In their first weekend of play, the Troy High School girls basketball team took two losses, but finished off Saturday with a 49-33 win over Valley Christian.
In their first game last Thursday against Clark Fork, the Lady Trojans had a 41-32 loss, but closed to within five points of the Lady Mountain Cats in the final moments and outscored Clark Fork 18-16 in the second half.
Troy Head Coach Bradley Dunn-meier said that the girls were looking tired by the end of the game. Beyond it being their first game of the season, the lack of a deep bench means the Lady Trojans are going to have to build endurance over the course of the season.
But Dunn-meier said he also saw a lot of improvement in the second half. It’s a theme that carried through all three of their initial games.
“Seems like every time I’d tell them something, they would take it to heart, and they’d try to apply it on the court,” Dunn-meier said Thursday.
Against Stillwater last Friday, Troy fell 47-33.
The Lady Trojans struggled with the man defense and the press at Stillwater, he said.
“We’d break the press, but then we’d come down and we’d lose the ball,” Dunn-meier said. “We had a lot of turnovers we shouldn’t have had.”
But when they faced Valley Christian’s zone defense Saturday, it was a different story, he said. “They’re just dealing better with the press in general, making better decisions.”
One of the most encouraging things for Dunn-meier is how quickly and completely the team has taken to heart the lessons he gives them, he said. They aren’t big changes, but small adjustments to gradually bring up their game.
On Friday, the Lady Trojans would keep dribbling into traps. On Saturday, they stopped short and looked for an open teammate.
“Because you know as soon as you get a double team, somebody’s open, so they were finding that person on Saturday, whereas we weren’t doing that on Friday, and even Thursday,” he said.
Dunn-meier said that the Lady Trojans are showing more patience and acting more comfortable in pressure situations.
The key is repetition, and keeping after it until it works, he said. Even in something such as passing to a teammate, the only way they will learn to catch a pass is by getting passed to.
The team has quick learners, Dunn-meier said. But he also credited the motivation they bring to learning.
“They really listen. This group really wants to learn. They want to get better,” he said.
And there is no better reinforcement than when they see how well a plan comes together, he said.
But they also have to learn not to dwell on their mistakes, he said.
“I’ve told them from the beginning, you’re gonna make mistakes, and you’re gonna miss the basket. If you want to be perfect, this is not the game to do it,” he said.
Dunn-meier said he came across research that showed high school players will still be thinking about a mistake several minutes later. A pro basketball player forgets a mistake after six seconds.
“You don’t dwell on that. You just go, and you do better next time, and you just keep learning,” he said.
The Lady Trojans play Mission at home on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Their next home game is against Libby on Tuesday, with the first game at 3 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 6
Clark Fork 41, Troy 32
CF: 11 14 6 10 - 41
T: 12 2 9 9 - 32
Clark Fork: Darby Haskins 1 points, 1-2 FT; Sophia Krutilla 2 points; Izzy Pereira 4 points, 1-2 FT; Emma Baughman 2 points, 2-4 FT; Sorren Reese 3 points, 1-3 FT; Madison Mask 26 points, 3-5 FT; Margaret Parkin 3 points, 3-4 FT
Troy: Annie Day 8 points, 4-7 FT; Montana Rice 2 points; Kaitlyn Tallmadge 13 points, 2-3 FT; Isabelle Ramirez 9 points, 3-4 FT
Friday, Dec. 7
Stillwater 47, Troy 33
S: 10 13 14 10 - 47
T: 4 14 6 9 - 33
Stillwater: Cora Ball 4 points; Marae Tintzman 4 points; Madison Merken 10 points, 2-4 FT; Helen Hashby 9 points; Selah Newman 14 points, 2-3 FT; Abigail Hudson 6 points, 0-1 FT
Troy: Annie Day 17 points, 4-5 FT; Montana Rice 8 points, 2-10 FT; Kaitlyn Tallmadge 2 points, 2-2 FT; Ella Pierce 3 points, 1-3 FT; Talise Becquart 3 points
Saturday, Dec. 8
Troy 49, Valley Christian 33
T: 12 13 10 14 - 49
VC: 8 7 6 12 - 33
Annie Day 7 points; Montana Rice 10 points, 0-2 FT; Kaitlyn Tallmadge 14 points, 0-1 FT; Isabelle Ramirez 4 points; Ella Pierce 6 points, 0-1 FT; Talise Becquart 8 points
Valley Christian: Morgan Brewer 6 points, 2-4 FT; Kaytlin Kelly 9 points, 1-4 FT; Emma Hiite 8 points, 2-2 FT; Taylor Vance 4 points, 2-3 FT; Naomi Murphy 6 points, 2-3 FT