By Luke Severt
For the Troy Daily News
TROY — Entering Tuesday night’s game against Greenville, the Troy boys basketball team needed just one win to surpass its win total from last year.
And with six regular season games to go, the team was able to achieve the feat as the Trojans defeated the Green Wave 63-55 in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division play Tuesday at the Trojan Activities Center.
In the first quarter, the game looked like it would be a repeat of the Dec. 5 matchup between the teams, when the Trojans dominated Greenville and earned a 40-point win on the road. Troy won the opening tip-off, and Jacob Martinez wasted no time getting on the board for the Trojans, scoring the first of his career-high 22 points on the night.
“I felt good all game,” Martinez said about his performance. “I honestly felt like nobody on their team could guard me.”
Greenville answered with a layup, but Troy scored the next eight points. Greenville’s Kyle Mills ended the run with a 3-pointer from the corner, but Martinez capitalized on an and-one after sinking a shot off the glass, and the Trojans had a 15-5 point lead after the first quarter.
The Green Wave started to gain momentum early in the second, highlighted by a powerful block of Trojan star Zach Reichelderfer by Greenville’s Ethan Emrick. He then turned his defense into offense, as he scored on an alley-oop pass and got the visiting crowd fired up. Greenville battled back to within three before Martinez took matters into his own hands offensively. He scored the team’s last seven points of the quarter and propelled them to a 28-20 lead at the break, finishing with 14 points in the first half.
Reichelderfer, Troy’s leading scorer on the season, did not come out of the gates as hot as Martinez did, scoring only six points in the first half. He bounced back with eight points in the third quarter, including two 3s, but Greenville’s offense continued to match the Trojans. The Wave scored 16 points compared to Troy’s 15 and was within seven points going into the final quarter, trailing 43-36.
If the first three quarters contained few notable events, the fourth quarter was full of them. With five minutes left to play in the game, a large “clank” of metal rang throughout the gymnasium. A wave of wonderment and confusion soon spread across the onlookers after they discovered a large, orange piece of the Trojan basket had fallen to the ground.
“I think a plate on the rim just fell down,” Troy head coach Paul Bremigan said. “I don’t think it was really that big of a deal,” he added with a chuckle.
The game was paused for over three minutes, as the officials, coaches and school personnel surrounded the hoop, discussing whether the game could go on. They soon determined that the malfunction was not enough to cause the game to be cut short, and play soon continued, but it was a unique occurrence nonetheless.
After the rim malfunction garnered the attention of the crowd, Greenville’s Noah Walker shifted it back towards the game. With his team all but defeated, he decided it was time for him to start shooting from behind the arc. In the matter of a couple minutes, he made three 3s, but the most amazing part was the length of the shots. The first one was a good distance behind the 3-point line, but with each shot he decided to test his limits, and shoot from even further. His last basket — Greenville’s final score of the game — was from barely past half-court. After swishing it, both sides of the stands erupted in support of Walker, and he earned a standing ovation from the Trojan crowd.
Walker’s buzzer beater was not enough, however, as the game was well over and the Trojans had secured an eight-point victory.
“I thought our big guys played well tonight,” Bremigan said. “We got the ball to them, we got some penetration from our guards, and when we got it to them, they worked hard to score and to get rebounds. We knew we were bigger than them going in, so that was something we had to do.”
The victory was Troy’s third win in a row following a 61-point loss to Trotwood less than two weeks ago. If they can capture at least one win in their final six games, they will achieve their highest winning season since 2012.
“We have had about five really good days of practice since that Trotwood game,” said Bremigan about his team’s turn-around. “I feel like that’s a key for us. If we continue to do that, we will keep improving.”
Reichelderfer ended up matching Martinez with 22 points of his own, the most combined points the Trojans have gotten out of any two players this year. Reichelderfer also added 15 rebounds, recording a double-double.
“We can do a lot of things when those two are scoring,” Bremigan said. “But I told our kids that the most important thing is really our defense. With the exception of those shots at the end and a couple of layups that they made because we were forcing them to shoot 2-point shots instead of 3s, our defense played well. The last two minutes or so they scored a lot, but through three quarters I thought our defense was good. The fourth quarter just got a little crazy.”
Besides Reichelderfer and Martinez, Troy received contributions from Brayden Siler, who had six points, Chris DeMeo added five and Caillou Monroe and Brendan Kinnel each scored four points. The Trojans shot the ball well, going 21 for 38 from the field for a 55 percent shooting percentage. They pulled down 29 rebounds as a team and had nine steals and three blocks, as well.
With the victory, Troy moves to 8-8 on the season and 6-5 in the GWOC American North Division. Greenville falls to 1-14 overall and 0-10 in GWOC American North play.
The Trojans will have a two-game weekend, but will not have to travel, as they host Sidney on Friday and Miamisburg on Saturday. Troy will look to avenge an early-season loss to the Yellow Jackets on Friday, losing 65-54 at Sidney in early December.