By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Everything went according to plan for the Troy boys basketball team against Fairborn … for a half.
Shaunn Monroe has made a habit of wrecking the best-laid plans, though.
Monroe — the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s third-leading scorer entering Tuesday night’s play — scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, turning what had been a 15-point lead for the Trojans into a 65-52 Skyhawk victory in GWOC American League crossover play Tuesday at the Trojan Activities Center.
Monroe, who entered the night averaging 24.7 points per game, was obviously the focus of the defensive plans by Troy (4-6, 3-3 GWOC American North Division) coming in — and in the first half, those plans worked. Monroe didn’t even take a shot in the first quarter and was held without a field goal in the opening half, scoring only five points on 5 of 5 free-throw shooting. But in the second half, Monroe’s effort level increased and it showed in the numbers as he scored 14 in the third — and distributing after he drew the defense’s attention, dishing out seven assists in the game, many of them attached to Fairborn’s seven second-half 3-pointers — turning what had at one point been a 25-10 Trojan lead into a comfortable win for the Skyhawks (7-3, 4-1 GWOC American South Division).
“We got hurt by kids shooting in the corner. When you’re doing what we were doing (to stop Monroe), you kind of give up some stuff,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said. “And Monroe hurt us. He went to the line 12 times and was 11 for 12.
“We did a good job (closing out on 3-point shooters) in the first half. But I think we kind of have a tendency to panic. In the third quarter we give up 26. That’s ridiculous. That was the game right there.”
The loss was Troy’s fourth straight since capping off a three-game winning streak at Springfield Shawnee on Dec. 28, 2018, and it was also the Trojans’ third straight loss to the Skyhawks. Fairborn, meanwhile, won its sixth of its last seven after falling to Butler to begin the new calendar year.
Even so, the first half couldn’t have gone much better for the Trojans.
With Fairborn holding an early 8-7 lead, Caleb Fogarty hit a 3 to give the lead to Troy and kick off what proved to be a 14-0 run. Shaeden Olden — playing in his first game of the season coming back from a preseason injury — fell to the floor but was still able to get a pass to Jaden Owens for a score to build some momentum, then Tre’Vone Archie hit a floater and Olden scored on a tough drive to the basket to make the score 16-8 Troy after one quarter.
The Trojans stayed hot in the second, with Sam Shaneyfelt diving out of bounds to save an offensive rebound and flinging it back to Fogarty, who dished to an open Olden for 3 to make the score 19-8. A jumper by Archie capped off the run before O.J. Person scored for Fairborn, but back-to-back buckets by Olden and Shaneyfelt — who made two more similar hustle plays on balls going out of bounds that led to Troy scores — gave the Trojans a 25-10 lead midway through the quarter.
“Shaeden played well in the first half. I think he got a little winded in the second, though,” Bremigan said. “And Sam, that’s just what he does. He plays hard — but he got a third foul in the third quarter, and we had to sit him.”
But Monroe got to the free throw line for his first points of the game with 3:34 left in the half, and he was fouled while shooting a 3 and hit all three free throws to cut the lead to 27-17. Fairborn trimmed the lead to seven at 29-22 before Owens hit a jumper at the buzzer to keep the Trojans up by double digits, 31-22 at the break.
In the third, though, everything unraveled.
Monroe converted a steal into a layup to start the quarter, then he drew Shaneyfelt’s third foul and hit both free throws to make it 31-26 and force a Troy timeout. Austin Stanaford answered with a layup for Troy, but Monroe hit a 3 and then dished to Dwight Lewis for another 3 to get Fairborn within one. Troy got back-to-back buckets from Caillou Monroe — who missed most of the first half in foul trouble — to get the back to five, but 3s by Joe Nickel and Monroe eventually gave Fairborn a 39-37 lead, and the Trojans never regained the lead. The Skyhawks built a 48-43 lead after the third , and the closest Troy got in the fourth was seven points.
”I think it was our inability to be patient on offense and attack the rim like we wanted to,” Bremigan said. “We were kind of tentative in the second half. And we don’t have much of an inside presence. When we do get it inside, we can’t take advantage. We’ve got to be more aggressive and try to score, and sometimes we just pass it right back out after we work hard to get it in there.”
Monroe had 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead Fairborn, Nickel hit four 3s and scored all 12 of his points in the second half and Lewis added 10 points off the bench. Tylen Eatmon scored six points, Jarod Bodeckor had five, Person had four, Jared Bates had three and Cole Spencer had two as the Skyhawks forced 19 turnovers while committing only 13 and were 8 for 20 (40 percent) from 3-point range on the night.
Archie led the Trojans with 12 points, Olden had all nine of his points in the first half, Monroe had eight points and six rebounds, Fogarty had eight points, Owens scored seven points, Stanaford had four, Andrew Holley had two points and seven rebounds and Shaneyfelt had two points and six rebounds as Troy won the battle of the boards 36-32.
Troy is back on the road Friday, traveling to Stebbins, while Fairborn returns home to host Tippecanoe Friday.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.