TROY – In its closest Greater Western Ohio Conference game of the season, the Greenville boys basketball team lost 63-55 against Troy on Tuesday.
Greenville showed some major improvement since the last time it played Troy – a 73-33 loss on Dec. 8 – but still had some fatal flaws in Tuesday’s loss.
One of the Green Wave’s problems on Tuesday, which has been an issue throughout the season, was giving up second-chance points.
“Our big Achilles’ heel all year has just been able to defensive rebound, and that’s really what cost us again tonight. We’re going to keep working on it,” Greenville coach Kyle Joseph said. “We’re playing good defense. If we can finish possessions then not only are we going to be in all these games, but we’re going to win some of them.”
Another issue throughout the season that manifested on Tuesday has been Greenville’s slow starts.
The Wave managed a single basket from Noah Walker in the first six-and-a-half minutes on Tuesday, a stretch in which Troy built a 12-2 lead.
“We’re still pretty inexperienced group even here towards the end of the season,” Joseph said. “But we’re just a little bit slow adjusting to what they’re doing at the beginning of the game.”
Almost seven minutes into the game Kyle Mills made a 3-pointer, but Greenville trailed 15-5 at the end of the opening quarter.
The second quarter started much better for the Green Wave. After Troy made a basket early in the period, Greenville went on a 9-0 run with scoring from Mills, Ethan Emrick and Tyler Beyke to cut its deficit to just 3 points at 17-14.
Greenville ultimately outscored Troy 15-13 in the second quarter to reduce its deficit to 28-20.
With points from Beyke, Marcus Wood, Mills and Will Coomer, Greenville further reduced its deficit in the third quarter. The Wave outscored the Trojans 16-15 in the period and went into the fourth quarter trailing by just 7 points, 43-36.
Mills made a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to pull within 4 points at 43-39. Troy scored the next 10 points, however, to prevent Greenville from regaining the lead.
Down 14 with less than two minutes to go, Greenville kept battling. Noah Walker drained four 3-pointers in the final minutes, including some deep treys well beyond NBA 3-point range, to reduce the deficit to 59-53 late in the game.
“Every single game this year we continue to fight ’til the end,” Joseph said. “I don’t know that we can count on all those deep ones going in, but we’re going to keep playing.”
Despite the Wave’s hot shooting toward the end of the game, they couldn’t catch Troy as the Trojans held on for an 8-point win, 63-55.
“Really down the stretch they did a great job of making free throws,” Joseph said, “otherwise we have a chance probably if they miss some front end of one-and-ones. We have a chance to cut it 3 or 4, but once again to their credit they stepped up to the line and made their free throws.”
Mills led Greenville with 15 points in Tuesday’s loss. Also for the Wave, Walker scored 14 points, Wood scored 11, Beyke scored 8, Emrick scored 5, and Coomer scored 2.
Jacob Martinez and Zach Reichelderfer each led Troy with a game-high 22 points. Also for the Trojans, Chris Demeo scored 7 points, Brayden Siler scored 6, Brenden Kinnel scored 4, and Caillou Monroe scored 2.
Greenville fell to 1-14 overall and 0-10 in the GWOC with Tuesday’s loss while Troy improved to 8-8 overall and 6-5 in the GWOC.
“We made some improvements, more than just the scoreboard, from the last time we played them,” Joseph said. “We did a better job than we’ve done kind of adjusting to some of the things that they did differently.”
Greenville will return to action on Friday when it plays host to 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.