By Josh Brown
URBANA — After trailing by nine with one minute to play, the Troy boys basketball team made enough plays to get back to within two at 51-49 with 15.9 seconds left.
Unfortunately for them, the Trojans needed to make one more play.
Troy threw the ball away while passing it around the perimeter looking for cracks in Urbana’s defense with 6.4 seconds left, and the Hillclimbers hit a free throw — one of many in the fourth quarter — to make it a three-point game with 4.1 seconds remaining. From there, the Trojans’ desperation attempt at a game-tying 3 was partially blocked, and Urbana held on for a 52-49 victory Saturday night at home.
“We had the ball in the corner, in a spot that’s not the best to in-bound from — but we have a play we run from there, and sometimes it’s best in the corner there,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said of the game-deciding play. “The defense is at a disadvantage, too, because they have to guard that area, and it spreads them out a little bit. But we wanted to attack the basket more than we did, and we didn’t. I could’ve called a timeout there, but I let them play, and we turned it over.”
Still, the Trojans — who dropped the second straight game of a three-game road trip and fell to 4-6 — were able to claw their way back into the game late. The score was tied 34-34 heading into the fourth, but Urbana — which won its third straight and improved to 6-5 — began the final quarter on an 8-0 run to take control and built a 51-42 lead with roughly a minute to play.
But Zach Riechelfer hit a jumper with 37.8 seconds left, then Cole Brogan made a hustle play on the defensive end and got found Brenden Kinnel for a fast-break layup and foul with 27.8 seconds left. Kinnel missed the free throw, but Reichelderfer scored a third-chance putback, drew a foul and hit the free throw to cut the lead to 51-49 with 18.5 seconds left.
“I thought we showed a lot of fight,” Bremigan said. “That five-point play was pretty big. And anytime you get that and it brings you back to within one possession, it’s big.”
The Trojans kept fighting, forcing a tie-up on the ensuing Urbana in-bounds play with 15.9 seconds left — but the turnover with 6.4 seconds left proved costly.
In the end, Urbana outscored Troy 18-15 in the fourth quarter to win it but only connected on one field goal, going 16 for 18 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes. All told, Urbana was 22 for 30 from the line in the game, while Troy was only 6 for 12.
“I’d say most definitely,” Bremigan said when asked if Urbana’s free throw shooting late was the deciding factor. “They hit foul shots, and we’ve got to figure out a way to get to the line more. We’re not getting to the line like I’d like to see. When you’re 16 for 18 in a close game, that’s going to be the difference most of the time anyway.”
The game was competitive throughout, with neither team leading by more than four points before the fourth quarter. The score was tied 15-15 after one, and even though Urbana held a slim 27-26 lead at halftime, Troy evened things up again before the fateful fourth quarter at 34-34. And the Trojans did so by connecting from long range, hitting seven 3-pointers in the game — with six of them coming in the first three quarters.
And when Troy did get the ball into the paint, Reichelderfer cashed in, posting a double-double with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. Caillou Monroe and Kinnel both added eight points, Brogan scored seven, Brayden Siler had four and Chris Demeo and Sam Shaneyfelt each scored two.
“We shot the ball better tonight,” Bremigan said. “There was just some times that we weren’t as aggressive as we need to be. We got a good game from Caillou tonight, and my guards played well tonight. They’re coming along.
“They were concentrating on Zach quite a bit and always knew where he was. He made the most of his opportunities — but we needed to get him more opportunities. And I think there were times where he had shots but passed them up, and he just can’t do that. Every game, he’s going to get the majority of the attention. He’s got to realize that when he gets an opportunity, he’s got to take it. He needs to be a little more selfish.”
Levi Boettcher led the Hillclimbers with 15 points and seven rebounds, going 9 for 12 from the free throw line — 7 for 8 in the fourth alone. Dakota Hower added 11 points, Alex Lohnes had 10 points and five rebounds, Brandon Vogel had eight points and Grant Hower and Reid Taylor each scored four.
The Trojans will finish their road trip Tuesday at Fairborn before returning home Friday to host Stebbins.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.