Troy edges Sunny Hills in another close one
FULLERTON - An excellent barometer for understanding the magnitude of a given high school basketball game oftentimes has little to do with the actual players on the court.
Rather, when two student sections as lively and cohesive as those at Troy and Sunny Hills cram a gym on a school night, there is absolutely no mistaking the significance of what’s at hand.
Despite Elijah Kim’s best effort to keep Sunny Hills within striking distance in second half, the visiting Warriors made enough plays late in regulation to garner a 68-62 victory over their Freeway League rival on Thursday night.
“That’s the type of game we always play with Sunny Hills,” Troy coach Aaron Mason said. “We actually went back and looked at our recent history and saw that the last four or five games have come down to one possession.
“It wasn’t a surprise to be in a game like that again.”
Guard Devin Manning (13 points) finished at the rim on two key possessions late in the fourth quarter for the Warriors (11-3, 1-0), and Andy Nguyen iced the game with four late free throws to answer each basket by Sunny Hills (10-3, 0-1) down the stretch.
“Seeing the seniors take over the game at the end was something special,” Mason said.
“Andy making those huge free throws, Devin making plays, Johnny (Bayeh) finishing underneath; our guys have all been through close games before.”
After a pair of free throws by Lancers guard Max Thurman (19 points) pulled the hosts within six late in the fourth, Manning pushed the lead back up to eight on an uncontested layup off an isolation play.
Two possessions later, the senior followed a basket by Sunny Hills’ Tim Ahn with another layup - again off an isolation play - to effectively end the threat.
“I didn’t want to settle for jump shots in those situations.” Manning said. “I wanted to make something happen for my team, I wanted to make plays, and I knew I could take it to the rim and finish.”
Kim finished with 18 points - all in the second half.