By Josh Brown
SIDNEY — The Troy girls basketball team momentarily lost its composure, and it cost it the lead late in the fourth quarter.
In the quickest of turnarounds, though, the Trojans immediately regained their composure, retook the lead and put away a division win on the road.
After Sidney converted both free throws after a technical foul to take a one-point lead with 1:02 remaining, Troy’s Jordan Short stole the ensuing inbounds pass and hit a layup to give the lead right back to the Trojans, then another Yellow Jacket turnover led to a Tia Bass bucket, and the defense did not give a good look at a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer as Troy (10-9, 7-5 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) held on for a 36-33 victory Wednesday night at Sidney.
With the win, the Trojans completed a season sweep of the Jackets (2-16, 2-10), also winning 38-31 back on Dec. 9, 2017. And like that game, it took a late rally — albeit a brief one — to seal it.
“We found a way,” Troy coach Aaron Johnson said. “To me, that was the key. They stuck together, and we found a way. We had an ugly win at Bethel Monday, and after that I told them that I’d take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day.”
And the way Troy found was a rollercoaster ride.
Sidney’s defense frustrated Alaura Holycross, the Trojans’ second-leading scorer, all game long, keeping her sidelined in foul trouble by drawing three charges and holding her scoreless until the fourth quarter. She scored two quick buckets inside to give the Trojans their biggest lead of the game at 28-20, but the Jackets rallied and cut the lead to one at 32-31 on an Alina Kindle 3-pointer with less than two minutes to play.
After the Jackets stole the ball, Holycross tried to steal the ball back in transition but was called for a technical foul, and Kindle sank both free throws to put Sidney up 33-32 with 1:02 to play. But the Trojans settled down quickly and got the job done as Short intercepted the in-bounds pass and laid it in to put Troy right back on top, then Bass cashed in on another Jacket turnover to make it a three-point game with 30 seconds remaining.
“It was awesome to see that chain of events, where we go from a technical foul, them shooting and us being down one, to they get the ball and we force two turnovers and score four points. Next thing you know, we go from down one to up three. That was an incredible swing. And I didn’t do anything to cause it — the young ladies did that all on the floor. It was awesome.
“Last year, in that situation, we would’ve folded. After that technical foul put them up one, we probably would have lost that game in the past. But these girls, they kept the faith in one another, played for one another and got it done.”
Sidney had one last chance after Troy missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10.4 seconds left, but the Trojan defense didn’t allow the Jackets to get an open look. Kindle had to give the ball up, and the player that did get off a shot put up an airball that Bass collected to finish off the game.
“I put Jordan on Kindle for a couple reasons,” Johnson said, “She’s a senior captain, and she is tenacious. She wants to win. And I thought Jordy did a great job on her. She’s a great spot-up shooter, so we had Jordy crowd her and force her to put it on the deck. The rest of (Sidney) set screens for her, but the rest of our girls had her back and helped her when she was screened off. That was huge. And that’s what you want, you want your seniors to make plays like that. That’s why she’s a captain.”
Bass — a sophomore who finished with a double-double and led the Trojans with 13 points and 12 rebounds — kept Troy in the game for the first two and a half quarters. She scored seven points and had eight rebounds in the first half alone, helping keep the score tied at 4-4 after one and 12-12 at the half. Then Bass then tied the score twice with putbacks in the third quarter after Sidney had taken the lead.
With the score tied 18-18, Troy got clutch back-to-back shots from long range to take control. MaKenna Taylor found Short open for 3 to put Troy up 21-18, then Bass grabbed a rebound on the defensive end and Kiyha Adkins found Taylor open for 3 to give the Trojans a 24-18 lead, and they carried a 24-20 lead into the fourth.
“We’ve talked about our 3-point shooting. If we can get the ball inside and work it inside out, or if we can move it from side to side, we’re a much better shooting team than catching and shooting,” Johnson said. “But once we get a little ball movement, especially inside out, if we can feed our post then find the open shooters, we’re closer to a 40-percent-shooting team than the 25 percent (3 for 12 from 3-point range) that we were today.”
Short finished with nine points and three assists, Taylor had eight points and three assists, Holycross had four points and five rebounds, Laura Borchers had two points and Valena Robinson had five rebounds as Troy won the rebounding battle 30-21 and the turnover battle 18-17.
Kindle finished with 12 points to lead Sidney, Carly Dean scored seven, Kyana Johnson had six points and five rebounds, Hallie Truesdale had four points, Emma Wiford had two points and six rebounds and Sam Reynolds had two points.
“As ugly as it was and as poor as we shot, we seemed to make some plays when we needed to,” Johnson said. “We executed well and got some great looks but just didn’t put them in the basket. But in that fourth quarter, we just made certain key plays.”
The Trojans return home Saturday for Senior Night, hosting Butler.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.