Boys basketball: Russia dominates Troy Christian, stays unbeaten


PIQUA — It was a tournament atmosphere with a big crowd at Garbry Gymnasium on Thursday in the first game of the WPTW Holiday Classic.

It looked like Russia’s tournament wins in Piqua a year ago — and much like every game the team has played so far this season.

The Raiders took control early and beat previously undefeated Troy Christian 64-39. They are scheduled to face Dayton Meadowdale in the WPTW Holiday Classic championship game at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Russia (7-0) has won its last six games by margins of 19 or more points. The team’s lone close contest was a 53-45 win at Jackson Center in a season opener — and it led by double digits before Jackson Center closed the gap late.

Though the Eagles (5-1) have most of their players back from a regional run in which they played Russia to an eight-point loss last March, they couldn’t keep up on Thursday.

Russia scored the first seven points, pushed its lead to 22-11 by the end of the first quarter and led by double digits the rest of the way.

“It was a good team win,” Russia coach Spencer Cordonnier said. “We moved the ball and shot it better tonight than what we had for three or four games. Jaxon Grogean came off the bench and shot 3’s well; I don’t think he missed one.”

The Raiders made 7-of-9 three-pointers in the first half and made three more 3’s in the second half.

Grogean, a junior guard, made four 3’s and finished with 12 points. Junior forward Benjamin York made three 3’s and finished with 14 points, and senior guard Brayden Monnin made three 3’s and finished with 11.

“Every night out, you have no idea who’s going to score what,” Cordonnier said. “We’re a tough matchup.”

The Eagles tried to slow Russia and prevented many fast breaks. But the Raiders worked the ball around with precision and speed, and Troy Christian’s defenders struggled to keep pace.

“We do tend to hold the ball a little bit, and I told them (in the locker room) after the game that when we weren’t going good, we weren’t making quick decisions and getting the ball moving,” Cordonnier said. “We were stagnant at times. When we were going good, we were moving the ball.”

Senior guard Hayden Quinter led Russia with 16 points. He scored 10 in the third quarter to help fend off any rally try from the Eagles.

“He’s doing a little bit of everything,” Cordonnier said. “He always has. His scoring is down a little bit, but he’s just getting back (from injury). He didn’t do anything all summer long because of the knee problem he had last year. He didn’t play baseball, he didn’t play basketball, he didn’t do anything in the summer.

“Just in the last two weeks, I think he’s hitting his stride. Hayden is Hayden; he might get 2 or 4, or he might get 28. It doesn’t seem to matter to him. His assists are up, and he’s already the all-time steals leader in Russia history, so that number just continues to go up.”

“… With him just getting going this year, I’m excited to see where he can take us.”

Parker Penrod led Troy Christian with 14 points while Frank Rupnik added 12. Penrod, a senior guard, was averaging 18 points and four assists entering Thursday’s game while Rupnik, a 6-foot-7 center, was averaging 15 points and six rebounds.

“Penrod is a tough matchup for anybody they play,” Cordonnier said. “When they brought Rupnik down to the post, he used his big frame and got a couple of baskets. We made an adjustment to eliminate that. …I thought Braylon (Cordonnier) and Felix (Francis) did a good job and controlled the glass most of the night.”

Meadowdale beat Piqua 60-54 in the second game on Thursday to advance to the championship game. The Lions improved to 2-5 with the win.

Russia, which won all three of its sectional games in Piqua by double-digit margins last year, won’t have to wait long before facing another undefeated opponent. The squad is scheduled to travel to Botkins (6-0) for a Shelby County Athletic League showdown on Tuesday.

Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

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Bryant Billing has been at the Sidney Daily News since 2017. He took over as editor in April of 2024 after working as sports editor for the previous 6.5 years. He worked as a reporter and later as an editor for a weekly newspaper in Springfield from 2007 to 2012, managed a Springfield-based website called from 2012 to 2016 and then worked as a freelancer for Cox Media Group Ohio newspapers (including the Dayton Daily News) from 2016 to 2017 before joining the SDN.

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