By Josh Brown
TROTWOOD — Of all the things the Troy boys basketball team has done well and done not so well this season, third-year coach Paul Bremigan was most consistently happy with the way his team played defense.
Friday, the Trojans gave one of their best efforts of the season on that front.
But even though Troy shut out Sidney’s Andre Gordon — the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division’s leading scorer, averaging 23.8 points per game this season — for three quarters and tied the game up at halftime, the Trojans could only score four points in the first 11 minutes of the second half as the Yellow Jackets pulled away for its third win of the year over Troy, this time 55-35 in the opening round of the Division I sectional tournament Friday at Trotwood High School.
And even though the Trojans’ season came to an end at 9-14 — the highest win total for Troy in Bremigan’s three years with the team — Bremigan felt like the team did plenty of things right, particularly Friday night.
“We did. I told the kids I was proud of the way they executed the gameplan,” he said. “We just go through scoring droughts, and it’s frustrating, frustrating for everybody, because you’re not going to shut anybody out. But I was proud of our defense. I’ve been proud of our defense all year.
“We only scored more than 50 points 10 times this year, and we won nine games. That says a lot about the kids being coachable and playing hard and defending and rebounding. The gameplan we had going in tonight was working — we just didn’t score.”
Zach Reichelderfer helped keep the Trojans in Friday’s game early, scoring all 10 of his points in the first half. Turnovers hurt Troy’s offense in the first quarter, as Troy committed eight of them but still were within two until a buzzer-beating 3 by Josiah Hudgins at the buzzer made the score 12-7 Jackets after one. But after a Caillou Monroe 3 tied the score at 14-14, the two teams traded scores until the second-quarter buzzer, with Reichelderfer tipping in one more game-tying shot to make the score 20-20 at the break.
But a jumper by Monroe was Troy’s only score of the third and, even though Gordon still found no room to score, he was able to find the open man four times in the quarter and help the Jackets take a 31-22 lead after three. A drive by Cole Brogan early in the fourth ended a 10-0 run by Sidney, but with Reichelderfer held off the scoreboard in the second half the Trojans only managed those four points in the first 11 minutes of the second half and fell behind 42-24.
Also not helping Troy’s cause was junior Jacob Martinez, the team’s second-leading scorer, being in foul trouble. He hit a first-quarter 3 but had to sit most of the first half with three fouls, then he picked up his fourth less than 40 seconds into the third quarter.
Monroe, also a junior, helped pick up the slack, scoring eight second-half points — all while being tasked with guarding Gordon.
“We did a nice job inside on some of their shots defensively, but we just didn’t finish,” Bremigan said. “He (Reichelderfer) had some opportunities, but he didn’t get many shots in the second half. It’s just a case of having other guys step up and looking to score. We tend to get a little gridlocked at times when we’re not scoring, we have kids that don’t look to score — and you’re not going to score that way.
“Martinez being out in foul trouble really hurt us. He takes the pressure off of Zach. But Caillou played really well. He’s really come on in the last half of the season. And he did a good job — that takes a lot out of you, having to guard somebody like that, but he had a lot of energy.”
Gordon finally scored early in the fourth, hitting a 3 in transition after a steal, and he hit one more contested 3 later for his only field goals of the game. But by then, the result was already well in hand.
Sidney (17-6) — which won its second straight GWOC American North title this season, sharing it with Butler — had three players in double figures, led by Devan Rogers with 13 points and eight rebounds. Gordon and Ratez Roberts both finished with 10 points, Darren Taborn scored eight, Keith Lee had six, Hudgins had four and Trey Wertz had two. The Jackets advance to face Beavercreek, a 48-33 winner over Franklin, in the second round Tuesday night at Centerville.
Monroe led the Trojans with 11 points, Reichelderfer had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, Brenden Kinnel had four points, Martinez had three points and five rebounds, Tre’vone Archie had three points and Brogan and Brayden Siler each had two points.
It proved to be the last game in the careers of Troy’s two seniors, Reichelderfer and Kinnel.
“We’re pretty young, yeah. But those two guys have done everything we’ve asked them to,” Bremigan said of Reichelderfer and Kinnel. “There were times that I’d get on ‘em, sure, but I only wanted to help make them better. They’re both great kids, and I hate to see them go.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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