By Josh Brown
TROY — In a basketball game, the wheels falling off is rarely one single moment.
But a turnover here, a few offensive rebounds given up there, mixed together with the opposing team being talented enough to grab the momentum and run away with it, and that moment can last for far too long.
The Troy boys basketball team kept Tuesday night’s game against Sidney close early, closing to within three at 30-27 in the middle of the second quarter. But a 13-0 run by the Yellow Jackets turned into a lengthy 35-5 stretch that lasted midway through the third, allowing Sidney to pull away for an 83-64 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division victory at the Trojan Activities Center.
“We turned the ball over, we gave up some offensive rebounds and we got beat down the floor,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said. “I just think we need to focus a little bit better, and that’s the bottom line.
“I don’t think we’re real focused. And when you’re not focused, you’re not ready for a game like this, that falls back on the coach. And I’ve got to do a better job of getting them focused.”
The win made Sidney 3-1 and 2-0 in the GWOC American North, while Troy fell to 0-2 overall and in division play. It was also the 64th time coaches Bremigan, who coached at Russia for 30-plus years, and former Houston coach and first-year Sidney coach John Willoughby have faced off.
“Yeah, a few times,” Bremigan said with a smile when asked about his history against Willoughby. “Probably about 60. We played each other for 31 years, twice a year, and probably about 10 times in the tournament, too. “
And though the Trojans started and finished strong, the middle made it a meeting that Bremigan likely wouldn’t mind forgetting.
Zach Reichelderfer scored the Trojans’ first six points of the game, tying the score once and giving them the lead twice in the process. Sidney’s Andre Gordon hit a pair of jumpers and Isaiah Bowser scored a transition layup to make it 11-6 Jackets, and Troy would never lead again. A 3 by Ryan McClurg and a tough drive by Eli Palmer for a layup to end the quarter got the Trojans to within two after one at 15-13.
Sidney built a 27-20 lead, but back-to-back buckets by Keenan Kinnel and Hayden Kotwica got the Trojans back to within three. Devan Rogers converted a three-point play in transition — one of three that the Jackets converted in the quarter — but McClurg hit a 3 going back the other way to cut the lead back to three at 30-27.
And that was the closest Troy would get.
Ratez Roberts hit a pair of free throws, then an Andre Gordon steal led to a putback by Allec Gordon in transition. An offensive rebound got tipped to Josiah Hudgins for another three-point play to make it a 10-point game. Roberts hit a jumper in transition, Andre Gordon hit Allec with a behind-the-back pass for a fast break layup and then a steal by Allec Gordon led to dunk by Andre the other way, and it was 43-27 in the blink of an eye before a 3 by Palmer ended the 13-0 run.
Bremigan said he didn’t feel like his team was worn down by the up-and-down pace of play — but the 11-4 rebounding edge Sidney had in the second quarter made a difference.
“No, I don’t think so. That’s the pace we want,” he said. “That’s the pace we want to play at. We just needed to get more guys to the boards in the second quarter. We got hurt on the boards.”
That pattern didn’t end, either. A putback by Andre Gordon and then a 3 by Hudgins at the buzzer made it 48-30 Sidney at halftime, and the Jackets’ run continued into the second half until a dunk by Andre Gordon made the score 65-32, their biggest lead of the game. The Trojans fought back, outscoring Sidney 22-8 in the fourth quarter to make it a 19-point game, but the Jackets still coasted to the win.
Allec Gordon led the Jackets with a double-double off the bench with 18 points and 10 rebounds, one of four Sidney players in double figures. Andre Gordon and Rogers each had 16 points, Roberts had 14 points and seven rebounds, Bowser finished with nine points, Hudgins had six points and five rebounds and Ryan Heins and Jace Conrad each had two points.
Kotwica scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and added five rebounds for the Trojans, while Reichelderfer was a perfect 6 for 6 from the field and added 12 points and four rebounds. Zion Taylor and Palmer each hit double figures off the bench again, with Taylor adding 10 points and five rebounds and Palmer scoring 10 points. McClurg added six points, Brenden Kinnel scored four points, Josh Browder had three points and four rebounds and Keenan Kinnel had two points.
“They’ve got (Andre) Gordon and a lot of guys that go well with him,” Bremigan said. “We were down 20-25 most of the game. We’ve just got to do a better job of defending. We can’t give up 83 and 75 points and expect to win.”
The Trojans end a string of three straight division games to begin the season Friday, playing their first game on the road at Butler.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.