Despite a 74-21 loss to Bigfork last weekend, the Troy High School boys basketball team came out hard and fast this past weekend to take down Noxon — 48-36 — and Eureka — 42-38.
The Trojans had no visible problems executing Thursday and Saturday, and came back from an 18-14 Eureka lead at the half to take and hold the lead late in the fourth quarter Saturday.
During both the Noxon and Eureka games, Troy Head Coach Justin Young said that mental toughness came into play.
Handling runs by their opponents without collapsing has been a struggle for the Trojans in the past, he said. But after this past weekend, he feels they are starting to develop the grit to hold it together.
“Basketball’s a game of runs,” Young said. “It might happen at the beginning, it might happen at the end, but we’re going to go on one too, so we just have to keep playing defense and waiting for our opportunities.”
The Eureka win was hard-fought to the end, and things didn’t look good at the half.
Young said he told the boys during halftime that it was up to them whether they gave up the game or kept fighting. He was proud of how hard they decided to fight.
“The boys, they rose up to it, and I was very proud of that,” he said.
Toward the end of their win against Noxon Thursday, with the Trojans holding a 12-point lead, Young had to holler out to remind them to slow down.
Young said the Trojans weren’t used to slowing the game down and holding onto the ball.
“We had the advantage. We didn’t need to rush things and make passes. We could take our time,” he said.
This past weekend gave the Trojans a lot of opportunities to practice their mental toughness and prepare for future wins, he said. After the Eureka game, the team was already eager to go back and face teams, such as Thompson Falls, who they lost to earlier in the season.
“That was kind of cool to hear in there,” Young said.
How far the Trojans have progressed during the season was clearly visible on the court during both the Noxon and Eureka games. There was no lag or hesitation. The Trojans went after every opportunity, and kept after the rebounds until the ball went in.
Young said that Troy is realistic about their shot percentage, and the importance of taking — and making — as many opportunities as they can to score.
During the Noxon game, Young said that the work the Trojans have put into their defensive intensity showed.
“Our guys did much better moving with the ball instead of reacting afterwards — they’re flying with the ball. So, that was awesome to see,” Young said.
The intensity was there two days later against Eureka as well.
“Our boys, it’s a mental thing. Physically, I think we’re there. Ball handling, yes we need to get a little better at taking care of the ball. But, athletically, knowledge of basketball -- we’re there with anybody,” Young said.
Against Eureka, the Trojans came back in the third quarter to establish a 22-20 lead, only to see the Lions come back 28-22. Halfway through the third quarter, the game was tied 30-30, and the final minutes were a high-energy fight to the finish.
Young said that the game served as both good practice and good reinforcement for the theme of mental toughness.
“This was a good game for our boys -- for mental toughness. And that’s why I was proud,” he said.
The Trojans play next at Florence, with the first game starting at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Their next home game will be against Stillwater on Saturday, Jan. 26, with the first game at 1 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 11
BigFork 74, Troy 21
BF: 18 21 22 13 - 74
T: 8 7 6 0 - 21
Big Fork: Anders Eppery 13 points, 3-4 FT; Clayton Reichenbach 12 points, 0-1 FT; Colton Reichenbach 10 points, 4-4 FT; Luue Schmit 5 points, 1-1 FT; Randy Stultz 3 points, 1-3 FT; Trey Christians 2 points, 2-2 FT; Brady Thorness 2 points; Wyatt Reichenbach 1 points, 1-2 FT; Wyatt Dulce 1 points, 1-2 FT; Logan Gilliard 23 points, 2-2 FT; Colt Thorness 2 points
Dylan Cummings 4 points, 1-1 FT; Hunter Leighty 2 points, 2-2 FT; Trevor Hoagland 2 points, 2-2 FT; Tyler Gromley 5 points; Ricki Fisher 7 points, 3-3 FT; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 1 points, 1-2 FT
Thursday, Jan. 10
Troy 48, Noxon 36
T: 10 13 10 15 - 48
N: 8 7 8 13 - 36
Troy: Alex Freund 8 points; Dylan Cummings 4 points, 1-3 FT; Hunter Leighty 2 points, 0-1 FT; Logan Milde 12 points, 1-2 FT; Trevor Hoagland 11 points, 1-6 FT; Tyler Gromley 2 points; Ricki Fisher 4 points; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 5 points
Noxon: Logan Wood 16 points, 5-7 FT; Owen Fisher 2 points; Jeriko Smith 6 points; Edison VanVleet 2 points; Alex Currie 7 points, 1-2 FT; Levi Brubaker 3 points, 1-1 FT
Saturday, Jan. 12
Troy 42, Eureka 38
T: 4 10 8 20 - 42
E: 9 9 10 10 - 38
Troy: Alex Freund 2 points; Dylan Cummings 11 points, 7-9 FT; Hunter Leighty 4 points; Logan Milde 2 points; Trevor Hoagland 15 points, 3-3 FT; Tyler Gromley 2 points; Ricki Fisher 3 points, 1-2 FT; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 3 points, 1-4 FT
Eureka: Alex Lowe 7 points, 1-5 FT; AJ Pacella 2 points, 2-2 FT; Quade Anderson 3 points, 0-2 FT; Cory Chaney 20 points, 4-9 FT; Joey Kindel 2 points; Jake Kindel 4 points