By Josh Brown
TROY — The Troy boys basketball team entered Friday night on a three-game winning streak — its longest winning streak since the 2012-13 season — having won four of its last five and having already surpassed its win total from last season.
Which made the Trojans’ performance against Sidney that much more disappointing.
The Yellow Jackets — who also entered the night having won four of their last five — hit five second-quarter 3s to take control, then they went on a 13-0 run to begin the fourth quarter to pull away for a 58-35 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division victory Friday at the Trojan Activities Center.
Sidney, the reigning division champion, improved to 12-6 overall and 9-3 in the North with the win, remaining one game behind the division leader, 10-3 Butler. Troy, meanwhile, dropped to 8-9 overall and 6-6 in the division.
For Troy coach Paul Bremigan, a historically successful coach at Russia who has only won eight and seven games in his two seasons as the Trojans’ coach, losing is never something you get used to.
“Sure, it’s disappointing,” he said when asked if the team’s showing on the night was more disappointing given its recent hot streak. “It’s always disappointing when you lose. They’re a good team, they’ve got a very good player (Andre Gordon) and they’ve got a lot of kids around him that do what they need to do to win. They made some open shots, and we got the ball inside where we wanted it but just didn’t make shots.”
To be fair, neither team did a great job of hitting inside shots early.
Despite Troy going 0 for 5 with three turnovers in the game’s first five minutes, Sidney only took advantage to the tune of a 6-0 lead before a three-point play by Jacob Martinez gave Troy its first points at the 1:18 mark of the first quarter. Troy got an offensive rebound and had a pair of free throws with no time on the clock, but it missed both free throws — a theme throughout the game — and trailed 7-3 after one.
And while the Trojans’ offensive struggles continued in the second quarter, but the Jackets got two 3s from Gordon, two from Keith Lee and one from Josiah Hudgins in the quarter, staking Sidney out to a 26-10 halftime lead.
“That always shakes your confidence (missing shots early),” Bremigan said. “We missed a lot of contested shots inside, and then whenever we did go to the foul line, we were 3 for 13.”
Troy’s offense got going in the third, and its defense continued to play well. Sidney led by as many as 17 at 31-14, but the Trojans went on a 9-1 run to cut the deficit to single digits, with Chris Demeo hitting a 3 to trim the Jackets’ lead to 32-23 with 2:10 left in the quarter. But Devan Rogers answered with a three-point play to make it a 12-point game again, and Sidney held a 37-27 lead heading into the final quarter.
“Defensively, I thought through three quarters, we’re holding them to 37 in three quarters,” Bremigan said. “That’s something we really want to get better at is defending, and I thought we did a good job of rebounding. I don’t think we turned the ball over. We cut it to 10, had a chance to get it under that, but then we missed a shot.
“We were 13 for 48 (27 percent) from the field. It’s just a case of we missed a lot of shots inside that we needed to score. You need to score or get fouled, and when we did get fouled, we didn’t make free throws, either.”
And when Troy missed shots, Rogers single-handedly kept it off the boards. Sidney’s big man inside was one of three Jackets in double figures with 10 points but added a game-high 19 rebounds, helping the Jackets claim a 40-27 edge on the glass.
“Rogers does a nice job in there, and he’s a good complement (to Gordon),” Bremigan said. “One thing about him is he’s a real good passer. He’s a good passer for a big kid, and he sees the floor well. Their other kids like Lee hit some big shots early, some 3s in the second quarter that helped them, so they did what they needed to do.”
Sidney put the game away with a 13-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, with Rogers limiting Troy to one miss on offense each possession and the Jackets finally converting on the other end. A 3 by Caillou Monroe cut the lead to 50-30 with three minutes to play, but that’s the closest Troy would get the rest of the way.
Gordon led all scorers with 23 points and added eight rebounds for the Jackets, Lee finished with 11 points, Rogers had 10 and 19 rebounds, Darren Taborn had eight points and Hudgins scored six.
Martinez led the Trojans with 10 points and Zach Reichelderfer had eight points and nine rebounds. Demeo added five points, Monroe had three points and seven rebounds, Shaeden Olden had three points and Brayden Siler, Brenden Kinnel and Brandon Lavy each scored two.
“I thought we defended pretty well tonight,” Bremigan said. “I thought we rebounded well and defended well, and for a while we were holding them to one shot pretty consistently. It’s disappointing anytime you lose.”
After hosting Miamisburg in a non-league game Saturday night, Troy begins a three-game road trip at Butler Feb. 9.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.