Troy Buchanan boys basketball

Troy, Mo. - Troy Buchanan’s boys basketball squad had a special run in 2021, coming one win short of reaching the Class 6 Final Four.

And though the ride came to a screeching halt in a blowout loss at Fort Zumwalt North, coach Tim Gilmore knows a great deal of work needs to be done to get back to that moment – and surpass it.

“It was a fun season last year,” said Gilmore, whose Trojans finished 20-7 last season. “We know we’re not the same team from last year.

“It’s starting from the bottom, and working our way back up again.”

Troy Buchanan brings back experience plus a few fresh faces. Despite a major loss with the graduation of leading scorer Griffin St. Pierre, the Trojans do return All-Conference and All-District guard Charlie Nett, and All-District guard Jack Fessenden.

Senior Nathan Ryan was also named All-Conference and All-District last season, and Troy gets back Jonah Aholt, who missed all of last season with an injury.

“Griff was a special player you’ll always remember as a coach,” Gilmore said. “You remember all of your players, but you won’t forget a guy like him.”

The Trojans will start the 2021-2022 campaign a little shorthanded, for Ryan and several other players are members of the school’s football team, who reached the Class 6 Final Four.

“We love the guys we have, but we’re missing some guys because of football,” Gilmore said. “We’re happy for the football team – and we want to see them be successful as well.”

The 3-pointer was the Trojans’ weapon of choice last season. Troy will continue to shoot the ball from the perimeter, with Nett expected to take a bigger role in the offense. However, the team also hopes Ryan’s physicality from one season as the leading pass catcher on the football field translates to the basketball court.

Troy was also notorious for slow starts throughout last season, then catching fire in the second half, something Gilmore hopes changes in the upcoming campaign.

“Getting off to good starts and being focused for four quarters is going to be important for us,” he said. “That’s something we really need to hone in on early in the season.

“If we concentrate on our defense, the offense will come.”

Gilmore said he has an experience group of players who have had a taste of championship play. Nevertheless, he doesn’t want his Trojans to believe a trip to the Final Four is a must.

“I expect us to be disciplined defensively, and more efficient offensively – and see where it leads us,” Gilmore said. “I don’t want to put any pressure on the kids, saying ‘Final Four or Bust.’

“I want these kids to have fun, work hard in practice and play hard every night.”