By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Troy’s Caillou Monroe threw down a crossover dribble so devastating that it caused his backpedaling defender to fall flat on his back — but after he dished to an open teammate, Sidney’s Ratez Roberts came sailing in out of nowhere to reject the transition layup try.
The Trojans would do something good, only to have the Yellow Jackets answer. It’s just the way things went during a 15-point Sidney run in the first quarter as the defending Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division co-champion Jackets used that hot start to defeat the Troy boys basketball team, 67-48 Friday night at the Trojan Activities Center.
Troy, which fell to 1-1 overall and in the GWOC American North, was playing with its leading returning scorer from last season, Jacob Martinez, who sat out due to a “violation of team rules,” according to Trojan coach Paul Bremigan. And while the Trojans struggled to find their way early on against a tall and quick Sidney defense without Martinez, Bremigan didn’t know if his presence would have had enough of an effect.
“We had opportunities” Bremigan said. “We were 5 for 24 (from the field) in the first half, and I think a lot of them were inside. But I did think we played better in the second half.”
Still, Sidney (3-1, 1-1 GWOC American North) held the Trojans without a field goal for the first 7:40 of the game. With the score tied 1-1, Josiah Hudgins hit a pair of 3s and finished a fast break to get Sidney going, while Troy missed its first 10 shots on the other end. And after Monroe’s crossover move followed by Roberts’ vicious block, Trey Werntz hit a putback and Andre Gordon scored inside to make the score 16-1 Jackets. With 20 seconds left in the quarter, Brayden Siler finally hit a 3 in the corner for the Trojans’ first field goal, but Sidney led 16-4 after one.
Monroe scored to open the second quarter and get Troy to within 10 at 16-6, but the Jackets scored the next 11 straight — including a high-flying one-handed dunk by Gordon — to go up 27-6. Sidney led by as many as 22 at 30-8, but Tre’Vone Archie hit a 3, Caleb Fogarty stole the ball and laid it in and Archie made an acrobatic steal and was able to flip a pass while diving to the ground to Fogarty for a layup, and the Trojans trailed 31-15 at the half.
And while Troy continued to fight back in the third, scoring more points in that eight minutes than in the entire first half, Sidney would not let them get any closer than 13.
“I was happy with the way we battled,” Bremigan said. “I thought we missed some easy shots in the third quarter that could have cut into their lead even more. We missed some layups, and I think that was a product of the surroundings, kind of worrying where people were.”
That’s because the Jackets blocked eight shots on the night, with Roberts — Sidney’s all-time leading shot blockers — rejecting six of them.
“Even when he (Roberts) wasn’t around, I think it affected us,” Bremigan said. “It shouldn’t have, but it did.”
Still, the Trojans found positives they could take away from the game. Archie hit three of the team’s six 3s on the night and led Troy with 13 points off the bench, and Fogarty hit a pair of 3s and finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Monroe — who had a double-double in the Trojans’ season-opening win over Greenville — added eight points, nine rebounds and three assists, Austin Stanaford had five points and nine rebounds, Siler had five points and five rebounds, Jayden Owens added four points and Sam Shaneyfelt had one point and seven rebounds.
“I was happy with some guys that haven’t played much varsity,” Bremigan said. “I thought Arik Viney did well, and Caleb Fogarty, playing in his second varsity game, he’s playing better. (Brayden) Siler gutted it out today — he had a bum foot, and he wasn’t 100 percent. Tre’Vone Archie played a good game and shot the ball well. There were some bright spots.”
Hudgins hit five 3s and led all scorers with 23 points for Sidney, while Gordon finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Roberts had five points and 15 rebounds to go with his six blocks, Werntz had six points and seven rebounds, Devin Taborn had six points, Keith Lee had five point, Darren Taborn, Jace Conrad and Dominick Durr each had two and Lathan Jones had one.
“I thought we did a decent job on Gordon. He only had eight points in the first three quarters,” Bremigan said. “But Hudgins went off, and we didn’t see that previously.”
It was Troy’s sixth straight loss to Sidney, including three times last year — twice during the regular season and then again in the sectional tournament. And next up, the Trojans will take on the division’s other co-champion from last season, traveling to Butler on Dec. 14.
“We’ve got to play them sometime, and I think we need to play teams like this to get better,” Bremigan said. “We’re going to strap them on and be ready to go.”
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.