With key games approaching, Colts have handle on their own destiny

By: Mike Moore, | Troy Times | Published January 29, 2014

TROY — To be in this position is a victory in itself, considering the journey it took to arrive here. But Simon Bato and his Troy High girls basketball team figure they might as well make the most of it — and the Colts control their own destiny in doing just that. One year after going 2-19, Troy now has a chance to lay claim to the Oakland Activities Association White Division. The opportunity to do so is fast approaching with the upcoming schedule. “We’re having fun right now,” Bato said last week. “Compared to where we were last year, to even be playing for a division title says a lot about us. So we have to approach things one game at a time. That’s the key for us.” Troy was 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the White Division heading into a Jan. 28 game with West Bloomfield High, played after press time. That put the squad in second place, behind only Rochester Adams (8-0) for the top spot. Now, the task at hand includes a pair of battles with teams directly behind the Colts. The team tips things off at Lake Orion High at 7 p.m. Jan. 30, before a showdown at Bloomfield Hills High at 7 p.m. Feb. 4. Lake Orion was 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the White at press time. Troy won the first meeting of the season by a 54-48 count. “They have some good size that can cause problems,” Bato said. “We were actually down by four at halftime in the first game.” Bato said the Colts played their style, more up-tempo, in the second half to earn the six-point win. “We expect it to be close,” he added. “It’s never easy to go through the schedule a second time, especially facing a team you beat once.” Bloomfield Hills, meanwhile, was one game back of Troy in the White standings, with a 5-2 mark in the division and 10-2 record overall. Troy won the first meeting 61-41 on Jan. 3. “We played at our pace, and in that one, our girls were able to come out and really pull away in the later stages of the first half. That was the difference,” Bato said. “That’s a very good team, and we know how well they are playing.” Since the lopsided loss, Bloomfield Hills is 5-0 and has won those five games by an average of 27 points. “They’re going to be fired up,” Bato said. “I expect their best shot. I expect them to try and play the game at their pace. Nothing is going to come easy.” Just for good measure, Troy takes on Adams (12-0, 8-0) at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at home.