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By ROB JONAS

TROY – How does a team make only four field goals and turn the ball over a bunch of times in the second half and win a playoff basketball game? Make free throws.

 

Senior Isaiah Moll went 8-for-10 from the foul line in the final 3:30 to help No. 4 Colonie fend off No. 5 Troy 51-47 in the Section 2 Class AA quarterfinals Saturday, February 24, at Hudson Valley Community College.

 

“I'm just glad we got the win,” said Moll, who led the way with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists.

 

Colonie (18-4) led by as many as 14 points in the first half before Troy (14-8) battled back behind a defensive effort that yielded 10 steals and 13 Colonie turnovers.

 

“We didn't execute, but Troy makes you do that,” said Colonie coach Ken Dagostino.

 

“We knew we had to change the tempo on defense,” said Troy coach Greg Davis. “We were able to force some turnovers, and we executed on the (fast) break. We just missed some shots at the end.”

 

Moll was on fire in the first quarter. He made a couple of jump shots early on and then connected on a four-point play as part of a 9-0 run that gave Colonie a 13-5 lead.

 

Troy started shifting its defenders around to help out on stopping Moll, but that opened the floor up for Aaron Satin. The junior made a pair of three-pointers and added a fade-away baseline jump shot as Colonie extended its lead to 26-12 midway through the second quarter.

 

“He's capable of it. We see it every day in practice,” Dagostino said of Satin, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

 

Troy cut Colonie's 14-point lead in half with a 7-0 run, but Moll drained a three-pointer and added a layup off the glass to give the Garnet Raiders a 31-21 halftime advantage. Those would be the last two field goals Moll made in the game.

 

Troy's defense forced Colonie into turnover after turnover in the third quarter. Defenders would come in from the side or behind to knock the ball out of the Garnet Raiders' hands. Though the Flying Horses only scored nine points in the period, it was enough for them to get within striking distance.

 

Senior Alonzo Alexander opened the fourth quarter with a corner three-pointer, and senior Joe Casale knocked down a short jump shot to pull Troy within two points. Satin drove for a layup – Colonie's fourth and final field goal of the half – to briefly stem the tide, but another three-pointer from Alexander and a leaner by Latyce Faison tied the score at 40-40 with 5 minutes left.

 

Senior Will Aybar made a pair of free throws to give Colonie a 42-40 lead. Nazaire Merritt answered with a three-pointer to put Troy in front 43-42, but Moll made both ends of a one-and-one at the other end to push Colonie back in front. Merritt made one of two foul shots to tie the score at 44-44 with 3:12 left, but the Garnet Raiders sank seven of their final 10 free throws to pull away.

 

“They took the lead, but we persevered,” said Dagostino.

 

Faison scored 13 points, and Merritt added 10 points for Troy.

 

“The kids played their hearts out. They gave all they could give,” said Davis.

 

Colonie advances to the Class AA semifinals Tuesday, February 27, at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.

 

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