the Aviators on the boards Saturday at the Trojan Activities Center, helping Troy win its fifth straight in a 64-47 Miami Valley League Miami Division victory.
With the win, Troy improved to 10-7 overall and 9-5 in the MVL Miami Division. Butler, meanwhile, fell to 12-5 overall and 11-3 in division play, three games behind first-place Tippecanoe with four division games to play.
And again, for the Trojans, the turning point seems to be the overtime loss to Piqua that preceded the winning streak.
“I’m happy the way the girls have taken coaching the past couple weeks, and that’s making a big difference. And it’s nothing I have done — they have started to own it,” Johnson said. “We talked about the Piqua game, and I saw the emotion in the locker room, that they were upset, and ever since then they are starting to take ownership of it. And that’s the difference. They want it.”
Saturday, Troy got revenge for a 36-35 loss to the Aviators back on Dec. 18, 2019 with its biggest offensive output of the season against a Butler team known for its defense. In fact, the last time Butler allowed that many points was in December of 2017 in a 66-30 loss to Tippecanoe.
“We watched our first game against Butler and saw that, in the first half, we didn’t execute as well, and that led to a lot of easy layups and transition points for Butler,” Johnson said. “In the second half of that game, we tried to run our offense and executed, and they only scored 11 points in that half — and none of them were transition layups. So we thought today, let’s play like we did in that second half.
“We are a better executing team than we were in December. And so we decided to run through our offense. The girls have worked their butts off in practice — I probably called seven or eight different plays today. And we executed.”
Early on, Butler was able to keep pace thanks to Sami Bardonaro’s 13 first-half points, with Troy leading 10-9 after one thanks to six points by Bass — all of them on putbacks. But with the score tied at 17-17 in the second, the Trojans went on a 9-0 run — all of them by Macie Taylor. And to cap off the half, Taylor drove and kicked out to MaKenna Taylor for a buzzer-beating 3 to put Troy up 34-23 at the break. Troy then built a 49-36 lead after three quarters and the Aviators got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Macie Taylor finished with a game-high 25 points and added 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Bass added 17 points and 14 rebounds to help Troy outrebound Butler 38-17 in the game. MaKenna Taylor finished with nine points, Brynn Siler added eight points and seven rebounds and Laura Borchers had three points and four rebounds.
“Macie had a heck of a game,” Johnson said. “Midway through the first quarter, she started penetrating with a purpose, and she started finding open girls. Tia was dominant inside, and Brynn Siler continues to get better.
“Elise McCann is steady and did a great job defensively and handling the ball, Laura Borchers continues to shine and be the glue. And MaKenna Tayor came in in the first half and hit some big freakin’ shots. It was so nice to see her do that, because, in my mind, we’re a totally different beast when MaKenna is a part of things and knocking down shots.”
Bardonaro led the Aviators with 24 points and four rebounds, and Blair Kindrick added 10. Gracie Price had five points, Elaina Burley scored three, Olivia Follick and Ella Neely each had two and Lexi Crawford had one.
“We’ve been talking about four quarters of execution, and that’s what that looks like,” Johnson said. “And I love the fact that we’re peaking now. I’m as happy as can be. Now we’re just trying to correct some mistakes we’ve made in the past.”
Troy travels to Sidney Wednesday to continue its stretch of four straight big division matchups — of which the Trojans lost three the first time around, including a second shot at Piqua.
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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