BY DAN STICKRADT
TROY — Coming off a loss to Auburn Hills Avondale, veteran Troy basketball coach Gary Fralick was uncertain how his team would react in its next game.
With that next game being against arch-rival Troy Athens, he found out exactly how his team would handle its first defeat.
After a slow start, Troy took care of Athens 64-58 in an OAA White Division boys basketball game.
Troy sophomore James Young took the loss to Avondale at heart and took out those frustrations on the Red Hawks. Young, who has scored over 20 points in all four games for the Colts (3-1, 2-1) this season, made sure there would not be another letdown, as he scored 22 of his game-high 30 points in the second half.
“We are a better team when James Young touches the basketball,” said Fralick. “James really wanted the ball in the second half. He took over the game in stretches.”
Young was joined by junior point guard Evan Mahone in double figures, as Mahone collected 15 points for the Colts. John Stibich added nine points and Jeff Holmes chipped in with eight points for Troy.
“I was concerned about a hangover after that Avondale game and having to come in here and play Athens two days later, offered Fralick. “I think we had a little bit of a slow start and I think Athens’ had something to do with that. They played with a lot of energy. We came out in the second half and just played much better.”
Athens had four players in double figures, led by Antonio Mitchell’s 13 points. Cameron McIntosh followed with 12 points and both Jake Duzey and Tyler Channell added 11 points each for the Red Hawks.
Much like in its previous games, Athens (0-3, 0-3) came out of the gate and took the lead after the first quarter but could not hang on to the advantage. Athens led 15-11 after eight minutes and 31-23 at the half.
The Red Hawks had no match for Young in the second half, as the 6-foor-5 guard helped Troy outscore Athens 18-11 in the third quarter and 23-16 in the fourth, good for a 14-point swing.
“This was a good win for us. It’s always nice to beat Athens but it was nice to see us respond with a win after that loss to Avondale,” said Fralick. “We didn’t want to have two league losses in December.”