Fullerton came into Friday night’s game without a conference win and it appeared as if their losing streak would continue as Troy got off to a strong start in the first half, but the Indians battled to hold on to the 57-53 win.
The Warriors began the game on a 7-0 run as Jared Reyes and Cole Yauney led the way early. Troy had lost four straight games and were hoping to end their struggles against league opponents.
Stone Sinek hit a spin around jump shot to put the Indians on the board. Stone hit a three pointer from the left corner to cut the lead to two but Troy guard Josh Yoo responded right back with a three pointer of his own.
Troy clamped down on defense in the period, forcing seven turnovers on Fullerton, the same amount of points the Indians scored in the first quarter. The Warriors doubled up the score early, leading 14-7.
Reyes hit back to back three pointers to start the second quarter, extending the Warrior lead to 22-7. Stone started to get hot as he responded with three consecutive three pointers, but Troy still led by ten.
Fullerton forward Travis Bush hit a three pointer from the left wing, continuing the hot shooting for the Indians. What was once a fifteen point lead for the Warriors was cut down to five at the half as Troy led 26-21.
Guard Terry Kang took it hard in the paint and Stone hit an acrobatic layup to cut the lead to three, but the Warriors extended the lead again as Alec Sinek knocked down a pullup three pointer.
A scuffle between cousins Stone and Alec Sinek occurred in the next play, as Alec threw an elbow which made contact with Stone’s head. Alec was ejected with 3:25 left in the third quarter for the flagrant foul. Stone appeared unfazed by the hit as he sunk both foul shots.
The momentum began to shift in Fullerton’s favor as Troy lost their leading scorer on the season. Stone got a steal and pulled up for another three pointer that hit nothing but twine to pull the Indians within one. Bush hit a three pointer from the left corner to tie the game at 40 apiece going into the fourth.
Jarien Rodriguez hit a three pointer to start the fourth quarter, giving Fullerton their first lead of the game at 43-40. Bush and Kang tag teamed on the next couple of plays to extend the lead. Kang took it inside and hit a floater over the outstretched arms of Yauney. The defense crashed on Kang on his next drive so he kicked it out to Bush in the right corner for yet another three pointer.
Fullerton had their biggest lead of the game at 52-42 but the Troy was not out of it yet. Alec Sinek’s ejection was a critical loss for the Warriors as they lost their best shooter. Instead of trying to shoot their way back in the game, they began taking it inside. Fullerton would make the Warriors earn it from the free throw line as they hit critical free throws down the stretch that stopped the clock and slowed the game down.
Yoo and Reyes hit three pointers in the final minute to bring Troy within two as Fullerton led 55-53, but Stone Sinek converted free throws to give Fullerton their first league win on the season, coming back to beat Troy 57-53.
Junior guard Alec Sinek’s flagrant foul will make him ineligible to play for next game according to CIF rule.
Troy (10-14, 3-5) will need key contribution from their bench with the loss of Sinek as they play at Sonora (23-3, 7-1) next Tuesday 2/7 at 7:30 pm.
Fullerton (7-16, 1-7) hopes to earn back to back wins as they host La Habra (9-15, 3-5) Tuesday at 7 pm.