The Troy High School boys basketball team took down Stillwater, 49-21, on Saturday, a dramatic flip from the two-point Trojan loss the last time the two teams met on the court.
As has been the case throughout recent weeks, the Trojans brought an intensity to Saturday that was not seen early in the season.
Troy Head Coach Justin Young said that when Troy started the season, there were games where it seemed they were playing to not lose. Now, even when they are down, there never seems to be a moment the Trojans are playing for anything less than a win.
With every game, the Trojans appear to be getting smoother, better coordinated, and whether they show in the scoring or not, there is no one giving anything less than full contributions when game time comes.
Early in their game Saturday, Troy was showing some of the significant improvements they have made in their rebounding, both defensively and offensively.
“Usually our offensive boards have been hard to come by,” Young said. That night, he rattled off nearly half the varsity roster pointing out the Trojans who did a good job attacking the boards.
“That was good to see,” he said. “We know every game that’s going to be one of our biggest challenges, rebounding, so, it’s good to see that the work at practice translates during the game time.”
Against Thompson Falls the night before, Young said that the Trojans did well on defense, but they struggled to score.
“We got some good looks and shots that our boys have typically been making in games. They just didn’t fall for us last night,” he said.
Coming out the next day for their third game in as many days, Troy was ready for the rematch against Stillwater, Young said.
“We felt we should have had them when we played them in Kalispell -- we ended up losing on, practically a buzzer beater -- so it was good to get a little home cooking, and show that we have improved during the season,” he said.
At the end of the first quarter, Stillwater was hanging with the Trojans, only trailing 7-5. But in the second quarter Troy turned up the heat.
Troy senior Alex Freund started out the quarter, driving down court with a defensive rebound to put in the layup that got it started.
By the half, the Trojans had a 26-7 lead, a lead the Cougars were unable to narrow for the rest of the game.
But even with Stillwater trailing, Troy did not let up for a second as they fought every minute as intensely as if there was only a two-point difference.
“And I’m really happy for our boys,” Young said. “Just the smiles on our boys’ faces before the games start -- I think they would play another game tomorrow if they had their way.”
Despite the rapid improvement that the Trojans have made in recent weeks, Young said they are plenty aware of how much work they have to do.
“You know, we are far from a polished, finished product, and that’s the exciting thing, and our boys know it,” Young said.
As much as they have improved in their teamwork and coordination since the start of the season, Troy knows they can still be better if they just put in the work.
As happy as the players were in the locker room after the game, Young said he was also pleased to hear senior Trevor Hoagland talking about the work they have to do in practice.
“Once your team leaders are buying into it, it just makes things a lot easier as a coach,” he said.
Yet, when asked about the leaders on the team, Young reflected, saying that one of the best aspect of the team is that they are all leaders, and all followers.
“Every single guy in that locker room is a leader -- isn’t afraid to speak up. Everyone has a voice, and that’s one of the things I really love about this bunch.”
The Trojans play tonight in Charlo at 7 p.m. They will be at home on Saturday, when they will host Bigfork at 5:45 p.m.
Florence 56, Troy 37
F: 12 11 19 14 - 56
T: 7 15 7 8 - 37
Troy: Cy Winslow 2 points; Trevor Hoagland 3 points, 1-2 FT; Dylan Cummings 6 points; Hunter Leighty 9 points, 2-2 FT; Tyler Gromley 3 points; Alex Freund 6 points, 6-10 FT; Jaymin Stever 3 points; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 2 points, 2-3 FT; Logan Milde 3 points.
Plains 50, Troy 43
P: 16 10 9 15 - 50
T: 10 10 23 0 - 43
Troy: Trevor Hoagland 5 points; Dylan Cummings 10 points, 4-6 FT; Hunter Leighty 8 points, 2-2 FT; Alex Freund 5 points, 1-2 FT; Jaymin Stever 8 points, 1-5 FT; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 5 points, 2-4 FT.
Libby 68, Troy 30
L: 13 18 20 17 - 68
T: 2 9 6 13 - 30
Libby: Ryder Davis 2 points; JJ Davis 3 points; Ryan Christensen 2 points; Chandler Bower 9 points, 2-2 FT; Ryan Goodman 4 points; Ryggs Johnston 24 points, 10-10 FT; Jay Beagle 2 points, 0-1 FT; Caden Williams 4 points; Ryker McElmurry 2 points; Tim Goodman 6 points, 4-6 FT; Keith Johnson 6 points, 2-3 FT; Kevin Barnes 4 points, 2-4 FT.
Troy: Trevor Hoagland 9 points; Dylan Cummings 5 points; Hunter Leighty 2 points; Tyler Gromley 3 points; Alex Freund 7 points, 3-4 FT; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 2 points; Logan Milde 2 points, 2-4 FT.
Thompson Falls 54, Troy 46
T: 12 16 11 15 - 54
T: 10 14 14 8 - 46
Troy: Cy Winslow 2 points; Trevor Hoagland 15 points, 1-3 FT; Ricki Fisher 4 points; Dylan Cummings 2 points; Hunter Leighty 3 points; Alex Freund 6 points, 2-3 FT; Jaymin Stever 2 points; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 12 points, 2-2 FT.
Troy 49, Stillwater 21
T: 7 19 8 15 - 49
S: 5 2 4 10 - 21
Troy: Cy Winslow 3 points, 1-5 FT; Trevor Hoagland 9 points, 2-5 FT; Ricki Fisher 6 points; Dylan Cummings 13 points, 4-4 FT; Hunter Leighty 4 points; Tyler Gromley 2 points; Alex Freund 12 points, 6-7 FT.
Stillwater: Josh Venman 1 points, 1-4 FT; Nick Sulzbacher 12 points, 2-6 FT; Eric Anderson 4 points, 2-2 FT; Connor Drish 4 points, 2-6 FT.