By Josh Brown
TROY — After Thursday’s loss to Fairmont, Troy girls basketball coach Nathan Kopp reminded his Trojans what the mission was — and that it wasn’t too late to get back on track.
“We told the girls the last time we won the (Greater Western Ohio Conference) North (Division), we were 0-4 to start that season, too,” Kopp said. “It’s a long season. We’re not where we want to be right now, but we’ll get back to work and start fixing things tomorrow.”
He hopes the team took the first step toward that in the fourth quarter Thursday, but Fairmont was simply too hot to start the game, hitting its first five 3-point attempts and shooting better than 60 percent from the field on the night to put away a 48-33 victory over Troy at the Trojan Activities Center.
In 2013, the Trojans (0-4) lost their first four games and were 4-8 at one point, but then went on to go 8-2 in GWOC North play to win the division and finished the season with a winning record at 12-11.
Thursday, though, was a game in which Troy trailed 42-17 going into the fourth quarter but outscored the Firebirds 16-6 in the final eight minutes.
“I was proud of the way we played in the fourth quarter,” Kopp said. “The girls showed some fight. Tonight just wasn’t our night in all aspects.”
It was also the second straight game the Trojans played without leading scorer Kennedi Kyzer, who will be out indefinitely due to a violation of school rules. And while two Trojans picked up the scoring load in Monday’s narrow defeat against Springfield Shawnee, no one or two players stepped forward into that role Thursday.
Alexis Otstot and Bailey Dornbusch led Troy with six points apiece, each hitting two 3s in the game, with all of Otstot’s points coming in the fourth quarter. Freshman Kiyha Adkins scored all five of her points in the fourth, as well, and Alaura Holycross added five points and four rebounds. Bailey Hess and Taylor Stookey each added four points, Stephanie Chavis had two points and Kayla Niswonger had one point.
None of that scoring happened in the game’s first seven minutes, though, as Fairmont (2-2) was efficient on both ends of the floor. The Firebirds scored the game’s first 14 points, only missing one field goal attempt during that stretch — while Troy was 0 for 4 with five turnovers to start out. Fairmont finished the first quarter 6 for 8 from the field and held a 16-3 lead.
Celeste Etter — who scored 13 on the night — hit three straight 3s for Fairmont to start the second quarter, and Mariah Roe (10 points) added two more 3s to help the Firebirds stretch that lead to 30-12 at halftime, with Fairmont 11 for 16 from the field at that point.
“They made shots, but we had breakdowns defensively,” Kopp said. “You don’t get that wide open without us not being in the right spots. And we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
Fairmont finally missed its first 3-point attempt in the third quarter, but Madison Connally-Banks — who led all scorers with 14 points and eight rebounds — was able to find room to work in the paint, scoring eight of her points in the second half and helping Fairmont take a 42-17 lead after 3. The Troy defense held Fairmont to only six fourth-quarter points, but by then it was too late.
“They were hot early, and we dug ourselves too big a hole,” Kopp said. “We’re going to take the fourth quarter as a positive and start working from there, hoping we can build on that.”
The Trojans travel to 3-0 Bethel Monday in search of their first win.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.