Troy cruises past Wellsboro

Troy’s Ethan VanNoy shoots an open corner three point attempt on Thursday night.

TROY — In the first half, Troy’s full-court-press defense was flying around and speeding the game up. The Trojan rotation of guards were hounding Wellsboro’s backcourt all ninety-four feet of the Troy Commons Building court. Troy only had a six point lead at the end of the first half of Thursday’s crucial NTL Large School matchup between last year’s champion Trojans and the runner-up Hornets. That constant pressure paid dividends as Troy exploded in the third quarter en route to a 73-52 win.

“We were gonna pressure their guards and make it a fast paced game because we have more of a bench than they do,” Troy star guard Ty Barrett said.

And that’s what they did. Wellsboro, playing short handed due to Covid-19, looked gassed midway through the 2nd quarter, even though they led 18-17 with five-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half. Troy dominated the next two full quarters of basketball, stretching their lead to as many as 30 in the fourth quarter.

Barrett had 20 points for Troy, nearly fifteen below his average, which tells you the type of elite scorer the senior is. On a night where Barrett didn’t get as many to fall as usual, it was the other Trojans who played some of their great basketball. No one epitomized that more than senior center Mason Imbt. After a slow first quarter in which Wellsboro controlled the boards, it was Imbt dominating the rebounding totals and he finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds.

“They’re a good rebounding team and in the second quarter we came out with a hard effort and we let that show today,” Imbt said.

Wellsboro may have been shorthanded, but the way Troy executed on defense, and, especially after the first twelve or so minutes, on offense against a 1-3-1 zone defense Wellsboro hasn’t shown this year meant that maybe no one in the NTL at full strength was beating Troy Thursday night.

A night that ended up being a little cold for Barrett started out like he was going to have another huge game as on the first possession of the game he hit a deep three over the Hornet defense. Troy jumped out to a 10-3 lead after another trademark Barrett pull up three with just under four minutes left in the quarter. But, Wellsboro closed strong and after a Hayes Campbell free throw ended the scoring of the quarter, Troy’s lead was trimmed to one, 12-11.

Wellsboro took their first lead of the game at 13-12 after another basket by Campbell before Ethan Vannoy put Troy right back in front. The next few minutes would be nip and tuck, before Troy started separating themselves from Wellsboro.

A Barrett three put Troy up for good at 20-18 with 3:44 left in the half, and a three by Colin Loveland extended the Troy lead to 27-20 a few minutes later. Troy got their lead to eight points after a Vannoy layup with a minute left in the quarter, but Wellsboro’s Cameron Brought had the last basket of the half, putting Troy up six, 32-26.

The third quarter was all Trojans as they scored the first seven points of the quarter to turn a six point lead into a thirteen point lead in the blink of an eye as Jackson Taylor hit a backbreaking three in that stretch. Troy’s young role players performed exceptionally well Thursday night.

“At practice they’re beating (the starters) sometimes,” Imbt said. “We’ve got a really deep bench.”

Troy continued to pour it on in that third quarter as freshman Evan Woodward scored all nine of his points in the frame en route to a 27-10 quarter and a 59-36 lead after three.

Troy kept the press on in the fourth quarter and the lead grew to 30 at 73-43 before Wellsboro scored the last nine points of the game to make the final score 73-52.

Other scorers for Troy included Vannoy with 10 points, Justice Chimics with 6, Loveland with 5, Zeb Oldroyd with 4, Taylor with 3, and Lance Heasley with 2.

Wellsboro was led by Darryn Callahan’s 16. Conner Adams added 11. Campbell had 10. Peyton McClure had 8 and Brought had 7.