Ohio D-I basketball team, easily dispatched Troy in GWOC
inter-divisional play, 63-39. Blue-chip center Matt Kavanaugh was
outstanding as usual on Monday night, but it was timely bench play from
Mike Griffin and Adam Replogle that won this game.
The confident Elks appear to be destined for bigger and better things. Their game is conveniently peaking just before seeding for the sectional tournament is set to take place. Few teams have the mix of size and discipline that Centerville brings to the table, and this might just be their year.
On the other hand, a rejuvenated Trojan program (8-6, 4-2 GWOC North) seems to be responding favorably to first-year head coach Tim Miller and his staff. Not intent to be a doormat they are looking for–and finding–ways to improve.
“We’ve been working on being more physical and getting after people more on defense,” Miller said after the game. “We’d like to dictate the terms. We’d like to impose our will. Certainly we’re not as physical as some of the teams we’ve been playing but by no means are we going to sit back on our heals and let people bring it to us.
“We’re going to fight you all the way no matter what the score is. That is part of our make-up. That’s something we try to teach everyday in practice and its part of what we are all about.”
Miller, a graduate of Muskingum College, has been involved on one level or another in Trojan basketball for the last 19 years. He knows that the GWOC is a tough place to be and you better put up or shut up if you are interested in not getting trampled.
After eight minutes, it looked like all systems go for the Trojans. They were only down by a basket (13-11) and things were looking good. But, in the second quarter Replogle and Griffin rotated into the game, the Elks went on a 14-2 run, and the game evolved into a free throw shooting contest.
In a clutch performance, Griffin hit four consecutive three-point tries to extend the Elk’s lead to 30-15. Replogle, a football player that Staley uses like a football player, provided 12 points (4 rebounds) and a formidable physical presence in the lane down the stretch.
They were the difference.
“He (Griffin) is a very good shooter but I don’t think very many people know about him,” Centerville head coach Jim Staley said after the game. “He had an opportunity tonight to help us and he did just that. (Andrew) Kubaszewski is our best shooter but they were playing ‘box and one’ on him. So, we looked elsewhere for scoring. It was great timing for us and a big boost for Mike.”
Kavanaugh’s 17 points (8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks) and the extraordinary lengths Troy would go to keep him out of the lane were the big stories of the second half. Centerville was 17-24 from the line after intermission and they won 63-39.
Griffin scored 14 points (3 rebounds) to join Kavanaugh in double figures for the Elks. Adam Replogle came off the bench and scored 12 (4 rebounds). Greg White (6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist), Randy Obringer (5), and Craig Ashworth (4) rounded out the scoring.
Kubaszewski (3 points), a senior starting guard, injured his shoulder and left the game with 4:22 left in the fourth quarter. There was no additional information available concerning his condition.
Chance Smith led the Trojans with 18 points. Mark Armstrong joined him in double figures with 10 (3 rebounds). Tyler Wright (7 points, 2 assists) and Isaiah Jones (7 rebounds) supplied physical defense and steady floor games despite giving up a great deal of size to the powerful Elk frontline.
“Because we are so big it is in our best interests to challenge people in the paint,” Staley laughed. “Sometimes people feel the only way they can deal with that is to get physical with us. I understand that. I might have done the same thing.
“It was one of those games where there could have been an awful lot of free throws shot, but there wasn’t. That’s ok, too. They would have been shooting them as well, because we were just as physical as Troy was tonight.”
Miller is a new head coach but he has been around for a long time and he knows what you have to do to be competitive against a team like Centerville.
“We built a box and one zone on them and we tried to cover down,” Miller said. “We thought there were a couple of guys that might struggle to beat us from the outside and we had to take away people that we knew for sure were going to score. We knew that if Kavanaugh got the ball down low we’d have a hard time getting up with him.”
Troy’s starting lineup (6-foot-4, 6-foot-3, 5-foot-11, 6-foot-0, and 6-foot-0) was, to be charitable: small. Any way you want to look at it, dealing with Kavanaugh–the 6-foot-10 University of Dayton recruit–was going to have to be a team effort for the Trojans.
Paradoxically, the home team was actually able to rebound more effectively against the Elks because of the box-and-one zone defenses that they used all night. After all, they had someone conveniently positioned near both of the low blocks on virtually every shot.
“Matt is very strong down there on the block,” Miller continued. “On offense, on defense, and on the boards—he’s strong. We had to make a commitment to him if we wanted to win; and if we are going to get after it like that on the defensive end we are sure as heck not going to give you the ball right back or let you get a quick put-back.
“We predicate our efforts on making sure that our kids try to check off and get to the glass. It’s about fundamentals. It’s about goals. We want to hold people to one (shot) and done. We need to do that if we want to win.”
“He hit the first couple,” said the coach as he shook his head, “and hey, he can have a couple because we have other people that we are concerned about as well. We tried to find him and our kids were trying to cover their assignments and he got loose a couple more times on us. Giving up four consecutive threes will hurt you every time.”