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Troy takes 3-OT thriller over Hawks

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| January 26, 2009 11:00 PM

Nine-tenths of a second showed on the clock when Thompson Falls junior Will Dalby had a chance to ice a key District 7-B victory on Thursday night over Troy.

When the first attempt bounced harmlessly off the rim, he headed over to the bench when timeout was called. Upon his return to the foul line, Dalby’s luck did not change. Another miss gave new life to the Trojans.

“That was home-court advantage,” Troy senior Troy Palmer said about the misses. “We had an amazing crowd.”

In an incredible game between two evenly-matched teams, Troy finally pulled out a 60-57 victory to keep pace with the leaders in the conference. It was a must win after the Trojans had stumbled the previous weekend at Eureka.

“We played the game of our lives,” said Palmer, who scored 33 points and grabbed 21 rebounds. “Everyone played a major, critical role.”

At the end of regulation, the two rivals were knotted in a 37-37 tie. Troy’s Shado Garrett stuck a 3-pointer with 3:06 remaining for a one-point lead. Neither team had a field goal the rest of the quarter. Thompson Falls’ John Buckingham hit a free throw at 2:56 left and the tie held up the rest of the way.

In the first overtime, Palmer scored all six of Troy’s points – the biggest coming with 1:15 left after an offensive rebound. Thompson Falls’ Nate Nigh followed with a pair of free throws. Troy took over possession and ran the clock down to less than 10 seconds before Jesse Day attacked in the lane. But the ball wouldn’t fall and the Hawks’ got the rebound. On the play, an official whistled Palmer for a foul and that’s when Dalby went to the foul line for a chance to win it.

In the second overtime, the Blue Hawks got out to a 49-44 lead through the first two minutes. Then, Day turned things around in a span of six seconds. With 1:27 left in the second OT, Day put up a 3-pointer to cut the five-point deficit down to just two.

On the in-bounds pass, he stole the ball and although he didn’t score, Thompson Falls fouled Day to send him to the free-throw line.

Day sank 1-of-2 foul shots to pull Troy to within one of the lead.

“I like to have the ball in my hands at the end of the game,” said Day, who scored 11 points. “We try really hard when we’re playing Thompson.”

The Hawks’ Buckingham hit a free throw for a 50-48 lead and the Trojans tied it up with 4 seconds left thanks to another offensive rebound. On the play, Garrett took a 3-point attempt that would’ve given Troy the victory. The shot bounced off the rim but Palmer was there for the board and put-back.

Thompson Falls’ Nigh had a chance with a 3-point attempt at the buzzer but it was no good.

So, the game went to a third overtime and this time, Troy took control. Neither team did much early but then Palmer scored with 2:32 left for the lead. After the Hawks pulled to within one on a free throw, Day answered with a basket while driving the lane. Nineteen seconds later, Day drew a foul and hit a pair of free throws for a 56-51 Trojan lead.

The Hawks hung tough, however, and even had a chance for another tie at the end of the third OT. Palmer scored for a 58-53 lead but a free throw by Chuck Clark and a 3-pointer by Buckingham got the visitors back to within one.

With 15 seconds left, Nigh stole the ball and the Hawks had a chance to take the lead. But he missed the shot and Palmer grabbed the rebound. Thompson Falls fouled and Palmer sank 1-of-2 for a 59-57 lead.

The Hawks appeared to catch a break when Garrett fouled with six seconds left. This time, Clark missed both free throws. On the second, he missed intentionally and Palmer quickly got into position for another rebound. Palmer was fouled and made another free throw for a three-point lead.

In the final couple of seconds, the Blue Hawks had one final opportunity on a hurried 3-pointer by Buckingham but it didn’t fall and the Trojans could finally celebrate.

“I’m proud of our kids to come off a loss like Eureka, that really hurt us in our conference,” Troy coach Tony Smith said. “Now we’re back in the hunt.”

Smith wasn’t sure but believed it’s the first time Troy had swept Thompson Falls during the regular season since 1991 or 1993.

