The Libby Loggers came out hard and fast early, and didn’t let up in their 65-21 defeat of the Troy Trojans at Troy Tuesday, outscoring the Trojans 14-2 in the first quarter alone.
“I thought we came out with really good mental focus and played our kind of basketball game,” Said Libby Head Coach Josh Bean.
With experienced seniors leading the Trojans on their home court, Bean said Libby came ready to go hard after Troy’s strengths and keep them off balance.
“They always get excited at their place, and they always play hard here — especially when we come to town, they play,” Bean said. “It’s almost like another level, just because of the rivalry. And I knew Justin would have them ready to go and ready to play.”
Bean said he felt Libby did a good job executing their game plan throughout the evening. “They’re really athletic, and we wanted to take them out of their game.”
The Loggers focused on undermining the Trojans where they are strongest, forcing them to play to the parts of the court they are least comfortable with, he said.
Troy Head Coach Justin Young said that Libby did well mixing up defenses, and that he wants to prepare the Trojans better to be able to spot what opposing teams are doing.
“I think that’s more on me as a coach, not preparing them enough at practice,” Young said. “I feel I need to prepare our boys a little bit better, so they can recognize the defenses out there.”
Young said that he also wants to work on weaknesses in the Troy offense that were exposed in the game against Libby.
“One thing I’d like to see a little bit better though is execution on offense. I know we can fight now, but let’s start fighting with our brains instead of just with our attitudes,” he said.
Troy was down some with injuries as well.
Senior Trevor Hoagland was out with a wrist injury, though Young said he expects him to be recovered in time for the Thompson Falls game Friday. Senior Jaymin Stever played, but had pain from a hand injury slowing him down, and Young said it will be about three to six weeks before he is able to play again.
There was disappointment in the locker room after the game, Young said, but willingness to make something out of the hard-won lessons.
“What I love is when the guys are willing to talk,” he said. “These guys are. They’re willing to get to the drawing board and listen to me talk, and then contribute their own ideas.”
Young said he is encouraged that he is hearing the Trojans offering up points before he can make them.
“It’s good when you hear the boys say that kind of stuff, because they’re starting to see what we need to do, and buy into it,” he said.
Young said he has also seen an increase in his players who will stay after practice to work a little more on the areas where they need to improve. “That’s one thing we do like, to see them buying into that, that it takes time to improve and there are no shortcuts.”
For the Loggers, Bean said that the buy-in his players show has been instrumental in their winning season so far.
“All of our guys, they all play well,” he said. “That’s been real key to our success over the last couple weeks here, is we’re getting good production from everybody.”
No matter who comes off the bench, it never hurts the the team, Bean said. “We don’t take a step backward. We stay even or we get better.”
The Trojans play next at home against Thompson Falls on Friday, with varsity starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Loggers play next at Columbia Falls on Thursday, Jan. 3, with varsity starting at 7:15 p.m.
Libby 65, Troy 21
L: 14 24 15 12 - 65
T: 2 8 3 8 - 21
Libby: JJ Davis 6 points, 1-2 FT; Chandler Bower 5 points; Ryggs Johnston 27 points, 5-5 FT; Jay Beagle 5 points; Caden Williams 8 points; Ryker McElmurry 2 points, 2-2 FT; Keith Johnson 9 points, 1-4 FT; Kevin Barnes 3 points, 1-2 FT
Troy: Dylan Cummings 11 points, 2-2 FT; Hunter Leighty 3 points, 1-2 FT; Logan Milde 3 points; Tyler Gromley 3 points; Moxley Roesler-Begalke 1 points, 1-2 FT