The Troy High School girls basketball team faced Stillwater Christian in a 48-41 loss Saturday as the third and final game of a long weekend series that began with a 31-8 loss to Libby Thursday and a 45-19 loss to Thompson Falls Friday.
Troy Head Coach Bradley Dunn-meier was talking about how proud he was of the girls after the Stillwater game though.
Considering their last meeting Dec. 7 had Stillwater winning 47-33, there was good reason.
After stretching their advantage to four points in the second quarter Saturday, the Lady Trojans entered halftime with a narrow 21-20 lead over the Lady Cougars.
But in the first minutes of the third quarter, Stillwater came out and hit back hard, and before the quarter was three minutes in, they were up 28-21 over Troy.
Though the players didn’t manage to come back from that third-quarter Lady Cougar run, Dunn-meier said he was pleased with how the Lady Trojans dealt with it.
“You know, it was really cool, because in other games where we’ve gotten down by quite a bit, we’ve kind of — not given up, but just kind of resigned to the fact, ‘Oh, this isn’t our game,’ and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Through the third quarter, Troy kept at Stillwater’s heels, dropping to a nine-point difference by the end of the quarter.
In the fourth, they kept fighting, closing the gap to 45-41 with just over a minute left.
But, the shots that Troy needed went to Stillwater, as the Lady Cougars pushed into a comfortable lead with free throws.
Looking at the stats after the game, Dunn-meier noted how much a difference just a few more shots going in could have made for Troy. By the fourth quarter, even standout senior Annie Day missed back-to-back free throws as three days of playing with no subs began to show.
Dunn-meier said that he had no doubt fatigue made a difference in how Troy finished out the game. Still, the Lady Trojans outscored the Lady Cougars 11-9 in the final quarter.
Though the game wasn’t perfect, Troy executed several impressive passes and pulled off more than one offensive maneuver that left the fans cheering. During some moments, the Lady Trojans functioned with the precision of a machine.
Dunn-meier said that even with the loss, Saturday was a game he enjoyed watching.
The Lady Trojans are still developing their skills, building their consistency, he said.
But confidence plays a part as well — even as skill builds confidence, he said.
He was pleased with how much more aggressive the Lady Trojans were Saturday than they have been in other games.
When the whole team rallies like that, it not only means that the least experienced are playing better, but Day is as well.
“Sometimes they rely on her a little too much,” Dunn-meier said. “They’re finally figuring out that they need to do their part.”
There were positives all around the court Saturday, from sophomore Talise Becquart who is continuing to show greater control and precision in her shots to junior Ella Pierce, who was visibly limping at points as she played on through the pain of ankle and knee problems.
Junior Katelynn Tallmadge is growing as a core player as well as sophomore Emma Johnson, both of whom Dunn-meier had positive words for.
Tallmadge was hesitant early in the season when Dunn-meier wanted to make her a point guard, he said. Now she is confidently putting herself in the middle of the action.
“Her confidence has come up — I mean, the whole team — This was just the best game that we’ve played when it comes to confidence and working together,” Dunn-meier said. “By far the best game.”
The Lady Trojans play tonight at Charlo at 5:30 p.m. Their next home game is on Saturday, when they will host Bigforkat 4:15 p.m.
Florence 57, Troy 17
F: 19 22 13 3 - 57
T: 4 6 5 2 - 17
Troy: Annie Day 3 points, 3-8 FT; Ella Pierce 6 points; Emma Johnson 4 points; Katelynn Tallmadge 2 points, 2-2 FT; Isabelle Ramirez 2 points.
Plains 59, Troy 24
P: 17 21 19 2 - 59
T: 5 8 5 6 - 24
Troy: Talise Becquart 6 points; Annie Day 5 points; Ella Pierce 3 points, 1-4 FT; Emma Johnson 4 points; Katelynn Tallmadge 3 points, 1-1 FT; Emily Ramirez 3 points, 1-3 FT.
Libby 31, Troy 8
L: 12 5 4 10 - 31
T: 0 4 4 0 - 8
Libby: Syd Gier 4 points; Alli Collins 6 points, 3-5 FT; Emma Gruber 2 points; Jayden Winslow 6 points; Sammee Bradeen 8 points; McKenzie Proffitt 4 points; Elise Erickson 1 points, 1-1 FT.
Troy: Annie Day 2 points; Riley Roeder 2 points; Katelynn Tallmadge 2 points; Isabelle Ramirez 2 points.
Thompson Falls 45, Troy 19
T: 13 7 14 11 - 45
T: 2 5 7 5 - 19
Troy: Talise Becquart 1 points, 1-4 FT; Annie Day 7 points, 2-5 FT; Ella Pierce 2 points, 2-4 FT; Katelynn Tallmadge 7 points, 2-4 FT; Emily Ramirez 2 points.
Stillwater 48, Troy 41
S: 7 13 19 9 - 48
T: 12 9 9 11 - 41
Stillwater: Cora Boll 7 points, 1-5 FT; Asiah Brockington 3 points, 1-2 FT; Madison Morken 7 points, 1-6 FT; Marae Tintzman 2 points, 2-4 FT; Selah Newmann 19 points, 3-8 FT; Abigail Hudson 10 points.
Troy: Talise Becquart 5 points, 5-8 FT; Annie Day 9 points, 4-8 FT; Ella Pierce 3 points, 1-2 FT; Emma Johnson 6 points, 2-4 FT; Katelynn Tallmadge 14 points, 2-3 FT; Isabelle Ramirez 2 points, 2-2 FT; Emily Ramirez 2 points.