By Josh Brown
TROY —Throughout Tuesday’s game against Sidney, Troy had plenty of chances to put the game on ice and just couldn’t do it.
Until the end.
After the Yellowjackets had closed to within four with a minute to play, Austin Persinger connected on a free throw and Tre Hudson stole the ball and hit Austin Kyzer for a wrap-it-up layup, and even though a Sidney 3 cut it back to four with 10 seconds to play, it was too little, too late as the Trojans celebrated the end of their five-game losing streak with a 58-52 victory Tuesday at the Trojan Activities Center.
“We made some big shots down the stretch and a couple of free throws that forced them into a few extra possessions needed to get back into it,” Troy coach Tim Miller said. “Our kids did a great job on the defensive end and rebounding the ball — that was the difference-maker in the game.”
And one of the biggest sequences in the game came after a rebound, too.
After Troy (3-11, 1-5 Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division) had built a 30-24 lead in the third quarter, Austin Funderburg pulled down a tough defensive rebound, and the refs called Sidney’s player for a foul. He said the wrong thing after the whistle and was given a technical, Hudson sank the two free throws and then hit a layup on the ensuing possession to blow the lead up to 10 points. A Hudson steal then led to a layup by Taren Kinnel, and Troy led by 12 — its biggest edge of the game.
“That was a big, big swing for us there,” Miller said. “It (rebounding) was a point of emphasis for us this week. We saw some things against them that we thought we could work into our favor. We thought we could get to the offensive glass especially.”
Troy held a 43-33 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Sidney (3-12, 0-6 GWOC North) chipped away and chipped away until a 3 by Eric Beigel made it 53-49 with one minute left on the clock.
And that’s when the Trojans finally iced it.
“We’ve been preaching and praying and pleading for four quarters of basketball all year,” Miller said. “But we’d always have that one quarter where we’d score only four or five or six points. It’s hard to win a high school basketball game when you get that kind of low productivity in one quarter. When we dig ourselves into holes, it’s tough to dig out.”
But Troy didn’t need to do any digging Tuesday, as it only trailed after Sidney made the game’s first shot. From there, along with three ties, the Trojans led the whole way.
“The kids needed the confidence booster,” Miller said. “Attitudes have been good and they’ve been practicing hard, but it still gets a little demoralizing when you’re unable to finish basketball games.”
Tuesday, the Trojans finished.
The game began sloppy, with both teams turning it over on their first two possessions and then trading blown fast breaks back and forth until Beigel finally hit a 3 to put Sidney on the board. But Kyzer answered with the first of his two first-half 3s to tie things up, and a Kinnel steal-and-layup gave Troy the lead.
Sidney fought back to tie the score at 5-5 and again at 10-10, but the Trojans never relinquished the lead. Troy also scored the last five points of the first quarter, with Persinger scoring inside to make it 12-10 and then Kyzer hitting a 3 at the buzzer to give the Trojans a five-point lead.
Austin Funderburg then made a tough play to kick off the second quarter. He took a pass from Hudson but had the ball stripped, stuck with it, got the ball back, scored and drew a foul to convert a three-point play and finish off an 8-0 run to give Troy its biggest lead of the half at 18-10.
Troy had plenty of chances to put the game away in the second, forcing seven Sidney turnovers and only committing one. But the Jackets fought back and cut the lead to one at 18-17 after a long jumper by Gold Barnes, holding the Trojans scoreless for more than four minutes until a baseline jumper by Hudson finally woke them back up and made it 20-17. A Persinger putback and a free throw following another offensive rebound by Persinger made it 23-20 at the half.
Troy simply had the more balanced offense on the night, with three players finishing in double figures and one just on the verge. Hudson led all scorers with 16 points — nine coming in the third quarter — and added four rebounds and five assists. Kyzer scored 14 points, Funderburg had 10 points and six rebounds and Kinnel ended up with nine. Persinger chipped in six points and six rebounds.
“The guys did a nice job of looking for each other tonight,” Miller said. “In earlier games, we’d take the quick shot or try to force something in transition. Tonight we got the extra pass, reversed the ball and found the open man. Tonight we did a good job.”
Beigel led Sidney with 15 points, Cameron Gallimore added 14 and Darryl McNeal had eight points and nine rebounds.
Troy remains at home Friday night, hosting Butler in GWOC North play.
“Hopefully, this is a turning point for us to help us get over the hump,” Miller said. “This was a win we can build off of.”
Sidney — 52
Darryl McNeal 3-2-8, Cameron Gillimore 6-0-14, Lorenzo Taborn 1-1-3, Travious Burns 0-0-0, Tyren Cox 1-0-2, Jalen Herd 2-2-6, Gold Barnes 2-0-4, Eric Beigel 5-2-15. Totals: 20-7-52.
Troy — 58
Luke Manis 0-0-0, Austin Kyzer 5-2-14, Connor Super 0-0-0, Tre Hudson 6-4-16, Zach Thompson 1-0-3, Romello Yaqub 0-0-0, Taren Kinnel 4-0-9, Camren Adkins 0-0-0, Austin Persinger 2-2-6, Austin Funderburg 3-4-10. Totals: 21-12-58.
Score By Quarters
Sidney10 20 33 52
Troy15 23 43 58
3-point goals: Sidney — Gallimore 2, Beigel 3. Troy — Kyzer 2, Thompson, Kinnel.
Records: Sidney 3-12, 0-6. Troy 3-11, 1-5.
JV score: Troy 44, Sidney 41 OT.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 440-5251 or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.