BOURBON – On a night when Triton honored one of its own, the basketball teams made good on doing its parts. In a girls and boys varsity doubleheader Friday night, Triton beat Culver in both contests as everyone collectively took part in a bigger community cause in #balllikebre.
Girls Matchup: Triton 58, Culver 9
Triton opened the game on a 14-0 run and it was basically over. The Lady Trojans had three consecutive steals in the opening run that led to seven points, part of a night that had Triton force 30 Culver turnovers. In that statistic, 47 of Triton’s 58 points were created off turnovers.
Triton also put together another defensive stat among the game, which it didn’t allow a field goal the final 17:24 of the game, which spanned the final 1:24 of the first half and the entire second half.
Hannah Wanemacher led Triton with 19 points and five each in rebounds, steals and assists. Whytnie Miller was 8-12 from the floor for 16 points and added four steals. Charlotte Morris added eight offensive rebounds and nine total rebounds with her five points.
“We’ve really been focusing on the defensive end, and we know we’ve had our offensive struggles so getting this is very good for us,” said Triton head coach Adam Heckaman. “We mixed in some different defensive looks and the girls are getting a lot better at it. We rotated well and didn’t allow a lot of open looks. I thought that was really important to take from tonight.”
Triton improves to 6-12 overall and 5-1 in the Hoosier North Athletic Conference, Culver falls to 1-15 and 0-6.
Boys Matchup: Triton 60, Culver 44
Triton used a monster second half from Grant Johnson to pull away from Culver.
The senior forward was 9-15 from the floor and finished with 21 points, adding 12 rebounds and three blocks. His play in the third quarter, scoring at the rack on three separate possessions, helped Triton take a double-digit lead on the Cavs, making all the difference.
“I knew coming in that if we wanted to win this game, we had to score inside,” said Triton head coach Jason Groves. “Grant did a much better job in the second half, if anything just being aggressive. He got into a nice rhythm and stepped up like a senior is supposed to.”
Culver jumped out to a 9-0 lead, giving those in the black “Rivals On, Friends Off” shirts something to finally yell about. But that lead quickly evaporated as Beau Hepler hit a pair of threes, and the Trojans eventually took a 16-15 lead.
Hepler would hit three from deep on the night and end with 12 points, also assisting on four plays. Zac Pitney continued his all-around play with 16 points, four assists, three rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
“Beau hitting those shots, I think those finally calmed us down,” Groves said. “I told them coming in that we haven’t seen length and athleticism like this. I think they were a little shellshocked coming out, turning the ball over. That 9-0 deficit showed that. I was on Beau a little hard this week, because I knew they were going to be all over him. He responded to the challenge, as did our seniors in Grant and Zac.”
Nate Carnegie led the Cavs (7-3, 3-2 HNAC) with 15 points and six boards and Cash Harris got hot late and finished with 10 points, four boards and four steals.
The win by Triton is its 60th in the series with Culver, the Cavs with 27 wins to its credit. Triton moves to 7-4 overall and 4-0 in the HNAC, winners of seven of its last eight games.
The Bigger Picture
The annual meeting between Triton and Culver is likely to become the #balllikebre games. Both communities contributed to the scholarship fund, which is in honor of the late Breanna Lemler, who passed away last July in a car accident in Alabama. Lemler was a three-sport athlete at Triton, basketball being one of those sports.
Triton, wearing yellow “Forever Family” shirts both on the court and in the stands, combined with Culver in a fundraising effort to contribute to scholarships the Lemler family is beginning in Bre’s honor. The scholarships are intended to be distributed through Triton High School, the Marshall County 4-H Fair, and Purdue’s Zeta Tau Alpha chapter.
A donation check was given by Triton athletic director Mason McIntyre to the Lemler family for just shy of $2,500. Over a dozen of Bre’s athletic teammates and several hundred other friends in the stands made the night a memorable one, win or lose.
“This night just came together really well,” Heckaman said, who coached Bre for four years from 2009-13. “We wanted to honor a really special person. She touched a lot of lives here. And Culver has been phenomenal about jumping on board and helping out. So I can’t express my appreciation enough to them for what they have done to help out with it. I’m excited to be part of presenting that check to (the Lemler family).”