By Dan Truttschel
The East Troy High School boys basketball team took on a huge challenge Saturday afternoon.
And for most of the time, the Trojans answered the call – unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.
Host Racine Case, a talented Division 1 program, had a little bit too much firepower for East Troy and eventually wore down the Trojans in a 76-65 non-conference victory.
The loss dropped East Troy to 10-4 overall, while Case improved to 10-3.
“Racine Case is arguably one of the top eight schools in Division 1,” East Troy coach Darryl Rayfield said. “I felt for all but two or three minutes, we played one of our best games.
“We were down two at the half and six at the end of three quarters, but they just had a bit too much in the end. We showed great balance and trust. It was a very good high school basketball game.”
Rayfield said Case’s overall size and depth were too things his team just couldn’t handle.
“They were a bit too deep, and we had to overcome a huge size disadvantage,” he said. “Their offensive rebounding for put backs just made it tough to overcome.”
Case made 29 shots from the field, compared to just 14 for the Trojans, who stayed close with solid efforts at the free-throw line and from behind the 3-point arc.
Jacob Growel led the way with 15 points, followed by Matt Kaminski with 13, Will Iloncaie with 12 and Justin Growel with 10. Eight of Kaminski’s points came in the fourth quarter to help keep East Troy close.
Jacob Growel and Iloncaie combined for 15 of the Trojans’ 17 points in the first quarter.
“Will and Jake gave them all they could handle in the first quarter,” Rayfield said.
Despite the loss, Rayfield left the gym feeling pretty satisfied with what he saw from his team.
“It was just a great team effort, and I couldn’t be happier on how close this team is getting for good things as we move forward,” he said.
“Great offensive movement was the key, and consistent balanced scoring is absolutely going to be important as we move forward.”
The Trojans were scheduled to travel to Beloit Turner Tuesday, but that game was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday night. East Troy then will host Clinton Friday for an RVC matchup with the Cougars.
East Troy enters both RVC games at 8-2, two games behind North Division leading Edgerton.
Trojans earn home win
East Troy trailed at the end of the third quarter Jan. 23, and made just one field goal in the fourth, but found a way to escape with a 61-56 RVC win over visiting Evansville.
“(Evansville) controlled the tempo,” Rayfield said. “They are very deliberate and try to break you down.
“Defensively, our patience was very good. We showed some resilience and found a way to win.”
Rayfield said he didn’t feel like his team was patient enough offensively, which helped keep Evansville in the game.
“Poor shot selection reared its ugly head for the first time in a while,” he said. “That was what was disappointing.
“Nothing is ever going to be given to you by any one. You have to earn it, and we worked overtime on (defense).”
Rayfield lauded the defensive efforts of Connor Mitchell, Kaminski and Brehm.
“They rolled up their sleeves and got busy,” he said. “Sometimes it takes just gutting it out, and this was one of those times.”
Jacob Growel led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds, as he made 13 of 15 free-throw attempts. Joe Ciriacks added 13 points, followed by Iloncaie with 11 and Jon Brehm with seven.