20210204-SPT-KeeneConantCoaches

Keene head coach Stacey Massiah, far left, and Conant head coach Brian Troy, far right, watch their teams during Wednesday’s matchup between Keene and Conant.

Wednesday’s 71-50 win over Keene High probably felt a little sweeter than most for Conant girls basketball head coach Brian Troy.

Troy, a 2009 Keene High graduate, spent two years playing for the Blackbirds' boys basketball team before continuing his basketball career at Rivier University, an NCAA Division 3 school in Nashua.

“It feels good,” Troy said after the game on Wednesday. “A lot of memories in this gym, and it feels good to come out on the winning side of it.”

To add to the blast from the past, Troy was coaching against his former coach, Stacey Massiah, who’s in his third year as the head girls basketball coach at Keene.

Troy said Massiah was an assistant coach for the Keene boys team when he was a junior in high school.

“Obviously, a lot of respect for Stacey, and Keene High is just getting underway too,” Troy said. “So I’m sure once they practice a little more and get a few more games underneath them, they’ll be fine.”

And the two still keep in touch, playing against each other in rec leagues and seeing each other during summer leagues when their teams meet.

“It was a good battle with [Troy],” Massiah said after Wednesday’s game. “I love playing against him, I loved watching him play when he was younger, playing with him in rec leagues and stuff like that.

“I’m definitely proud of him and what he’s accomplished over there at Conant. So, it was fun. If I had to play against guys I know all year, it makes for a good battle. It’s always a good time. He’s a good guy,” Massiah added.

The two shared some words pregame on Wednesday and met at the scorer’s table for a postgame elbow bump, the new standard in the COVID era.

If it weren’t for this year’s adjusted regional schedule because of the pandemic, Keene, a Division 1 program, would never have played Conant, a Division 3 program, in an NHIAA game.

“It’s not going to happen probably ever again,” Troy said. “It’s a unique circumstance and we’re kind of taking advantage of it. I was definitely excited when we knew we were going to play in Keene, so it feels good.”

The teams will often meet during regional summer leagues, but it’s just different during an official NHIAA matchup.

“It’s always special,” Massiah said. “We got to get a good look at them the last couple years during summer league, but now it’s ‘Oh we’re playing against them now,’ versus not playing in our region.”