By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TIPP CITY — By the end of Monday night, Troy girls basketball coach Aaron Johnson was more than ready to start the new year fresh.
“2020 has got to be a different year,” he said. “We’ll say goodbye to 2019, and this decade.”
The Trojans faced off against Miami Valley League Miami Division co-leader Tippecanoe on the road Monday night, and the Red Devils made sure Troy would not look back on 2019 fondly, holding the Trojans to a season-low 25 points in a 40-25 victory at Tippecanoe High School.
The Devils (7-4, 7-0 MVL Miami) were coming off their fourth and final non-league matchup in which they, too, scored a season-low point total, a 44-29 loss to Carroll.
“We went back and looked at the Carroll game. We did some things well there, but we also found some areas we need to work on. And I think we did a pretty good job of executing our gameplan, especially defensively,” Tippecanoe coach Andy Holderman said. “It was a great rebound game for the girls heading back into league play.”
For Troy — which entered the season hoping to end the Devils’ run of three straight division titles — it was another disappointing night as it dropped its third straight for the second time this season, falling to 4-6 and 3-4 in MVL Miami play.
And the Devils plan was clear from the start — stop Troy’s senior center Tia Bass and sophomore point guard Macie Taylor, two of the league’s top scorers, and force everyone else to beat them.
“Their gameplan was great — anytime Tia caught the ball, they had three people on her, and anytime Macie had the ball, she had three sets of eyes on her,” Johnson said. “And it’s one of those games where we had open looks for other players, but we’ve got to be able to knock down those shots.
“If a team is going to take three people to focus on two of our players, that means someone is open, which they were. If we made those shots, they would’ve had to honor that, and that would’ve opened up Macie and Tia again.”
Taylor had all six of Troy’s first-quarter points and eight of their 10 in the first half. But on the other end, the Devils drilled three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, with Ashleigh Mader knocking down two and Kendall Clodfelter one to give Tippecanoe a 15-6 lead after one.
“On the offensive end, we hit shots early and got them out of that zone,” Holderman said. “Unfortunately in the second quarter, we missed a few bunnies that we’d normally hit. But if that’s what we have to nitpick on … I thought we did a good job executing the whole game.”
“In all honesty, I didn’t anticipate them knocking down so many shots against the zone because of watching them play on tape,” Johnson said. “But teams shoot well against us for some reason.”
Troy kept pace in the second quarter, trailing 21-10 at the half, but Tippecanoe outscored the Trojans 14-5 in the third to put the game away, opening the quarter with six unanswered points to complete a 10-0 run going back to the first half. The Trojans outscored the Devils 10-5 in the fourth, but by then it was too late.
Taylor finished with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists and Bass had five points and five rebounds to lead the Trojans. Brynn Siler added three points, Laura Borchers had two points and four rebounds and Caitlyn Hutson had two points.
“It’s a good learning experience, and I think it put our other players in some situations that they’ll benefit from down the road,” Johnson said. “It’s okay for them to score and look for their shot — they just have to relax and get comfortable. They do it in practice, now they have to do it in games.”
Clodfelter had 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists to lead the Devils. Mader added nine points and four rebounds, Katie Salyer had seven points and five rebounds and Hannah Wildermuth had five points and five rebounds as Tippecanoe won the battle of the boards 33-24 and forced 18 turnovers while only committing 10 — five through the first three quarters. Katie Hemmelgarn added four points and Rachel Wildermuth scored two.
Tippecanoe has another big league matchup up next, taking on MVL Valley Division-leading Sidney on the road Saturday.
“From not winning a game to 8-2 now, they’re doing something right, for sure,” Holderman said of Sidney. “We’ve got a couple days here to relax, then we’ll look at some film on them and see what we need to do.”
Troy, meanwhile, will kick off the new calendar year at Stebbins on Saturday.
“Let’s go into this new decade and see what we can do,” Johnson said.
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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