BOURBON – Triton boys basketball coach Jason Groves isn’t big into worrying about the past. Just worrying about what is ahead of him. But the thought of not winning a sectional title, the first time the Trojans did not party into a regional since 2007, did not sit well with the head coach in the offseason.
Trent Elliott’s career night almost did Triton in by itself, where Culver’s stud senior scored 40 points in a 61-51 win by the Cavs over the Trojans in last year’s sectional. Triton had won six consecutive sectional titles before the loss, including four trips to the Class 1-A state finals. But as Groves stated at Culver, his team can’t worry about the loss and just look forward to next year.
With that, Triton also bid farewell to a very decorated senior class that included 1,000-point scorer Tanner Shepherd. Losing yet another all-timer from the program, Groves and Triton will look to a score-by-committee approach this season. And the team has the weapons to do it.
Seniors Joey Corder and Skyler Reichert along with Austin Sellers were instrumental in Triton’s run to state two season ago, and will be leaned upon as the elder statesmen this year.
Corder did struggle at times last year, but was third on the team in scoring (6.7 ppg), first in assists (50), second in steals (25) and first in blocks (21). Reichert was a primary option from three-point range, hitting 55-137 attempts (40 percent) and scored 10.7 points per game. Sellers started just four games as a junior, scoring 3.6 points per game and added 24 assists and 13 steals.
Junior Jordan Anderson will likely see a heightened role. Anderson started 16 of 20 games last season and led the program with 44 assists. Anderson can score when needed, but wasn’t asked to much with Shepherd and others taking more of the shots. Classmate Masen Yeo could also take a huge step forward. The younger brother of current Bethel and former Triton great Clay Yeo, Groves has noticed Masen making rapid progress which could fill a huge void at the forward position.
“Jordan is probably our most improved player from the end of last season, and it is not by coincidence either,” Groves said. “He works harder at basketball than anyone else on our team. That is why his teammates voted him team captain as a junior. Jordan will surprise some people this year.”
Groves is looking forward to the final season of the presently-constructed Northern State Conference, which four of the eight schools will depart for the Northern Indiana Conference next year. But with quality programs like John Glenn, LaVille, Jimtown and New Prairie on the horizon, plus Culver looking to defend its sectional glory from a year ago, conference games saddled with the usual brutality of the non-conference slate will show the Trojans what they have each night.
“It will be special for me personally as well as those who have grown up with the NSC,” Groves said, a proud John Glenn alum. “It will definitely be on our team’s priority list as well. It will be a very tough conference. Glenn, New Prairie, LaVille and Jimtown all have key players coming back and will be very good. I think Culver and Bremen will surprise some people this year as well. It will make for a fun last year.”
Triton opens Nov. 26 at Oregon-Davis and will host its first home game Dec. 9 versus Caston.