By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy Christian’s Meredith Haddad didn’t know she’d get to play Saturday.
Neither did the official scorebook, as her name wasn’t in it before the game.
But Troy Christian accepted the technical foul, allowing the senior to see her first action since an injury during soccer season. Her presence had an immediate impact, too, as the defense held the Pioneers without a field goal in the game and the Eagles — also spurred by a double-double by Arden Kamentz — routed Temple Christian 40-2 Saturday at the Eagles’ Nest.
“Yeah, it was funny. I didn’t expect that,” Haddad said. “It just felt amazing to be on the court. I’m still a little out of shape, but I’m working on that and my foot felt fine.”
“Having Meredith back on the floor adds a spark to the team,” Troy Christian girls basketball coach Dick Steineman said. “She makes us a better team by being out there.”
When Haddad entered the game with 2:40 left in the first quarter, Troy Christian held a 4-0 lead. Madelyn Crawford hit one of the technical free throws to put Temple Christian on the board, but a Megan Haddad steal turned into a layup by Meredith Haddad on the other end to wipe away any help the technical might have given.
There was a scary moment, too, as Meredith Haddad was slow to get up after diving to the floor for a loose ball on the next possession — but she was all smiles as she got up, and even hit a jumper once she reentered the game to give Troy Christian an 8-1 lead after one quarter.
“I was fine. I just jumped and landed on the ball with my stomach, got the wind knocked out of me,” she said.
Kenley Blake scored four second-quarter points, but that was all the Eagles could manage as they took a 12-2 lead into the break. Troy Christian was 6 for 43 from the field at that point but also held Temple Christian to 0 for 10 with 15 turnovers at that point — and the Eagles were winning the rebounding battle 37-10.
In the third, though, Kamentz finally got some jumpers to fall, and the flood gates opened.
Kamentz put in a third-chance bucket in transition to start the third, then she knocked down a jumper with an assist from Lauryn Lavy. Two more transition layups by Kamentz later, the Eagles led 20-2, giving the junior a double-double at that point.
She finished with a game-high 14 points — 12 coming in the second half — 11 rebounds and four assists.
“It’s more just trusting the work you put in and trusting your teammates,” Kamentz said. “You can’t give up on yourself (when shots aren’t falling). You’ve got to trust your shot and the work you’ve put into it.”
As a whole, the Eagles shot the ball better in the second half. Hailey Peters scored all nine of her points in the fourth quarter, hitting the game’s only 3 and adding eight rebounds and three assists. Haddad finished the game with seven points and five steals, Blake had four points and Sophie Pitsenbarger had two.
And Lavy, who also scored four points, was the primary reason the Eagles dominated the offensive glass, finishing the game with a whopping 19 rebounds as Troy Christian outrebounded Temple Christian 57-27 in the game. Altogether, the Eagles were 19 for 75 from the field, while Temple Christian was 0 for 28, not scoring again after halftime and finishing with 26 turnovers.
“Lauryn was big on the boards for us, Kenley came off the bench and had four points and three steals — and we’re going to need some help from her in that way this year,” Steineman said. “Arden had a very nice game, Hailey played well. We only have one senior and two juniors, so we’re really young. But each time out, we’re going to get a little better.”
It was a good bounce-back game for the Eagles, too, after their 47-27 loss to unbeaten Metro-Buckeye Conference-leader Miami Valley Thursday. Now Troy Christian must prepare to return to conference play Monday against Dayton Christian.
“We’ve only had the kids together for about three weeks after getting everyone back after soccer season,” Steineman said. “We’re starting to get them to play together and form a team. We said it’d probably be around mid-December before they really started gelling together. But with a young team, getting a win, they get confidence. And we want to keep building that confidence.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.