Trojans get learning experience courtesy of Blue Hawks

The Western News | January 5, 2021 7:00 AM


Sophomore Trevor Grant dribbles down the court during the Trojans's season opener against Thompson Falls. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

From the tip-off, the Blue Hawks sunk their talons into the Trojan varsity squad. By the time the buzzer sounded, Thompson Falls had secured a 76-13 victory in the Jan. 2 season opener in Troy.

Troy coach Justin Young said the results of the game were not surprising considering that none of his players sported previous varsity starting experience.

“It’s gonna take a couple games to get used to the speed,” he said.

The Trojan’s starting lineup included two sophomores and a pair of juniors. One of the team’s key members coming off the bench was a freshman. In total, only eight high school boys came out for the team. To compensate for the low turn out this year, Young had to pull up some eighth graders for the junior varsity.

“We’re raw and it’s going to definitely be a building season,” he said. “The good news is there’s not a better group to kick start Trojan athletics again.”

While the margin against Thompson Falls might have been staggering, the Trojans made some noticeable improvements throughout the game. In the first half, Troy’s inexperience led to an up-and-down offensive tempo and a stagnant defense. The Blue Hawks took advantage, coming away with 38 points — half their final score — in the first quarter. The Trojans only sunk one basket, courtesy of sophomore Paxton Fisher, in that period.

Troy was able to stop some of the bleeding in the second quarter by switching from a zone to a man-to-man defense. The transition brought more motion into the Trojan backcourt. Senior Malachi Montgomery added another two points to the scoreboard with six and a half minutes left in the quarter.

By halftime, the score was 54-4 for the Blue Hawks.

During a third-quarter timeout, Young urged his team to slow down their offensive plays.

“There’s time to attack but there’s also times, with experience, you want to slow things down and dictate the game,” he said after the matchup. “We were just letting [Thompson Falls] dictate it too much on both ends of the court.”

The measured offensive worked in the Trojan’s favor. Fisher scored again with a drive to the basket. With three minutes left in the quarter, sophomore Trevor Grant sunk a three.

In the fourth quarter, junior Michael Foote and Fisher each scored two-pointers. Following the game, Young commended Fisher for the energy he brought to the court.

Fisher said it had felt good to wear a Trojan jersey. Despite the drive he had shown that day, he came away from the game recognizing the importance of taking things slow sometimes.

“We went a little fast on that offense in the first quarter but the second half, we were slowing it down and playing good defense,” he said.

Looking ahead to their next game, Young said the Trojans would be working on practically everything.

“We’re excited because we know improvement is going to come and we’re going to be a much stronger team by the end,” Young said.

In their season opener earlier in the day, the Trojan junior varsity team fell to Thompson Falls 52-6.

The Trojans will face off against Stillwater at home Jan. 5.