Troy falls in state opener
TROY — At times this season Troy struggled with slow starts, and it proved to be fatal in their 62-42 loss to Mid-Valley during PIAA, Class AAA first round boys’ basketball action Saturday.
The Trojans had nine first quarter turnovers as they scored just four points on one field goal.
“We, obviously, didn’t have a good quarter, and I give credit to them,” said Troy coach Bob Woodward. “Their defense made us do some weird things today. And the level of physicalness is something we haven’t seen like that for that long a period of time.”
They were down eight going into the second, where they righted the ship with turnovers – they had just eight the rest of the way – but proceeded to miss lay-ups that they needed to make to get back into the game.
“We kept our composure, and then we missed some bunnies and missing foul shots when we needed to make a run, and that kind of hurt us,” remarked Woodward.
They would get down by as much as 21-4 midway through the second when they went on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to six points.
“I thought our second quarter was good,” said Woodward. “I thought if we played like we did in the second quarter to start the game, I thought it might have been a different outcome, it would have been different throughout.”
Mid-Valley answered Troy’s run with a 7-0 run to end the first half for a 13-point lead at the break.
It was back and forth early in the third but a 6-0 in the final three minutes of that frame by Mid-Valley gave them a commanding 19 point lead, one that was too much for the trojans to overcome.
Lincoln Chimics led the team with 11 points, as Jackson Taylor added eight points and three steals.
Lone senior Justice Chimics finished with seven points while Colin Loveland had six points, 10 boards, and two steals.
JB Burbage notched six points to go with eight rebounds and two steals, as Joseph Frye and Evan Woodward had two points each. Woodward handed out three assists, while Lance Heasley had five boards.
One area Troy did excel in was on the offensive glass, grabbing 12 caroms to Mid-Valley’s four, but struggled to convert those extra chances.
Richard Unansky had 24 points to lead Mid-Valley, hitting 12 field goals in the game, while Danny Nemitz added 13 points.
Nathan Sadaka chipped in with 11 points, including three 3-balls, while Demaja Dusnton notched eight.
Jovani Crisafulli had four, and Jakob Lesher finished with two.
Mid-Valley didn’t shoot a lot of threes, but made the ones they did, hitting five in the contest, including a flurry to start the second half that stymied a Troy rally.
Mid-Valley opened with an 8-0 run in the first 2:19 while Troy came up empty handed in their first six possessions, which include four turnovers.
With 4:15 left in the quarter a Woodward runner got the Trojans on the scoreboard, followed by a pair of Burbage freebies, which cut it to 8-4 with 3:56 on the clock.
Mid-Valley, though, answered with a 4-0 run of their own behind lay-ups from Sadada and Crisafulli for the 12-4 lead at the first horn.
Mid-Valley started the second quarter strong, going on a 9-0 spurt to push their lead to 21-4 with 5:30 left in the half.
A Taylor 3-ball seemed to get the Trojan offense going, as on their next possession Woodward found Lincoln Chimics for a bucket to make it 21-9.
A couple possessions later Burbage knocked down a jumper, followed by Lincoln getting fouled and making 1-of-2 from the line.
Their run ended on a Loveland 3-ball to cut it to a six point deficit with 2:30 left.
However, Dunston answered with a 3-pointer for Mid-Valley, which sparked their strong finish to the quarter for the 28-15 lead.
The Trojans came of the locker rooms strong, scoring on their first four possessions.
However, Mid-Valley answered them each time.
Burbage hit Taylor for a runner, but Dunston nailed another 3-ball at the other end.
Taylor found Justice for a lay-up, but then Sadaka nailed a three to extend Mid-Valley’s lead to 34-19.
Loveland would go 1-of-2 from the line at the other end, but Unamsky added a lay-up for Mid-Valley to make it a 16-point lead.
Lincoln could get an old fashion 3-point play off an offensive rebound to cut it to 36-23 two minutes in, but another Unansky lay-up kept Mid-Valley up big.
Neither team scored for about two minutes after that when Justice hit a runner to cut it to a 13-point deficit again.
In the final three minutes, though, Unansky went on a 6-0 run for Mid-Valley to push their lead to 44-25.
He scored two more lay-ups to start the fourth for a 23-point lead, the largest of the game.
Taylor had a lay-up to end the Trojan drought with 6:08 left in the game, but another Mid-Valley bucket pushed it back to 23.
The Trojans would cut it to 18 a 5-0 run with 4:35 to go, but Sadaka shut the door with a 3-ball with just four minutes left in the final quarter.
Lincoln would hit a 3-pointer, followed by a Nemitz bucket.
Justice would go 1-of-2 from the line, Unansky adding a lay-up.
Justice then scored the final basket of his career on a lay-up with 2:47 left in the game to make it 57-38.
The two teams would trade some free throws, followed by back to back Mid-Valley buckets.
Lincoln scored the final points of the game on a lay-up for the 20-point difference.
The loss doesn’t take away from Troy accomplished this season, especially in the face of the adversity they dealt with late in the year.
“I’m proud of them,” Woodward said. “I mean, these guys overcame a lot of things off the court this year that adults don’t even know how to deal with. And they came every day, and I’ve said it all along, this is the hardest working team I have. And they have nothing to hang their heads about.”
They have just one senior, so they return six of their seven rotation players next year, and are definitely ahead of schedule with their development.
“It’s tough to get there if you haven’t been there yet,” said Woodward. “I know that that’s what I told them after the game, that sometimes you have to be there. You learn from it, just like we’ve learned from our other losses. That outcome wasn’t what we wanted today, but we can probably take a lot more from it maybe even winning today, so we’re looking forward to that.”
It was also quite the season for their lone senior in Justice Chimics as he goes out a district champion.
“I think this is his best season in any sport he’s had,” said Woodward. “His leadership, his ability to be a great teammate. That’s a tough role for him being the only season. We’re awful proud of him, and great things are coming down the road for him. We told him that, later on in his life, that this was all worth it, this basketball season, and I think it will be.”
Writing: Chris Manning
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