By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — In a game full of special moments, it’s difficult to argue which was most special.
The crowd present certainly made its choice known.
When, in the fourth quarter of a blowout 86-63 victory by the Trojan boys basketball team over rival Piqua Friday night at the Trojan Activities Center, Andrew Holley entered the game, the raucous Troy student section — which had already spent the night oohing and aahing at Troy’s 13 3-pointers as a team and a monstrous dunk by Caillou Monroe — let out a roar that wasn’t topped all night long.
“It felt pretty great,” Holley said of the ovation after the game. “I didn’t have any words when I came out. All I could do was smile.”
Holley lost his mother, Megan, a week ago, as she passed away after a battle with melanoma. The funeral service was held earlier Friday, before Troy’s rivalry game against Piqua.
And all of Holley’s Trojan teammates were there for him at the funeral before the game.
“It was good for everyone involved,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said. “I think Andrew obviously appreciated the support, and I think it was good for our kids, also.”
The Trojans showed a sense of togetherness on the floor that they hadn’t so far this season on Friday night, playing with emotion and playing with each other as they steadily pulled away from Piqua throughout the game.
“We shared the basketball really well,” Bremigan said. “We had more than 20 assists in the game — and it wasn’t just one person, either. Tre’Vone (Archie) had five, Caillou had four, I have two guys with three. It was a team effort.”
That togetherness didn’t end on the basketball court, though.
The vast majority of the thousands of people present at the game wore “Holley’s Helpers” t-shirts, bought for $10 each with 100 percent of the proceeds going to benefit the Holley family. On the back of each shirt was the words “119-year rivalry. Two teams. One cause.”
During the game, it was announced that more than $6,000 was raised for Holley’s family.
“His family was there, and I think it was just good for everybody involved,” Bremigan said. “The support of the community — both communities, Piqua and Troy — was outstanding. For everybody to pull together for one family was really neat to see.”
And in the third quarter of the game, Troy’s student section began demanding that Holley enter the game, chanting “We want Holley!” In the fourth, the fans got their wish, and Holley ran onto the floor to an enormous ovation. And those cheers only continued to grow, as Monroe broke Piqua’s full-court press and got a pass to Holley for an easy layup soon after he came into the game.
Holley wasn’t done, either, fighting hard to score another bucket on a third-chance putback. He finished the game with four points, three rebounds and two assists.
And two warring communities coming together to show that they have his back.
“I’m glad to have everybody supporting me through everything,” Holley said. “It just feels good to have everybody’s support.”
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.