Troy and Athens girls basketball will square off

By: Mike Moore | Troy Times | Published January 17, 2011

 Junior guard Karin Moss, who’s leading the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game, leads Troy when it takes on rival Athens Jan. 18 for the first time this season. At press time, the teams had a combined 12-2 overall record

Junior guard Karin Moss, who’s leading the team in scoring with 14.5 points per game, leads Troy when it takes on rival Athens Jan. 18 for the first time this season. At press time, the teams had a combined 12-2 overall record

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

TROY — Troy High teacher Lindsey Noble has grown accustom to the playful verbal jabs she takes from students and colleagues on a weekly basis.

She admits that it’s part of the territory, in a way, accepting them as a form of compliment.

But the Troy Athens girls basketball coach knows she’s in for an all-out onslaught come Jan. 18.

“I guess it comes with the territory of teaching at one school and coaching at the other,” Noble, the Red Hawks’ first-year coach said with a laugh last week. “It’s all I’ve ever known, though. All my years of teaching have come at Troy, and all my years of coaching have been at Athens.”

The Jan. 18 game, set for 7 p.m. at Athens, will be the first for Noble as a head coach with her team against Troy.

The same can be said for Troy coach Dennis Koch, against Athens, that is.

“There’s a lot to look forward to with this game; there always is,” said Koch, who’s in his first year as head coach after spending five as an assistant with the team. “It’s going to be a battle.”

The natural rivalry of the game usually provides enough fuel for the hype leading up to it, but this year’s game has the chance to be even more intriguing because both teams are playing excellent basketball.

At press time, Troy was 6-1 overall, 5-0 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division. Athens was 6-1 overall, 4-0 in the Red.

“Both teams are going to be ready for this,” Noble said. “We expect a very competitive game. We both like to push the ball and force the issue, so I know our girls are looking forward to it.”

The similarities of the two teams go beyond first-year head coaches and solid records, as both coaches strongly believe the key to victory comes from stopping the opposing team’s star player.

“It’s simple for us,” Koch said with a laugh. “We have to stop (Athens junior) Sinclair Russell. “She’s a great player who can score, rebound and defend. She does it all, and to make matters worse, she has a great supporting cast around her. We’re going to have our hands full.”

Russell may be the go-to girl for Athens, averaging nearly 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks per game, but Noble knows Troy has some weapons of its own.

“If we find a way to slow down (Troy guard) Karin Moss, we’ll have a good chance,” Noble said.

Like Russell for Athens, Moss is the anchor of the Colts’ attack. The junior leads the team in scoring (14.5 per game), assists (four) and steals (three). Koch called her the “floor general for us, without a doubt.”

The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 14, but winter weather cancelled school and postponed the game.

This time around, Noble expects the storm to be inside her own classroom.

“I know this rivalry, and I know what it’s all about,” she joked in reference to good-natured ribbing she’ll likely face.

“It’s fun, though. You can’t help but enjoy it.”