By Josh Brown
TROY — After missing an early 3-pointer, Troy Christian’s Grant Zawadzki clapped his hands in frustration.
He only had to wait one more attempt to make school history.
Zawadzki buried his next 3-point attempt, giving him seven first-quarter points and in the process making the junior point guard the first player in Troy Christian boys basketball history to score 1,000 points in his career with 1,001 at that point. He finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists to lead the Eagles to a 62-38 victory over Metro Buckeye Conference rival Yellow Springs Tuesday night at Troy Christian.
After the game, he admitted he knew the milestone was coming — and even that he knew that first missed shot would have done it.
“Yeah, I did. I knew,” Zawadzki said. “I probably shouldn’t have, but I did. Before the game, I was just telling myself to let the game come to me and that it (the milestone) would come eventually. But it felt good to get off my shoulders early.”
He’s also the fourth player in the Zawadzki family to crack the 1,000-point mark.
“My grandfather (Ray Sr.)did it, my dad (Ray Jr.) did it and my brother (Kellen) did it,” Grant said. “It feels pretty good. It’s always been one of those milestones I’ve wanted because they all did it, too, so it’s neat to be in their group.”
Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki — who was an assistant coach for Tippecanoe High School when his son Kellen hit the 1,000-point mark — had the privilege of coaching another son to the milestone.
“There are many challenges to coaching your kid … but there’s also a lot of rewards,” a beaming Ray Jr. said. “He puts so much time into developing his skills that most of my work is helping him develop his leadership skills. Because we don’t want him just to be a good player on the court, we want him to be a man of God that will lead his family one day.”
Once the milestone was out of the way, the Eagles (11-1, 5-0 MBC) were able to get down to business on the floor, too.
Yellow Springs (1-10, 0-5) kept things as close as 15-8 early in the second quarter before the Eagles — and Spencer Thomas specifically — went on a run. Thomas scored nine straight points to put Troy Christian up 24-8 and force a Bulldog timeout.
“Spencer is very capable,” Ray Zawadzki said. “He’s a three-year starter, and the kid can play. When you give him a little space and he hits one, it’s like turning on the heater in your car — he’s just instantly going to get hot.”
But Yellow Springs was able to keep things tight with an eight-point run of its own, and at halftime it was a 10-point game at 26-16.
“It’s a 10-point game, and they’re going into the locker room jumping up and down,” Ray Zawadzki said. “We know we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. We just have to continue to stay with what we do well and keep pounding it until it breaks the opponent down. We’ve got a lot of weapons that make us hard to guard.”
And in the third, those weapons broke the Bulldogs down as the Eagles outscored them 23-8 to take complete control. Thomas hit a pair of 3s and Zawadzki piled up seven points and four rebounds in the quarter, and Yellow Springs simply couldn’t answer.
“We shot the ball pretty poorly in the first half,” Grant Zawadzki said. “We were settling for good shots, not great ones. In the second half, we started attacking, getting in-to-out 3s that are higher percentage and just got to the rim.”
Thomas finished with 17 points and five rebounds in the game as the Eagles dominated the glass 33-18 — including 15 offensive rebounds. Dusty Poteet added eight points and four rebounds, Logan George had six points and a team-high eight rebounds and Travis Sloan chipped in six points.
Aaron Horn scored four points, while Nathanael Boone added three points, four rebounds and five blocked shots.
The win also leads into one of the biggest weekends of the season for the Eagles. Troy Christian puts its 20-game MBC winning streak on the line Friday at home against Dayton Christian, who comes into the game tied for the conference lead at 5-0. Then Saturday the Eagles — the No. 7 team in the state in Division IV — host undefeated Tri-Village, the No. 5 team in D-IV, in a rematch of last year’s regional final.
“We’ve scouted them both, we’re prepared, and we know how big this weekend is,” Ray Zawadzki said. “The kids will be ready to play.”
Yellow Springs — 38
Bryce White 2-0-4, Liam Weigand 3-1-8, Ethan Dewine 1-0-2, Kaner Butler 5-2-12, Devan Perry 1-2-4, Joe Plumer 0-0-0, Isaiah Taylor 3-2-8. Totals: 15-7-38.
Troy Christian — 62
Holden Varvel 0-0-0, Aaron Horn 2-0-4, Spencer Thomas 7-0-17, Logan George 2-2-6, Derek Spencer 0-0-0, Dusty Poteet 4-0-8, Travis Sloan 2-1-6, Nathanael Boone 0-3-3, Grant Zawadzki 6-5-18. Totals: 23-11-62.
Score By Quarters
YS6 16 24 38
TC13 26 49 62
3-point goals: Yellow Springs — Weigand. Troy Christian — Thomas 3, Sloan, Zawadzki.
Records: Yellow Springs 1-10, 0-5. Troy Christian 11-1, 5-0.