GREENVILLE – After playing a great third quarter Greenville saw all its momentum disappear in the fourth quarter as Troy erased a five-point deficit in the final eight minutes to defeat the Lady Wave 35-34.
“This one hurts. This one hurts real bad,” Greenville girls basketball coach Rachel Kerns said. “So close. It’s just a tough one. It’s a tough one to swallow for a lot of different reasons.”
Greenville trailed 15-12 entering halftime but exploded for 16 points in the third quarter to take a 28-23 lead in Wednesday’s Greater Western Ohio Conference game. However, the Wave couldn’t keep their momentum going as they didn’t score for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing Troy to mount a comeback and retake the lead.
“I don’t really know what changed from the third and fourth,” Kerns said. “They didn’t change up their defense. I think we had a lot of calls that took our momentum away that were … don’t want to use questionable calls but very controversial calls and none of them went in our favor. And they were points that swung the scoreboard. Instead of us getting two or three they went the other way. Those are really hard to come by, but we can’t let that stop what we’re doing.”
Troy scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter with four Trojans contributing to the run, which gave the visitors a 31-28 advantage.
Five minutes into the period Payton Brandenburg stopped Greenville’s drought with a free throw. Then after a Troy basket she drained a 3-pointer to pull the Lady Wave within one point at 33-32 with 1:36 remaining.
In the game’s final minute Troy had a chance to put the game away but only made two of its final six free throws, keeping it a one-possession game at 35-32. Troy ended the night 10-of-22 from the free throw line while Greenville was 9-of-17.
“When you lose by one and you miss eight of them … but Troy didn’t shoot well either from the free throw line,” Kerns said. “Really frustrated that they shot more free throws than we did. That’s something we really emphasis about being strong with the basketball so not really happy that they shot more but in this game we did foul a little down the stretch so that kind of alters that number.”
Troy’s inability to make its late free throws kept Greenville alive, and Morgan Gilbert drove to the basket in the game’s final seconds to pull within 35-34. However, only half a second remained on the scoreboard and Troy inbounded the ball to run out the clock and preserve its one-point victory.
Greenville’s inability to score down the stretch was like the opening minutes.
In the first quarter the Lady Wave only managed a Cassie Cromwell basket and trailed 6-2.
A pair of Jada Garland 3-pointers early in the second quarter gave Greenville its’ first lead of the game at 8-6. Brandenburg hit a free throw, and Cromwell added an old-fashioned 3-point play in the period, but the Wave trailed 15-12 entering halftime.
In the second half the Lady Wave came out on fire. Karsyn Shaffer, Cromwell, Gilbert and Saki Nakamura each scored as Greenville began the second half on a 7-0 run, taking a 19-15 lead. Cromwell, Lani Shilt, Shaffer and Gilbert continued the offensive charge late in the third quarter as the Wave ended the period up 28-23.
But from there the momentum faded and Greenville saw a potential win slip away.
“There’s two big numbers that really stand out,” Kerns said. “We were 3-of-17 from the 3-point line. I don’t care that we shot 17 but we just can’t make three. We have to be able to be more accurate than that. And then we gave up 22 offensive rebounds. So truthfully giving up that many rebounds I don’t know how we only lost by one.”
Cromwell led Greenville with 11 points in Wednesday’s loss. Also for the Wave, Garland scored six points, Gilbert scored six, Brandenburg scored five, Shaffer scored three, Nakamura scored two, and Shilt scored one.
Alaura Holycross led Troy with a game-high 15 points. Also for the Trojans, Kiyha Adkins scored nine points, Bailey Hess scored five, Jordan Short scored four, and Tia Bass scored two.
Greenville fell to 3-3 on the season and 1-1 in the GWOC’s American North with Wednesday’s loss. Troy improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the American North division.
Greenville will return to action with another GWOC game on Saturday afternoon at Vandalia-Butler.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.