Trojans hang on after Pirates make comeback

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

With four minutes left Saturday night, it looked like the East Troy High School boys basketball team would cruise to its second win in as many tries.

Host Pewaukee was determined not to let the Trojans off that easy.

The Pirates stormed back from 14 points down to within a point, but East Troy hung on for a hard-fought, 73-71, victory in the second game of the Tim Reuter Showcase at Pewaukee.

East Troy (2-0) opened its season the previous night with a convincing 93-67 victory over Milwaukee Vincent.

Eight empty possessions, coupled with three 3-pointers and four free throws by Pewaukee put East Troy on the brink of its first loss, but coach Darryl Rayfield was pleased to see his team withstand that charge.

In the end, it was a great learning experience, especially so early in the season, he said.

“For us to withstand that, not being in that situation (before), early in the year, it was just great to play through that,” Rayfield said. “… I was so happy for the kids. They found a way to hang in there. They never got too panicky when (Pewaukee) was making their run.”

Before that late surge by Pewaukee, the Trojans had everything in control, Rayfield said.

“We played so well for 35 minutes, the best basketball we’ve played since last year, February,” he said. “That’s how good we were. (Pewaukee is) good. They just beat Menomonee Falls the night before, who is really good. … It was a hell of a basketball game.”

Rayfield was extremely impressed with how his team defended, as it held the Pirates to 56 minutes through the first 32 minutes.

“That’s as good as we’ve defended here in East Troy in a couple of years,” he said. “I didn’t think we were ready to beat that kind of team on Saturday. … I thought we could probably beat them in January, but we weren’t ready to beat them now.

“The reason we won that game is because we could defend. That’s the reason we lost in the regional final last year. We just didn’t defend enough when things weren’t going well. That was the difference between that young team and now.”

A.J. Vukovich led the way with 28 points, followed by Quinten Lottig with 21 and Ryan Nixon with 14.

In the season opener the previous night, Vukovich led five players in double digits with 21 points, followed by Lottig with 16, Chase Cummings and Colin Terpstra with 14 and Nixon with 12.

“We came out and shot it really well,” Rayfield said. “Offensively, we were moving (the ball) really well. I saw a little bit of our depth, which we haven’t had in a while. Those kids got to play a lot and played well.”

East Troy opened its Rock Valley Conference Tuesday night at Clinton and hosts Big Foot tonight at 7 p.m.

 
 

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