BOURBON – Triton’s girls basketball team is sick of being second fiddle. It’s time for a change.
Having been ranked, highly competitive in the Northern State Conference and winners of 68 games in the past three seasons, Triton has been right there. But at the end of the past three year’s schedules is a loss to Oregon-Davis in the sectional. And Triton head coach Adam Heckaman is very aware O-D is sitting in Triton’s sectional once again.
“Our tournament run has ended the same way the last three years, in the championship game with a loss to O-D,” stated Heckaman. “While it’s been frustrating, I don’t think it has caused us to lose any confidence in what we can do.”
If 2014 has been anything for Triton in athletics, its been successful. Much of the girls volleyball team that went to regional are staying on the hardcourt for basketball, and Heckaman couldn’t be more thrilled. Eight volleyball players are making the transition to basketball, giving Heckaman about 18 girls in total.
Headlining the list this season is senior Kylie Mason, who had a fantastic junior campaign. Mason averaged 16.5 points per game, one of just two players – along with graduated Taylor Hatfield’s 10.5 ppg – to score over 10 points per contest. Mason also led the team in three-pointers made (58), points (362), free throw percentage (80.6) and steals (58) and was second in assists (47).
Mason, along with graduated Mallorie Jennings, were the only two players to start all 22 games.
Returning to the mix are starting seniors Krystal Sellers, Lauren Hostrawser and Becca Kennedy as well as senior Hannah Jennings and junior Jaela Meister. Every one of the returners played in at least 18 games last season. Junior Shayla May should also step in and contribute in her first taste of varsity.
Sellers provides a lot of the stats, scoring 6.5 ppg, 4.7 rebounds per game, and led the team with 63 assists and was one off of Mason with 57 steals. Howstrawser is the team’s leading returner in rebounds (5.3), and Meister had 82 rebounds in less than 10 minutes per game on the court.
“Going into the season we anticipate a lot of attention on Kylie, but what many teams will find out is that we have a lot of players that will be able to step up and score points,” Heckaman said. “We have five seniors who all played a lot of minutes for us last year. In addition to Kylie, Krystal Sellers and Becca Kennedy will be able to score from the perimeter and they will be helped with the inside presence of Hannah Jennings and Lauren Hostrawser.”
In the final season of what is currently comprised as the Northern State Conference, Triton finished last season 5-2 overall, losing to just Knox and and champion John Glenn. Heckaman is excited about the final year in the conference, but is also looking at what should be another loaded Class 1-A Sectional 51, where last season’s 1-A state champion, Oregon-Davis, still resides as does state-ranked Culver and South Central (Union Mills). The sectional had a combined 81-44 record and only LaCrosse at 6-13 was under .500.
“Our sectional last year had four of the top 10 1-A teams in it and will probably push to do it again this year,” said Heckaman. “O-D will be the team to beat until some one proves they can do it, but South Central and Culver will be right there again this year.”
Triton opens its regular season Friday, Nov. 14, hosting North Judson.