BOURBON – He’s made magic out of less, but expectations weren’t through the roof when Triton started it’s boys basketball season. After running through the Hoosier North Athletic Conference unbeaten, head coach Jason Groves was tabbed by the conference as the Winter Coach of the Year.
Groves guided the Trojans to an 8-0 mark in the HNAC, led by the exploits of seniors Grant Johnson and Zac Pitney. The two combined to average 33 points per game in conference play and served as two of the five top scorers in the conference. Johnson also led the league in rebounds with 69 and was second in blocks with 20. Teammate Nathan Flenar led the league in free throw percentage at 84 percent.
Triton won the conference championship outright, its first of such grandeur since 2011 when it was a member of the Northern State Conference, but had to work hard to get it. The Trojans knocked off conference runner-up Winamac by two, third-place Pioneer by three and LaVille by four. Triton sealed up the conference with a lopsided win at Knox in the final game of the regular season.
Groves, in his 12th year at Triton, is 224-72 overall and has the second-highest win percentage (.757) among all active coaches with at least 50 wins, only Munster’s Mike Hackett is a shade higher (313-98, .762). The Trojans were 18-6 overall this season, going 18-2 after an 0-3 start before losing in the Triton Sectional championship game to Oregon-Davis last weekend.
The HNAC Winter Coach of the Year is voted upon by the principals and athletic directors in the conference, selecting a coach from the pool of boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling coaches. Tina Paschen of Caston cross country was named Fall Coach of the Year.