The Troy Christian boys’ basketball team defeated the Franklin Monroe Jets 50-41 to win the Division IV Sectional Finals in front of a large crowd Saturday night at Troy High School. Led by the 22 point scoring night of Grant Zawadski and strong defense from Isiah Fairley, the Eagles handled the Franklin Monroe attack and move on next to play Thursday, March 6 at University of Dayton Arena against Lockland, who won their sectional tournament as a seven seed.
This being the second time the teams faced off against each other this season, with Troy Christian beating the Jets in the first matchup 64-58, they had a good idea of how the other team was going to line up against one another. Throughout the season the Eagles averaged eight three-pointers made per game and Franklin Monroe did a good job of not allowing the three-pointer to hurt them, only allowing two made. Coming into this game the Jets’ scoring presence in the interior, Trey Mong scored 26 and 13 points in their first two sectional tournament games, and Troy Christian held Mong to only 3 total points Saturday night.
Showing aggressive defense in the post, the Eagles’ Isiah Fairley made it difficult on Mong all game, and helped the ball handling guard, Grant Zawadski, get into a steady rhythm of driving to the bucket using his cross-over dribble to lead the Eagles to a solid 50-41 win.
The first half was contentious, with both defenses stiffening and not allowing either offense to get easy baskets. Troy Christian led at halftime by a score of 18-17. Right out of the gate beginning the second half, it was the Eagles, led by Zawadski. Making plays around the basket, as well as handling the ball and controlling the tempo of the game, Zawadski helped Troy Christian grind down on the Jets and not allow them much reprieve.
Happy with his team’s performance, Troy Christian’s coach Ray Zawadski said, “Isiah Fairley was a man in the post defensively.” Knowing that Mong had been giving teams trouble earlier in the tournament coach Zawadski was pleased with Fairley’s highly impactful defensive effort to go along with his 6 points scored. Also scoring 10 points for the Eagles was Holden Varvel.
“We made it very difficult for them to score points tonight,” said coach Zawadski. “We are a veteran team, we were here last year, and we came in ready to play.”
Leading Franklin Monroe in scoring was Travis Feitshans with 19 points, but it was not enough as the rest of the Jets team struggled to score against the testy Eagles defense. As the three seed in the tournament after finishing the regular season with a very respectable 17-2 win-loss record, Troy Christian handled the pressure of facing the number two seeded Jets and will advance to face Lockland at University of Dayton Arena Thursday night in the Division IV Southwest District tournament. Tip-off is slated for 5:30pm.