By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
SIDNEY — Saturday, the Troy girls basketball team showed it could play a complete game against a quality opponent in a rout of Butler.
Wednesday, the Trojans showed they can gut one out when everything wasn’t going their way.
“Tonight, we showed we have fight,” Troy coach Aaron Johnson said. “This was a great battle.”
Tia Bass and Macie Taylor each scored 21 point, with Bass adding 20 rebounds — including some big ones on the defensive end late to prevent Sidney from getting second chances — and Taylor playing a solid floor game, keeping the Yellow Jackets from turning steals into fast breaks — Troy’s undoing in the first meeting — to help lead the Trojans to a 49-42 victory Wednesday night at Sidney High School.
It was the sixth straight win for the Trojans, who improved to 11-7 overall and 10-5 in the Miami Valley League Miami Division. MVL Valley Division leader Sidney, which defeated Troy 47-42 in the first meeting at Troy, fell to 14-5 and 11-4, snapping its three-game winning streak.
And, six games later, the driving force behind the Trojans’ resurgence remains an overtime loss to rival Piqua back on Jan. 8.
“Once we lost to them Piqua the first time, we knew that this was not us, not how we play,” Bass said. “Our plan after that was to shut down everybody we played the rest of the season — and the next team up was Sidney.”
One critical difference from the first meeting with the Jackets was how Troy protected the basketball. In Sidney’s win, the Trojans turned it over 19 times, with Lexee Brewer turning five steals into easy points and leading the Jackets with 16 points. Wednesday night? She was only able to do that twice and was held to only four points.
“We knew coming in that we had to protect the ball, because that’s how they get a lot of their points, in transition,” Taylor said. “We had to be strong with the ball, so I told Elise (McCann) that we had to stay calm and use shot fakes to pass and get it around the perimeter.”
“It’s hard to have the same level of execution in this type of a scrappy game,” Johnson said. “The pace was totally different. It was a bit more physical, and I thought when we needed to make plays, we executed really well.
“We handled their pressure a lot better than we did the first time. We looked at film and saw that, when we were out of system, they were able to get a lot more transition baskets — same thing with Butler. So we talked about getting into our offensive system, that way our spacing is better and we’re able to get back defensively.”
And when Troy needed to get a stop on defense or convert a second chance on offense, Bass was there to help finish the job.
The Trojan senior had 12 points and nine rebounds in the first half, helping Troy turn a 12-10 deficit after the first quarter into a 27-25 halftime lead.
“We knew this was going to be a fight, and we knew we had to come together,” Bass said. “Macie and I started seeing each other, then we saw (Laura) Borchers. Some of us got in foul trouble, but we all kept fighting. We knew we had to win it.”
“Tia dominated,” Johnson said. “She can dominate a game, and it’s good to see she’s getting that confidence. And with her and Macie both scoring 21 tonight, it’s great to be able to share that wealth.”
Taylor hit a 3 to kick off the second half, and Borchers followed an offensive rebound by Bass with another 3 to give the Trojans an eight-point lead. Sidney’s Peyton Wiley hit back-to-back 3s to keep the Jackets in it, but a putback by Bass and then a layup, a steal and a pair of free throws by Taylor helped the Trojans retake control, and they led 38-33 after three.
In the fourth, Taylor twice threw bomb passes the length of the floor to Bass for fast-break finishes, and Troy answered every time Sidney tried to fight back, with the Jackets getting no closer than six the rest of the way.
Taylor had six rebounds and three assists to go with her 21 points, Borchers finished with three points, four rebounds and three assists and Brynn Siler and MaKenna Taylor each had two points.
“Laura Borchers played well defensively, and she hit a big 3. A big one,” Johnson said. “Elise did a great job of handling their pressure, and Brynn Siler gets better and better.”
Allie Stockton led Sidney with 15 points — 13 of them coming in the first half — and eight rebounds, Wiley hit three of the Jackets’ seven 3s and added nine points, Samantha Reynolds had eight points and nine rebounds, Kelsey Kizer had six points and seven rebounds and Brewer had four points as Sidney outrebounded Troy 40-37 in the end and matched the Trojans with 16 turnovers apiece.
In the end, though, Troy made the plays when it counted.
“It’s good to get six in a row, and to get a win here? That’s a heck of a team over there,” Johnson said of Sidney. “To come out of here with a win, good, bad, ugly, disgusting — a win is a win, and I’ll take it.”
Now Troy hosts MVL Miami leader Tippecanoe Saturday and Stebbins on Feb. 5 before its rematch with the Indians Feb. 8 in Piqua.
“We’re looking to keep it going. After we lost to Piqua the first time, we’re motivated,” Macie Taylor said. “We’ve definitely improved from the beginning of the year. We didn’t want to remain a .500 team. We want to beat the teams that beat us.”
“We’re building towards Piqua,” Bass said. “Tipp’s next, but as a team, we’re building up towards Piqua.”
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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