By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Troy girls basketball coach Aaron Johnson says that fixing the Trojans’ woes is a matter of simple math and being more precise.
“We’re starting to focus on possession basketball and the percentage of possessions where we at least get a good shot,” he said. “We’re looking at our points per possession, and we’re sitting at about 0.4 — and we really need to get up to about one. We need to average one point every possession.”
Wednesday, though, the Trojans were trying to do that math while missing two key beads from the abacus.
The team’s two leading scorers missed most of the first half of Wednesday’s Miami Valley League Miami Division opener against Greenville in foul trouble, with Tia Bass picking up two fouls midway through the first quarter and point guard Macie Taylor missing most of the second quarter, and the Green Wave was able to take advantage and build a lead it would not surrender in a 42-35 victory over Troy at the Trojan Activities Center.
“Our effort is there. It’s not a lazy thing,” Johnson said. “I love the energy. We’re working on being more efficient. The effort is there — there’s just some things we need to clean up. We need to execute better.
“It’s just one of those things where they need to taste that success with something first. Some of the things we ran in the fourth quarter worked, and you could see them kind of go ‘oh, okay.’ But we’ve got to start from that point in the first quarter.”
Troy held a 7-6 lead after the first quarter, but after Morgan Gilbert hit a 3-pointer to start the second quarter, Greenville never trailed again. Bass did not score in the first half and Macie Taylor only had four points, and while other Trojans stepped up to keep the team in the game, the Wave still led 20-12 at the break.
“We played almost the entire first half without Tia, and probably five or six minutes without Macie,” Johnson said. “So you’re looking at our two leading scorers not being on the floor. It was a tough night for Tia It would be easy to allow some of that to frustrate you, but she battled back and never quit. And Macie, her composure tonight was outstanding. This easily could have been one of those games where she let things bother her, but I’m hoping we’re seeing that maturation of a sophomore guard into the player we know she can be.
“Elise McCann played her tail off. Her first varsity start as a freshman at home and having to guard one of the better players in the league, I thought she did a phenomenal job. She did a heck of a job on (Haleigh) Behnken. Brynn Siler, her coming-out party is coming soon, too. She’s becoming more comfortable and aggressive each game. And Laura Borchers, she continues to punch the clock and be the workhorse, doing so many things you just don’t see.”
Taylor made an impact when she returned in the third, hitting a 3 to kick off a 7-0 run. Brynn Siler scored inside and Taylor finished off a steal with a layup to get Troy within one at 20-19 — but she picked up her third foul and Greenville closed the quarter on a 7-0 run, capped off by another 3 by Gilbert to make the score 27-19 heading into the fourth.
Bass got her first and only point of the night on a free throw with 3:05 to play that cut the deficit to five at 32-27, and the Trojans got to within four as late as 35-31 with 1:35 to play after a layup by Siler. But Troy was forced to foul each trip down the floor after that, the Trojans committed three costly turnovers and Gilbert was 7 for 10 from the line from there to seal it.
Gilbert led all scorers with 21 points for the Wave, going 11 for 20 from the free throw line, and Behnken finished with 15, going a perfect 8 for 8 from the line. Abbie Yoder, Natea Davidson and Libby McKinney each added two points. All told, Greenville was 19 for 30 from the free throw line, while Troy was 2 for 7.
Macie Taylor scored a season-high 20 points and added three assists to lead Troy. Siler finished with six points and nine rebounds, MaKenna Taylor had three points, Borchers and McCann each had two points and Bass finished with one point and 11 rebounds as Troy outrebounded Greenville 36-21 on the night but committed 20 turnovers, seven more than the Wave.
“I told them in the locker room, and I’m a firm believer in this, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. The outcome of the game is totally dependent on what we do,” Johnson said. “When that day comes when we’re playing together and have things rolling, I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat.
“Right now, we’re not there. We haven’t gelled. I saw some better things tonight, some improvement. But we’ve got a gauntlet coming up — we play Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday Saturday. We don’t have a ton of practice time to fix things, but we have to fix the things in the short amount of time we have.”
That gauntlet begins Saturday with a non-league matchup at Bethel, kicking off a three-game road trip.
“We don’t have time to lick our wounds or pout,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to get right back at it with three games in a week. We’ve got to get to fixing things.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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