TROY — Coach Rich Hurley’s first game back with the Troy High School boys’ basketball team ended the same way so many had before he left.
“I think we just wore them down a little,” Hurley said after his Flying Horses galloped past Schenectady 71-53 in the Suburban Council opener for both teams Friday. “And we hit shots.”
Schenectady did that better than Troy in the first half, and the Flying Horses turned things around afterward to deal the Patriots what coach John Miller described as a building-block defeat.
“We have a young team,” Miller said. “The message to them was everything we did wrong is fixable. The message was turn the page and keep the heads up.”
Schenectady was up on the scoreboard by eight points three times early in the third quarter before Troy closed the game out with a 41-15 surge to get Hurley his first win since the 2016-17 season.
Hurley, who guided Troy to a pair of Section II championships and a state runner up showing in his six seasons there, had stepped away to devote more time to his family.
“It’s good to be back,” said Hurley, who, before his run at Troy, spent five seasons at Bishop Maginn, where he coached a state title team and a state runner-up squad. “It was weird, but it was fun.”
New York basketball teams didn’t find out until Feb. 1 that they would be allowed to compete this season upon county and school district approval. Some of those teams that got that rushed through their mandatory practices and began play this week in what will be a shortened, safety-first season that runs through March 13.
“I always say that it’s a marathon,” Hurley said. “This is a sprint.”
Schenectady picked up the pace in the second quarter Friday and carried it through to the third before Troy rallied and won the race.
When Elijah Johnsen sank his third 3-pointer, the Patriots were up 38-30 in the third. Troy then scored 12 unanswered points in a run that saw Shamdo Caldwell net six of his 17 points.
“I saw two different basketball teams tonight,” Miller said. “I saw what this team is capable of. In the second half, I saw a team that ran out of steam.
“We need to improve on the boards, communicate and rotate better on defense, and improve our conditioning.”
Troy has things to address, as well.
“In the seven practices we had, he [Hurley] put together an offense and a defense, and it’s hard to execute,” said Caldwell, who had 10 rebounds to go with his offensive production. “We’ve got to keep working.”
“We’ll try to get better,” Hurley said. “At the same time we’ll try to keep it fun for them, keep it enjoyable.”
Marcus Hamby scored 21 points for Troy, six in a 23-19 fourth-quarter run. Alex Wolf had nine of his 14 during that closing stretch.
“You can’t take quarters off,” Miller said. “That’s essentially what we did in the second half.”
Khalik Mayfield scored 12 points for Schenectady, all on 3s, including two that were part of an 18-9 second-quarter spurt. Chris Davis and Johnsen both had 11 points for the Patriots.
“A lot of my guys got their first taste of varsity basketball,” Miller said. “Obviously this was not the outcome we wanted, but I was pleased with some of the things I saw.”
Schenectady 13 18 13 9 — 53
Troy 15 9 24 23 — 71
Schenectady scoring: C. Davis 4-2-11, Flores 0-2-2, Gomez 2-0-4, Haggray 3-1-7, Holder 1-1-3, Johnsen 3-2-11, Mayfield 4-0-12, Peters 1-0-3, Robinson 0-1-1. Troy scoring: Caldwell 5-7-17, Cummings 3-1-7, Dawud-Soto 1-0-2, Franklin 2-0-5, Hamby 9-1-21, Oriol 0-2-2, Peterson 1-0-2, Wolfe 5-3-14. Scoring totals: Schenectady 18-9-53, Troy 26-15-71.