By Josh Brown
TROY — In each of the Troy girls basketball team’s three victories this season, the Trojans have fallen behind in the first quarter.
And even after the Trojans’ biggest comeback yet — a 38-31 victory over Sidney in a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division matchup Saturday at the Trojan Activities Center — Troy coach Aaron Johnson isn’t looking to make that a routine thing.
“Even if it works, that will never be the gameplan. Never,” Johnson said with a laugh. “As a math teacher, that may look like an equation for success right now — but that’s not an equation I’ll be teaching my students. We’re going to leave that one in the textbook. That’s not hitting the board this year.”
And even though it’s likely merely a coincidence, it still seems like a pattern through Troy’s first four games.
Against Springfield Shawnee, Ponitz and then Saturday against Sidney, the Trojans (3-1, 1-1 GWOC American North) have fallen behind in the first quarter — with all of those games being victories. Against Greenville, the Trojans took a big first-quarter lead, only to see it slip away in the second half in the team’s only loss.
“I don’t know what it is, if that’s something that causes us to focus or increase our intensity, being down like that. But maybe while we’re warming up, I’ll see if we can get the scoreboard to say 10-2 visitors,” Johnson added with another laugh.
He and his team certainly weren’t laughing early on Saturday against the Yellow Jackets (0-5, 0-2 GWOC American North), though.
Sidney’s Kyanna Johnson scored six first-quarter points and Alina Kindle and Maddie White each hit a 3 to held stake the Jackets out to a 14-5 lead after one quarter, and Sidney led by as many as 16-5 early in the second.
But the Trojans began to fight back, with Tia Bass scoring five of her seven first-half points in the second quarter and Jordan Short and Kiyha Adkins each hitting 3s to cut the Jackets’ lead to only one at 19-18 with 3:01 left in the half. White hit another 3 to extend the lead again, but Short answered with a 3 of her own, and Troy trailed only by one, 22-21 at the break.
“Sidney’s a good team. They’re not what their indicates,” Johnson said. “They have some young ladies that can flat-out score, and they showed that today. They were knocking down shots. And on the flip side, I don’t think our defense was the level of intensity that I wanted it to be. I think Sidney had more second-chance opportunities than we wanted, and on top of that I think we were a little too impatient offensively, as well.
“If you did a time-of-possession thing in that first half, I bet the ratio would be two-to-one them. But it was nice to see the response in the second quarter.”
That continued in the third as both defenses played tougher, but Carly Dean hit a 3 to put Sidney up 26-21. An Adkins free throw and jumper by Lauren McGraw cut the lead back to two, but the Trojans came up empty on six straight possessions with a chance to tie or take the lead. Sidney’s offense couldn’t cash in, though, and a drive by Adkins with 12 seconds left in the quarter tied the score at 26-26 going into the fourth.
“I think the girls settled in a little bit more,” Johnson said. “Playing without two starters, some other ladies got some opportunities to have to step up. I think there was a little bit of nerves and uneasiness to start out, but it was nice to see them settle in, execute and take care of business.”
A drive by Dana Wynkoop gave the Trojans the lead early in the fourth and a layup by Short put Troy up 30-26, but Sidney’s Johnson converted a three-point play, and a free throw by White tied the score at 30-30 with 3:04 to play.
That’s where things remained until the 1:40 mark, when Laura Borchers cashed in an in-bounds play from under Troy’s basket to put Troy on top for good. A putback and a free throw by Bass gave Troy a 35-30 lead, then Valena Robinson hit three clutch free throws in the final minute to put the game on ice.
“Laura has been solid all year,” Johnson said. “She does so many things that don’t show up in the scorebook, so it’s nice to see her do something that does show up there, with a key basket at a critical time.
“I think our out-of-bounds execution has been pretty good all season, but tonight, there in that fourth quarter, it was pretty outstanding. And that’s a credit to the young ladies executing and setting screens for one another, that unselfish type of play that was lacking some Wednesday against Greenville. I thought we executed really, really well on out-of-bounds plays today.”
Bass finished with a team-high 10 points and nine rebounds for Troy, Adkins scored nine off the bench and Short had eight points and three assists. Robinson finished with five points, while Borchers, Wynkoop and McGraw each had two.
Johnson led Sidney with 12 points, White added seven, Dean scored six and Kindle finished with five.
Troy returns to action Wednesday on the road at Butler.
PIQUA — Tippecanoe ran its unbeaten record to 4-0 Saturday — 2-0 in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play — as the Red Devils routed Piqua on the road, 75-24.
Four Red Devils were in double figures on the day, led by Cali Stewart’s 18 points. Allison Mader added 15 points, Brooke Aselage had 13 and Maddie Frederick scored 12 as Tippecanoe leapt out to a 28-4 lead after one quarter and 41-6 lead at the half en route to the easy win.
Tippecanoe travels to Fort Loramie Monday, the third game of a five-game road trip.
BRADFORD — Newton’s Tatum McBride scored a game-high 24 points Saturday, leading the Indians (3-1, 1-0 Cross Country Conference) to a 49-26 conference victory at Bradford.
Newton hosts Covington Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to kick off a girls-boys doubleheader, while Bradford (2-4, 1-3 CCC) hosts Miami East Dec. 16.
Miami East 37
CASSTOWN — Miami East (4-3) ran into a difficult matchup against non-league rival Versailles Saturday, falling behind 22-9 after the first quarter and never recovering in a 61-37 loss.
Morgan Haney led the Vikings with 18 points, Haley Howard added 11 and Kaitlyn Mack chipped in five.
Miami East hosts Arcanum Thursday.
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union (1-4) couldn’t overcome a struggle of a first half Saturday against visiting Arcanum as the Bulldogs rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit but fell 52-45.
Beyonce Bobbitt led all scorers with 17 points and had a double-double with 13 rebounds, while Kristen Dickison added 11 points, four steals and three assists to help the Bulldogs fight back after they fell behind 25-5 at halftime.
Milton-Union hosts Carlisle Thursday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.