By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — The Troy boys basketball team had just cut West Carrollton’s lead to 10 early in the fourth quarter when Kalen McKinney drilled his third 3-pointer of the night.
The Pirates then blew a dunk after a steal — only to get the offensive rebound and see Zahir Hopkins-Martinez connect from long range to blow the lead back out to 16.
“That pretty much summed up our night,” Troy coach Mark Hess said.
The Trojans, who were looking to go 3-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season, controlled Friday night’s home opener early, but West Carrollton was able to claim control late in the second quarter and never looked back, answering every Troy rally attempt to put away a 69-59 Miami Valley League crossover victory at the Trojan Activities Center.
Troy dropped to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the MVL Miami Division, while West Carrollton improved to 2-0 overall and in the MVL Valley Division.
And in the end, it was McKinney’s game-high 28 points that proved to be the difference.
“It was an efficient 28, too,” Hess said. “He didn’t miss a lot. He’s a nice player. Every time we’d make a run, he’d hit a shot. They responded every time we cut into the lead.”
Early on, though, it was Troy that was in the driver’s seat.
After a McKinney 3 cut Troy’s lead to 10-7 late in the opening quarter, Tre Archie hit a layup in transition and Austin Stanaford scored on a third-chance putback to give the Trojans a 14-7 lead after one, then Shaeden Olden hit Stanaford for another layup to give Troy a nine-point lead at 16-7.
West Carrollton answered with a 9-0 run to even things up before a step-back 3-pointer by Archie gave Troy a 19-16 lead. Shortly after, though, Troy couldn’t capitalize on a technical foul on the Pirates, hitting only one free throw to go up 20-18. McKinney promptly tied the score again with a drive and Hopkins-Martinez hit a 3 to give the Pirates a 25-22 lead, and a McKinney putback at the buzzer put West Carrollton up 29-24 at halftime.
“We were up 16-7, and at that point we had missed two layups and four free throws,” Hess said. “And I felt like we were playing better than up by nine, but we just let a couple of good opportunities slide past us. And then they were able to score, and when they score they can pick up their pressure — and when they picked up their pressure, we tried to do it all ourselves.
“That’s not what we worked on the last two days beating the pressure, and that’s what we talked about in the locker room — when that pressure comes at us, we’ve got to do what we work on. Because when you do your own thing, no one else knows what you’re doing, so we can’t help.”
An 6-1 Pirate run to open the third put the Trojans down by 10, but a pair of Stanaford free throws and a jumper by Olden cut the lead to six at 35-29. That was as close as Troy got, though, as West Carrollton took a 47-38 lead into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 18 at 60-42 shortly after those back-to-back 3s by McKinney and Hopkins-Martinez.
“They just sped us up,” Hess said. “We didn’t turn it over a lot (15 by both teams), but they sped us up and forced us into some quick shots, altered some shots around the rim. We got it down to six, but we just couldn’t get anything going.”
McKinney had 10 rebounds to go with his 28 points, and Hopkins-Martinez finished with 12 points. Stanley Shrivers added 11 points and eight rebounds as the Pirates won the battle of the boards 44-41, Jaye’ton Howard had nine points, Tyron Darby had four points, Aigbokhai Kadiri scored three and Austin Jones had two points and seven rebounds.
Olden led Troy with 17 points — 14 of them in the second half — six rebounds and four assists, one of three Trojans in double figures. Jaden Owens had 13 points, Archie had 11 points and seven rebounds, Stanaford had nine points and 10 rebounds, Elijah Reynolds finished with six points and Landyn Henry scored two. Both teams struggled from the free throw line, too, with Troy going 16 for 26 and West Carrollton going 11 for 20.
The Trojans will look to bounce back at home Tuesday, hosting Xenia in another MVL crossover matchup.
“Basketball’s a long season. We can pout and mope about this tonight, but we’ve got to wake up tomorrow and have the mindset to come in and work and get better,” Hess said. “Tonight, there were little things that we didn’t do well, and those little things hurt us. So our focus will be those little things … and we’ve got to get with each other. We’ve still got guys coming back from injuries. We’re not 100 percent healthy, so there’s guys playing together for the first time, so it’s that chemistry thing and finding our role each night.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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