GOSHEN – Good guards can determine so much of what happens on both ends of a basketball court during a game.
Triton’s good guards did just that Monday night.
The Trojans’ bevy of backcourt aces made the difference in a 57-28 win over host Bethany Christian in girls basketball action.
Triton’s plethora of playmakers set the tone, both offensively and even more so defensively, from the opening tip in rolling to the victory.
The Trojans dictated the pace of play with their full court pressure defense to the tune of a 24-point opening period to take control from the start.
The Class 1-A No. 9 Trojans, got big games from the trio of sophomores Kylie Mason and Krystal Sellers and junior Taylor Hatfield, to improve to 4-2. The outstanding guards totaled 41 points to go with a dozen of Triton’s 18 steals.
Triton opened the contest with a 14-0 lead as Mason came out and drained a pair of 3-pointers in the onslaught. Bethany Christian committed turnovers on its first six possessions versus the Triton press. The hosts did not attempt a shot until 3:33 into the first eight-minute quarter of the contest and scored their first points on a three-point play by 6-1 center Hanna Hochstetler with 4:01 left in the opening stanza.
The Trojans, who improved to 3-0 on the road, led 24-5 after the first quarter. All five starters scored in the opening frame with Mason netting eight points and Hatfield and Sellers each adding six. The host Bruins, who fall to 2-4, had 12 of their 26 turnovers in the first quarter.
“We talked about getting them to play at our pace tonight,” said Triton coach Adam Heckaman. “We wanted to everything we could to rush them and try and make them forget about Hochstetler on the inside.
“We did a very good job in that first quarter. Our guards were great. All five of our girls got after it in that first quarter. Our offense feeds off our defense. We’re able to get the ball out in transition, attack and create mismatches.
“For the most part, we played well tonight. We got a lot of minutes for everyone and that was one our goals tonight. That will help us out in terms of our depth in the future.”
Triton, which beat the Bruins just 38-32 last season, led 35-16 at intermission as Sellers scored 11 points and Mason 10. Hochstetler, a 6-1 junior, scored nine of her team-high 13 points in the first half for Bethany.
The Trojans outscored the Bruins 35-7 in points off turnovers. Triton also out rebounded the bigger Bethany squad 40-33 with Sellers nabbing nine caroms and Hannah Jennings snaring eight.
Triton played its second straight game without senior Shana Anderson. The team’s top scorer last season and in the first four games this year is out due to a violation of team rules.
“At 4-2, we’re pretty pleased and happy where we’re at right now,” said Heckaman, whose team lost by three points in overtime to Plymouth and by eight points to Class 3-A No. 2 NorthWood. “We have a lot to work on still. We had some self-inflicted turnovers tonight. We just need to be a little more patient and made better decisions with the lead.”
Mason led Triton with 17 points to go with four steals. Sellers scored 14 points to go with her team-high nine rebounds, while Hatfield had 10 points, five rebounds and six steals.
Hochstetler led Bethany with 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Bruins, other than Hochstetler, were just 7-of-30 from the field.
Triton won the junior varsity contest 36-23. Becca Kennedy poured in 16 points to lead the winners. Marisa Marquez scored nine points to pace Bethany.
Triton (4-2) opens Northern State Conference play Saturday by hosting Knox. Bethany (2-4) plays at Prairie Heights Friday.