Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Troy High on a roll; Flying Horses stop Millinghaus, win again

Troy High's Javion Ogunyemmi leaps for a layup as Schenectady's Shadell Millinghaus (right) attempts to defend during Tuesday's Big 10 Conference game at Troy High. The Flying Horses posted another significant victory, beating the Patriots, 57-46. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Defense was the story Tuesday night, as the Flying Horses held Section II's leading scorer, Derrick Millinghaus, who averaged over 23 points per game heading into the Troy game, to a season-low four points. He had not scored fewer than 15 prior to Tuesday's action.

Sophomore guard Raheem Felder split the defensive duties mostly with Kevin Phillips and they helped keep the ball out of Derrick Millinghaus' hands. He made just one field goal, attempted three foul shots and assisted on just one other Schenectady bucket in the defeat.

"The whole day of school, I was just listening to music thinking about stopping this kid," Felder said. "He’s one of the best guards in the section. For me to be a sophomore - and I have time - I want to prove that I can stop him at a young age so that when I get there, I know how to handle kids that are trying to stop me."

"We believe in defense," Phillips said. "We as a team aren’t scared to guard anyone, whether or not it be a D-I, D-II, D-III player. Our defense makes us score. We felt if we kept them below their average in points we had a good chance of winning."

The big fellas provided the scoring, as 6-foot-7 freshman Javion Ogunyemmi scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Kareem Brown snared 10 boards in the first half en route to 11 total rebounds and eight points for the Horses (6-6, 8-6).

Greg Williams played an inspired second half, adding seven points and five rebounds, while John Pompey heated up late in the second quarter on his way to 10 points, four steals and a pair of nice assists.

In their first meeting of the season, Millinghaus dropped 31 points on the Horses and they were determined not to let that happen again.

"The first time, we were young and I wasn’t expecting him to be as fast," Felder said. "We let him get a lot of shots. Against Maginn I scored 19 points, but in this game, I just wanted to make sure we got this win, so I really focused on defense. I really was just looking forward to stopping him."

Troy High's Josh Blaauboer fights for a loose ball with Schenectady's Derrick Millinghaus during Tuesday's Big 10 Conference battle.

The Flying Horses made their mark last Friday by defeating Bishop Maginn by 13 points. The Golden Griffins turned around Sunday afternoon to beat No. 2 ranked Newburgh Free Academy, the defending New York State Class AA champion.

With one freshman, three sophomores and one junior in the starting lineup - a not a single senior on the team - the Flying Horses have been biding their time, believing next year would be their year. That was until head coach Jeff Sitterly said, "Why wait for next year?"

The secret to their recent success?

It's chemistry. The players have adapted to one another and know their strengths and weaknesses. The upperclassmen stuck on the bench during games have also matured and now help the youngsters get better in practice every day.

"We understand what we are," Ogunyemmi said. "Everyone understands what his role is. In the beginning of the season, we didn’t do that when we faced a lot of the good teams and now when we play them the second time, we’re alright."

"We want to be a real good team next year, but we said, ‘Why wait?’ Let’s start doing it now," said Sitterly. "The kids are buying into the hard work and the team chemistry is outstanding. It's some of the best chemistry we’ve had here in a while and they love to play. I think you can tell. They love to play the game."

"It’s all chemistry. In the beginning we didn’t have any," said Phillips, who provided five second half points off the bench and contributed in defending Millinghaus. "It was just a young group trying to come in and play hard. But we knew once the second half of the season came, and our Athletic Director Paul Reinisch said, we wanted to turn it on come sectionals and we would be a scary team. That’s what we did. We have the chemistry, we have the plays, we have the players and now it’s all about getting wins."

Javion Ogunyemmi leaps through a sea of Schenectady defenders during Tuesday's game. Ogunyemmi, a freshman, finished with a game-high 15 points and added nine rebounds for the surging Flying Horses.

Troy High is entering the stretch run of the regular season, with a game at Albany Friday before playing Collar City rivals Catholic Central and La Salle Institute next week. They are not likely to catch Christian Brothers Academy or Bishop Maginn in the Big 10 Conference standings, but they can certainly make themselves a threat for the Section II Class AA tournament by posting a few more convincing wins down the stretch.

"This is a tough league, every night," Sitterly said. "We’re not going to overlook anybody. Every night is going to be a battle and we’re going to get ready for the next one."

But to knock of Maginn Friday night and validate that by shutting down the unstoppable Millinghaus on Tuesday? The Flying Horses are flying high with the postseason right around the corner.

"Everyone is pretty much sore because everyone put their hearts on the floor," Felder said. "But we came back and we went hard in practice and we came out and played our hearts out tonight."

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January 8, 2016 at 2:48 AM 

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