By Josh Brown
VANDALIA — After Troy’s boys basketball team lost in particularly ugly fashion at Trotwood earlier this season, coach Paul Bremigan lamented the fact that they didn’t have another game the next night to give the team an opportunity to wash the bad taste out of its mouth.
After Friday night’s loss at Butler, the Trojans will get that chance.
Butler’s Kort Justice scored a game-high 24 points, hitting four straight second-quarter 3s during one of the Aviators’ two double-digit runs to put the game out of reach early, Bryant Johnson posted a double-double and the Trojans were held to their season low point total in a 65-29 loss to the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division leader Friday at Butler’s Student Activities Center.
The Trojans, who fell to 8-11 overall and 6-7 in division play on the year, matched their season-low total of 29 points scored in that 90-29 loss at Trotwood back on Jan. 19. But unlike that game, the Trojans also play Saturday night on the road at Celina, looking to snap a three-game skid and get rid of the bad memories from Friday night.
“Hopefully it’ll make a difference,” Bremigan said. “Maybe our outlook will be a little different. We’ve got an hour drive (to Celina) to think about it tomorrow.”
As for the effort Friday night, there wasn’t much to be said.
The Trojans took an early 4-0 lead on jumpers by Caillou Monroe and Jacob Martinez, but the Aviators — who improved to 18-2 overall and 11-2 in the GWOC American North, maintaining a one-game lead over Sidney with two division games to play — scored the next 11 unanswered points to take control and never looked back. Michael Kreill scored seven points during that run and gave Butler a 13-7 lead after one quarter.
“We just didn’t come ready to play,” Bremigan said. “We weren’t ready to play — and that’s on the coach. The coach’s job is to get them ready to play. If you’re not ready to play, you’re not ready to make free throws, you’re not ready to finish inside … against a team like that, you’ve got to make plays. You’ve got to finish inside. You can’t miss free throws when you get fouled.”
It only got worse for the Trojans in the second quarter, too, as Justice hit four straight 3-pointers to blow a 15-9 lead out into a 27-9 one. Troy couldn’t hit anything until Zach Reichelderfer got a short jumper to go with 1:29 left in the half, ending a 16-0 run. After the half was over, though, the Trojans trailed 34-11.
In the first meeting between the teams earlier this season, Butler had led by as many as 22 in the second quarter, with the Trojans cutting the lead all the way down to seven in the third before the Aviators pulled away again for a 68-42 win. This time, even though the Trojans played stronger in the third quarter, there were no illusions of a comeback.
Troy scored more points in the third — 13 — than it did in the entire first half, but Butler matched the Trojans’ pace for the most part. Troy got the lead down to 18 at 42-24 after a 3 by Monroe and a free throw by Brenden Kinnel, but Justice scored a layup to give the Aviators a 20-point lead heading into the fourth at 44-24 … and then Butler outscored Troy 21-5 in the final quarter to put the game away.
“We did play a little harder in the third quarter,” Bremigan said. “After that … we didn’t adjust very well.”
Justice finished with 24 points and four rebounds, while Johnson added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Butler. Kreill finished with nine points, Ryan Wertz had seven points and five rebounds, Braedon Norman had five points, Cooper Justice had three points and Max Shega and Leland and Sutton Skapik each scored two points.
Reichelderfer led the Trojans with seven points and seven rebounds as the Troy offense shot in the 30s across the board: 11 for 36 (30.6 percent) from the field, 4 for 11 (36.4 percent) from 3-point range and 3 for 8 (37.5 percent) from the free throw line. Monroe added five points, Martinez had four points and five rebounds, Brayden Siler had three points and five assists, Chris Demeo, Cole Brogan and Tre’vone Archie each had three points, and Kinnel scored one point.
After Saturday’s game at Celina, the Trojans travel to Tippecanoe Tuesday and then finish the regular season at home against rival Piqua on Feb. 16.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.