By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Troy’s Tia Bass made school history early in Wednesday night’s game.
That, combined with opposition that had lost 9 of its last 10 games coming in — as well as the Trojans’ rematch against rival Piqua coming up on Saturday — made the matchup against Stebbins the perfect trap.
In the end, though, Bass put up her 11th double-double of the season, becoming Troy’s all-time career rebounding record holder in the process, and Macie Taylor added 11 points as the Trojans did just enough to hold on for an ugly 25-17 victory over the Indians Wednesday at the Trojan Activities Center.
Troy improved to 12-8 overall and 11-6 in the Miami Valley League Miami Division, while Stebbins fell to 4-17 and 3-14 in the MVL Valley. It also leads into the Trojans’ rematch against Piqua, whose 50-47 overtime victory in the first meeting between the teams set Troy off on a six-game winning streak.
Needless to say, it was difficult for the Trojans to remain focused on Stebbins.
“I think we avoided the trap game,” Troy coach Aaron Johnson said. “We’re relatively young, and they’re so looking forward to Piqua that at times I think we forget the task at hand. Throw in the excitement for Tia breaking the record — I know Tia was excited, and the girls were incredibly excited for her — trying to reign that back in and execute, it’s tough.
“It’s easy to get caught up in it all, and I think we got caught up a little.”
A mere 2:05 into the game, Bass made history.
The senior entered the game only needing three rebounds to surpass Rachel Brugger’s career total of 769. Bass grabbed two offensive rebounds on Troy’s first possession of the game and then, after she scored twice in the paint to give the Trojans a 4-0 lead, she grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end. The officials stopped the game, and Bass was honored for her achievement.
“I didn’t know what it was. They’d told my teammates at practice before I got there, so I didn’t know what was going on. I was surprised,” Bass said. “I feel kind of weird about it, like, I’ve accomplished something, but there’s more I still want to do. Like, this was one more record I had to get, but I still don’t feel accomplished. I’ve still got more to get, more to strive for.”
Bass continued to dominate early, piling up 10 points and seven rebounds in the first before picking up her second foul late in the quarter. In fact, Bass had all of Troy’s points in the opening quarter as the team held a 10-6 lead. Taylor then hit a second-quarter 3 for the Trojans, who played most of the second without their two leaders and only held a 13-10 edge at halftime.
To start the third, Bass hit a putback and Elise McCann converted a steal into a layup to give Troy a seven-point lead, but Stebbins hit its fourth 3 of the game to get back to within 17-13. Taylor hit another 3, though, and Troy carried a 20-15 lead into the fourth.
Taylor then scored all five of Troy’s fourth-quarter points to seal the win, including converting a three-point play that made the score 25-15 with 3:05 to play.
“It was kind of hard (to stay focused), and you could tell,” Bass said. “As a team, we weren’t focused. Like, we have Piqua to worry about still. It was an ugly win, but we got the win. And now we can focus on Piqua.”
Bass finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, Taylor had 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals and McCann added two points and six rebounds as Troy went 11 for 38 (28.9 percent) from the field, including 2 for 14 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range.
Sarah Holt had five points and seven rebounds and Kristine George had five points to lead Stebbins. Bailey Roche scored four points and Diamond Baker added three points and nine rebounds.
Now Troy travels to Piqua Saturday for a noon tip-off.
“It’s a good lesson for us to learn, and it’s a win,” Johnson said. “I’d rather play like this now, and the girls know that they didn’t play well.
“I’ll take an ugly win any day of the week. We still have work to do. We’ve been taking four or five steps forward — this was just a half-step back. And we’ll fix it.”
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
©2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.