By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The first time Troy’s Caillou Monroe went up for a transition dunk, it hit off the back of the rim and went sailing to half court.
The next time, though, the senior made sure things went differently.
“The first time, I had some nervous jitters,” Monroe said. “But I mean, you’ve just got to knock those out in the beginning of the game. The second one, I had confidence.”
There was plenty of reason for the Trojans to have confidence by game’s end.
Troy scored the first 13 points of the night and was never challenged, forcing more turnovers than points it allowed defensively and leading wire to wire in a 66-26 victory over Greater Western Ohio Conference American North foe Greenville Friday at the Trojan Activities Center in the team’s season, home and division opener.
Monroe finished with a double-double on the night, scoring 10 of his 19 points in the second half and adding 10 rebounds. And fellow senior Jacob Martinez also scored 19 points off the bench, with 13 of those coming in the first half to kick-start the Trojan offense.
Martinez — the team’s leading returning scorer from last season — welcomes being able to take more of a leadership role for Troy (1-0, 1-0 GWOC American North) this season.
“It feels good. For a while, I’ve been playing behind people, other leaders we’ve had,” Martinez said. “I’m just trying to see what I can do better to make us come together as a team.”
And even though the Trojan defense was shutting out Greenville (0-1, 0-1 GWOC American North) three minutes into the first, Troy still only held a 4-0 lead. But Martinez entered the game and made an immediate impact, scoring on a putback and then hitting a 3-pointer in transition, then Jayden Owens took in a steal for a layup to make the score 11-0 in a blink and force a Greenville timeout with 3:43 left in the opening quarter.
“It felt like, in the middle of the first quarter, we should’ve been up 20,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said. “We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities very well. But the kids kept banging and playing and getting after it, and that was good to see.
“Jacob came off the bench and scored for us during that time to get us going, and Caillou played well for us in the second half. It was good to see.”
Martinez finished the first quarter with 11 points to help stake Troy out to a 21-7 lead, and 14 was the closest the Green Wave got the rest of the way at 26-12. Martinez scored inside on a feed from Sam Shaneyfelt, then Monroe drove and kicked out to Martinez for another 3 to make it 31-12.
And late in the half, Monroe went for a dunk in transition but missed it — only to have Caleb Fogarty steal the ball and take it in for a layup. The Trojans then ended the half on a steal by Owens and a 3 by Fogarty to make the score 36-12 at the break.
“I thought our young kids played well, too,” Bremigan said. “Fogarty played well, (Austin) Stanaford hadn’t played in about a year almost. It was a team effort, and that’s good to see. A lot of our kids played really well tonight. Considering that, for five of them, this was their first varsity game, five out of our nine. When you get that and get that kind of effort, that’s good to see.”
And in the final minute of the third quarter, Tre’Vone Archie stole the ball and passed ahead to Monroe on a fast break, and Monroe confidently threw down a one-handed dunk to make the score 47-15 and bring the home crowd to its feet. From there, Troy led 51-18 after three quarters and coasted to the win from there.
“We wanted to put on a show, try to get some more fans to come out this season and just want to try to play hard every game,” Martinez said.
On the night, the Trojan defense forced 34 turnovers, turning many of those into fast-break chances the other way. Offensively, Troy also had more total field goals — 29 — than the Wave had points and outrebounded Greenville 37-28.
“I thought we forced some turnovers, got hands on a lot of balls and went after the loose balls really well,” Bremigan said. “That’s big for us, getting those 50-50 balls and being able to convert those.”
All nine players on the roster got into the scorebook, too. After Martinez and Monroe, Owens finished with seven points and three assists, Fogarty added seven points and two assists, Brayden Siler had five points, four rebounds and two assists, Stanaford had three points and four rebounds and Archie, Ryan Davis and Shaneyfelt each had two points.
Noah Walker led Greenville with 13 points, connecting on half of the Wave’s eight field goals on the night by hitting four 3-pointers. Jordan Dill added five points and five rebounds, Tyler Byke had four points, Ethan Saylor had three points and Alec Fletcher had one points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Now Troy is off until Dec. 7 when it hosts last year’s GWOC American North co-champion Sidney — which is also the team that knocked the Trojans out of the postseason last year.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.