By BENJAMIN KIBBEY
The Western News
RONAN — The Troy High School boys basketball team were taken out of division tournament play after falling in succession to teams that had given them deep-deficit losses during the regular season.
The tournament started for the Trojans with a 65-19 loss to Loyola Sacred Heart High School on Feb. 22. The game was lower-scoring for both teams than their regular season showdown that ended 98-33, Loyola with the win, but the point spread was smaller as well.
In loser-out play the next day, the Trojans faced Thompson Falls, a team they took a double-digit loss to at the end of the regular season. Though Troy came out stronger in the start than they had the last time they played the Blue Hawks, Thompson Falls outpaced them from the start and held the Trojans to single-digit scoring in all but the second quarter.
Though the season is over, Troy only loses one senior this year. Most of the team are juniors who are set to return next year.
Heading into the tournament, juniors Alex Fruend and Dylan Cummings agreed that the divisional could give some of the players who hadn’t played varsity in past years some incentive to work harder in the offseason.
“I think they’re really looking forward to an opportunity to lift some weights and improve their shooting,” said Head Coach Bradley Dunn-meier.
“They know, and I think they want to improve. They really have a desire to improve that they didn’t have last year, because only two of them had that varsity experience,” he said. “Now they know what they need to do and they have an opportunity, they don’t want to squander it.”
The closeness of the team adds incentive, Dunn-meier said. Not letting their teammates down is a big motivation for each of the returning players to put work in during the off season.
Missoula Loyola 65, Troy 19
Loyola 16 23 13 13 — 65
Troy 4 7 4 4 — 19
Loyola: Jack Lincoln 14, Scotty Twite 4, Jacob Hollenback 2, Ryan Tirrell 2, Charles Burns 8, Cooper Waters 4, David Koppang 8, Bucky Crippen 5, Bridger Bell 12, Liam Haffey 4, Joey McElroy 2.
Troy: Austin McCully 3, Jay Stever 2, Dylan Cummings 2, AJ Faur 2, Hunter Leighty 2, Alex Fruend 4.
Thompson Falls 68, Troy 29
Troy 8 12 4 5 — 29
T-Falls 23 18 16 11 — 68
Troy: Ricki Fisher 1, Logan Milde 2, Dylan Cummings 11, AJ Faur 6, Hunter Leighty 6, Alex Freund 3.
T-Falls: Ryan Schraeder 2, Dylan Beckman 6, Bennett King 3, Danny Hoisington 15, Grant Lundberg 8, Payton Frields 4, Trey Fisher 2, Michael Johnson 7, Kade Pardee 2, Nate Thibeault 9, Jake Long 10.