“We boarded well, had few defensive breakdowns, few poor possessions,” Smith said. “On the whole, the kids took care of the ball well. … I thought we grew up a lot tonight.”

Besides the 33 from Palmer and 11 from Day, Garrett chipped in 10 points and 14 rebounds. Dalton Powell came in off the bench to contribute key minutes.

The Trojans have handed Thompson Falls some disappointing losses this school year. Troy won at Thompson Falls in football to reach the Class B playoffs and then won on the Blue Hawks’ own floor in a December hoops meeting. Now another victory over Thompson Falls in a key game.

“I don’t think Troy has our number,” Blue Hawks coach Chadd Laws answered when asked that very question. “We don’t want to get them any worse than we want to get anyone else.”

The Trojans followed up with another thrilling performance on Saturday at Superior. Troy got into a 16-4 hole in the first quarter but rallied to take a 53-41 win over the Class C school, which  came into the game riding an eight-game winning streak. The comeback included a 19-2 advantage in the fourth quarter.

Troy had to complete more than one comeback to nail down the victory. The Trojans erased their 12-point deficit from the first quarter by tying Superior, 21-21, by halftime. But in the third, the Bobcats again came out tough and took a five-point lead into the fourth.

“By the second quarter, we changed defenses, went back to our man-to-man ‘D’ and stopped their penetration,” Smith said. “We powered it inside to Aaron and what that did was open up our 3-point shooting.”

Day hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. Garrett scored 12 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Clayton Kyriss netted nine points for the game and also had a 3-pointer. Palmer finished with 16 points to share team-high honors with Day.

Besides those offensive efforts, Smith said Steph Jones played well defensively to shutdown a key Superior player.

Tyler Stenberg, who leads his conference in scoring, finished with 20 for Superior (8-4).

The Trojans (3-2, 9-3) play host to Noxon on Friday before heading to Plains on Saturday.

It Was Over When …

Thompson Falls’ John Buckingham put up a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer to end the third overtime. If the shot had fallen, the two teams would’ve headed to a fourth OT.

Game Ball

Troy’s Aaron Palmer put together one of his finest-ever performances by making 13-of-21 shots and 6-of-10 free throws for 33 points. He also grabbed 21 rebounds, many on the offensive glass.

Stat of the Game

The biggest lead by either team was five points. The Hawks held leads of 12-7, 14-9 and 17-12 (first quarter) and 49-44 (second OT). Troy had a 56-51 lead in third OT.

Trojans 60, Blue Hawks 57

(Triple OT)

Thursday at Troy

Thompson Falls (57)

Gerstenberger 0 1-2 1, Clark 6 2-6 17, Nigh 4 2-2 10, Buckingham 6 2-4 15, Wood 3 1-2 7, Dalby 2 3-6 7, Kinkade 0 0-0 0, Cristaldi 0 0-0 0, Molzhon 0 0-0 0, Mosher 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 11-22 57.

Troy (60)

Kyriss 1 0-0 2, Powell 2 0-2 4, Garrett 3 1-2 10, Palmer 13 6-10 33, Day 3 4-6 11, Jones 0 0-0 0, Rebo 0 0-0 0, Curry 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 11-20 60.

Three-Pointers–Thompson Falls 4 (Clark 3, Buckingham), Troy 3 (Garrett 3, Palmer, Day). Rebounds–Thompson Falls 42 (Nigh 11), Troy 48 (Palmer 21). Assists–Thompson Falls 11 (Nigh 4), Troy 15 (Day 6). Total Fouls–Thompson Falls 15, Troy 17. Technical Fouls–Thompson Falls coach.

Trojans 53, Bobcats 41

Saturday at Superior

Troy (53)

Day 16, Garrett 12, Palmer 16, Kyriss 9.

Superior (41)

Stenberg 20, Stroot 3, Rennick 6, Labbe 6, Walen 4, Yarnell 2.