By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
ST. MARYS — Since the second of back-to-back district final appearances in the 2011-12 season, the Troy boys basketball team has struggled.
Entering this season, there were even more questions surrounding the Trojans, like how they would cope with the graduation of last year’s star player or with a number of preseason injuries and missing players.
Tuesday night, though, Troy reached a big milestone on its upward climb, finishing off the regular season on a four-game winning streak and posting double-digit victories for the first time in seven years with a 69-52 win in the regular-season finale on the road at St. Marys.
Troy finished the regular season 10-12, the first time the team has won double-digit games since going 17-7 in the 2011-12 season — which was also the last time the team posted four straight wins.
And with division play over already and the tournament draw already set, Troy coach Paul Bremigan knew that his team needed something tangible to play for — and that 10th win of the year served that purpose nicely.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game to get up for, so we talked to them about having momentum going into the tournament, and winning four games in a row, which hadn’t been done for a while, and winning 10 games, which hadn’t been done for a while either,” he said. “We wanted to show them how important this game was, and we came out and played hard. I’m really proud of our kids.”
The Trojans jumped out to a 23-7 lead after the first quarter, and even though the Roughriders fought back in the second quarter Troy continued to play well offensively, taking a 46-28 lead at halftime. Troy then put the game away with a 17-9 third quarter, taking a 63-37 lead into the final quarter and holding on from there.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Bremigan said. “We played about as good as we have offensively all year so far as shooting the ball and sharing the ball. We did a real good job of passing, finding the open man, and at then at the other end, with the exception of a few 3s while we were trapping in the back court, defensively we held them to seven in the first quarter — and even though they scored 21 in the second, we scored 23 in each quarter (in the half). We were up 26 at one time, and it was good to see us do some things to hold onto that lead and not let it get down to single digits like we’ve done in a couple of games lately.”
The 18th-seeded Trojans have a first-round bye in the postseason and will play their first game in the second round on Feb. 28 at Butler High School against either No. 2 Springfield or No. 20 Tecumseh.
Other scores: Mechanicsburg 42, Lehman (8-14) 39.
• Girls Basketball
COVINGTON — The season came to an end for the 13th-seeded Bethel girls basketball team after a 49-35 loss to No. 7 Arcanum Tuesday in the second round of the Division III sectional tournament.
McKenna Gray led the Bees with 16 points as Bethel fell behind early, trailing 20-4 after the first quarter, 33-7 at halftime and 46-19 after three before outscoring the Trojans 16-3 in the fourth.
Arcanum, which defeated Bethel 68-38 in the regular season, advances to Monday’s sectional final, where it will face top-seeded Waynesville. Bethel finished the season 11-12.
Other scores: D-IV sectional — No. 6 Bradford (18-6) 52, No. 5 Catholic Central 40.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.