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Trojan boys' season ends at divisionals

by Western News
| March 2, 2009 11:00 PM

The Western News

Leading by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, Troy’s prospects for victory looked favorable on Thursday in an elimination game against Thompson Falls at the Western B divisional tournament.

But in a valiant comeback, the Bluehawks put together a rally for the ages to knock off the Trojans, 65-63, and stay alive for a shot at the state playoffs. Meanwhile, Troy had to live with letting a considerable lead slip away.

Troy made just 1-of-10 shots in the fourth quarter while Thompson Falls was 11-for-16.

“We just basically lost our discipline, especially in the last 4 minutes,” Smith said. “We took some ill-advised shots and created things that just weren’t there because of the pressure.”

Thompson Falls came at the Trojans with a type of soft pressure that Smith referred to as a run-and-jump defense. Although Troy didn’t have very many turnovers, Smith said it forced his team to speed up its tempo. As a result, quality shots were not there and Troy failed to use up much time off the clock.

But the Bluehawks did well on the other end of the floor, too. Chuck Clark scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth and Mike Wood hit the game-winning basket with 2 seconds left.

“The story of the fourth quarter is we could not stop them on defense,” Smith said. “We could not make any defensive stops. We were in every possible defense that you could throw at them and we could not stop them.”

Smith said that Thompson Falls’ exceptional defensive effort created energy for the offense and played a role in the rally.

“They picked up their whole tempo and came at us as hard as they could,” Smith said. “They didn’t create that many turnovers; we just couldn’t get slowed down to run (the offense). We did not use the clock.”

Troy put together a balanced offensive attack with four players in double figures. Jesse Day led with 14 points, Aaron Palmer scored 12, Brian Hammrich hit for 11 and Shado Garrett added 10.

In the Trojans’ tourney opener on Wednesday against No. 1 seed Loyola, Palmer scored 21 and Garrett added 14 in a 57-40 loss.

The Rams led just 15-14 through the first quarter and the game remained close for most of the second. But in the last couple of minutes before halftime, Loyola took advantage of a few Troy miscues to take a 23-17 lead in at the break.

In the second half, Loyola continued to methodically pull away to eventually win by 17.

The game on Thursday against the Bluehawks turned out to be the last for Smith. And he blamed himself for the loss.

“As a coach, I did not get our kids slowed down to use the clock well,” Smith said. “Ultimately, our lack of discipline showed in those last 4 minutes. It was a reflection on coaching, not the kids. The kids did the best they could.”

The players certainly did not point any fingers. Following the loss to Thompson Falls, the Trojan athletes went to their outgoing coach and offered hugs and expressions of thanks for a memorable season.

“They did everything I could ask of them as a team,” Smith said.

Troy’s season ended with an overall record of 13-9.

Western B Divisionals

Feb. 25-March 2 at Pablo

Wednesday’s Scores

Plains 62, Deer Lodge 41

Florence 60, Eureka 41

Loyola Sacred Heart 57, Troy 40

Seeley-Swan 54, Thompson Falls 50

Thursday’s Scores

Deer Lodge 48, Eureka 32

Thompson Falls 65, Troy 63

Florence 61, Plains 59

Loyola Sacred Heart 42, Seeley-Swan 40

Friday’s Scores

Plains 68, Thompson Falls 57

Deer Lodge 41, Seeley-Swan 35

Saturday’s Scores

Third-Place Game

Deer Lodge 60, Plains 50

Championship Game

Loyola Sacred Heart 77, Florence 62

Monday’s Scores

Challenge Game

Deer Lodge 71, Florence 65

Rams 57, Trojans 40

Wednesday at Pablo

Troy (40)

Garrett 1 0-4 14, Jones 0 0-0 0, Palmer 9 3-6 21, Day 2 0-0 5, Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Kyriss 0 0-0 0, Powell 0 0-0 0, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Rayson 0 0-0 0, Rebo 0 0-0 0, Curry 0 0-0 0, Hammrich 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 3-10 40.

Loyola (57)

Bermingham 1 0-0 2, Shaughnessey 0 2-3 2, DeGroot 4 4-4 12, Johnston 2 1-2 6, Balcom 6 4-6 18, Chilton 0 0-0 0, Riley 1 0-0 3, Breza 0 0-0 0, Cross 7 0-2 14. Totals 21 11-17 57.

Three-point goals–Loyola 4 (Balcom 2), Troy 5 (Garrett 4).

Bluehawks 65, Trojans 63

Thursday at Pablo

Troy (63)

Garrett 3 3-4 10, Jones 1 0-0 3, Palmer 3 6-9 12, Day 3 5-6 14, Hammrich 4 3-3 11, Hoffman 0 0-0 0, Kyriss 2 2-3 8, Rebo 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 19-27 63.

Thompson Falls (65)

Gerstenberger 2 0-0 5, Clark 4 6-8 14, Nigh 4 1-1 9, Buckingham 3 0-0 6, Wood 5 3-3 13, Knapp 0 0-0 0, Mosher 0 0-0 0, Cristaldi 0 0-0 0, Kinkade 2 0-0 4, Molzhon 4 0-0 10, Dalby 2 0-1 4. Totals 25 101-13 65.

Three-pointers–Troy 8 (Day 3), Thompson Falls 3 (Molzhon 2).