At this point, it must feel like déjà vu: Troy Athens boys basketball picked up another win Friday night, and Taylor McCaskill was the key component in the victory.
His six converted free throws in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference for Athens (5-1) in a 46-40 victory over Okemos (4-3), as he traded scoring runs during the defensive battle with star Okemos guard Jordan Henry to finish with 16 points and seven rebounds.
“Tay is our offensive leader,” Troy Athens assistant coach Mitch Dercellino said. “We rely on him heavily, especially in the transition game.”
McCaskill’s backcourt partner, fellow senior Jacob Brantley, contributed 13.
Down 11 at the half, Okemos relied on the 3-pointer to get them back in the game. They won the third quarter 16-7 to pull within striking distance. Henry was a major player in that effort, with 17 points and eight rebounds. Noah Pruitt scored 12.
But, like most dominant teams, Athens controlled the pace when it mattered most. In the fourth it took control of the glass — and then the game.
“Okemos is very well-coached, so we know they were going to be disciplined,” Dercellino said. “I thought we did a good job of running our game plan and not letting them dictate what we did.”
Kyle Sweeney had 10 rebounds.
“He leads the way with our grit and our toughness,” Dercellino said, complimenting the 6-foot-5 center’s uncanny ability to gain a physical edge under the hoop.
The assistant coach also praised his team’s late-game cohesiveness.
“We communicated really well,” Dercellino added, “and didn’t give them a lot of second chance opportunities.”
More boys basketball
Birmingham Brother Rice 47, Grosse Pointe South 35: David Jabiro scored 15 for Brother Rice (3-4). Brandon Downy scored 13 for South (1-5).
Detroit Country Day 75, Flint Powers Catholic 64, OT: Dylan Sandhu scored just two points in regulation, but made 3-pointers on three straight possessions in overtime to lift Country Day (4-3) to the victory. Wendell Green scored 26, Julian Roper 16 and Demetriess Champion 12 for Country Day. Cam Carpenter ascored 25 and Makai Conner 17 for Powers (2-4).
Ecorse 74, Detroit Denby 66: Caleb Maddox scored 20 and added eight rebounds, Justin Parrish added 15 points and six assists, and Kyron Carroll scored 14 for Ecorse (6-0). Derek Linebarger scored 17 for Denby (2-3).
Grosse Pointe University Liggett 60, Algonac 50: Anthony George scored 20 and Cameron Strong 16 for Liggett (1-5).
Lakeland 65, Grayling 31: Phillip Cass scored 17 and had four rebounds, and Cody McComas scored nine for Lakeland (5-1). Hunter Brill had 10 points for Grayling (3-3).
Marine City Cardinal Mooney 75, Center Line 58: Daniel Everhart had 32 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Bryant Williams scored 24 for Cardinal Mooney (5-1). Jashun Houston scored 30 for Center Line (3-3).
River Rouge 52, Woodhaven 38: Jayvien Torrance-Jackson had 14 points, six assists and six steals and Nigel Colvin had 14 points and eight rebounds for River Rouge (5-0). Josh Warren scored 19 for Woodhaven (5-1).
St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 66, Pinckney 43: Caleb Bates scored 27 and grabbed 17 rebounds and Nicholas Olmenda scored 14 for Lake Shore (5-2). Pinckney is 1-5.
Boys basketball scores
Armada 41, Marysville 37
Melvindale ABT 71, Ferndale University 48
Sterling Heights Stevenson 55, Milford 52
Wayne Memorial 66, Columbus Northland (OH) 60
Girls basketball scores
Armada 58, Mount Clemens 4
Coldwater 51, Waterford Kettering 44
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.