Boys basketball: Troy's defense smothers Shaker

Flying Horses earn third meeting with CBA following semifinal win

— Troy used a balanced attack to defeat Shaker 54-40 in Thursday’s Section II Class AA boys basketball semifinal game at Albany’s Times Union Center.

Three players reached double figures in scoring to help the Big 10 champion Flying Horses (19-2) advance to Monday’s Class AA final against Christian Brothers Academy, which defeated Bishop Maginn 57-49 in Thursday’s other semifinal contest.

Shaker (16-5) kept things close through the first three quarters, but when Troy scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to take a 40-30 lead, the Blue Bison couldn’t keep up.

“Our offensive execution wasn’t the greatest, but I give credit to their defense,” said Shaker coach Jeff Holmes. “They did a great job.”

“To their credit, they played their hearts out,” said Troy coach Rich Hurley. “They were playing for their season.”

Shaker opened the game on a 9-4 run fueled by a pair of three-point plays from David Morrison and led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter before Troy got going. The Flying Horses went on a 12-2 run over the final four minutes of the second quarter to build a 28-18 halftime lead.

The Blue Bison rallied in the third quarter behind key plays from Casey Hall and Chinalu Abara. Hall started a 10-0 Shaker run with a long baseline jump shot and a tap back on a missed shot, and Abara capped the spurt with his own offensive rebound and put back.

Jerrell Reid halted Shaker’s by finishing a Troy fast break with an easy layup off Trahmier Burrell’s lead pass with 1:06 left in the third quarter. And once the Flying Horses extended their lead to double digits early in the fourth quarter, the closest the Blue Bison got after that was eight points.

“We have a stretch like that every game,” said Hurley. “But we talked about it (during a third quarter timeout), and we got ourselves together again.”

Reid and Dyaire Holt each scored 14 points, and Burrell contributed 12 points and four assists for Troy. Hall had 13 points to lead Shaker, while Da’Mar Morales chipped in with nine points off the bench.

“I’m just so proud of the way our team fought tonight,” said Holmes. “The way this game went, we could have been down by 20 points.”

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