BOURBON — With Triton’s football team playing in the Sectional 41 championship game Friday night, the Lady Trojans’ basketball team was happy to move its season-opener up from Friday to give that title game sole possession of the spotlight.
But with an inexperienced lineup, those three less days of practice were bound to make a difference Tuesday. It didn’t help that two of the Trojans’ top players were both sidelined for the opener with John Glenn, and then of course a talented, experienced Lady Falcons lineup didn’t make things any easier, either.
And all of those factors added up to a lopsided, 49-23 loss by Triton in the first game played on the new floor at the Trojan Trench.
“We are super excited for the football team and hope that they can win again and we can move some more games around, but we had few options on what we could do with this game. It was either move it up or sandwich it in and have three games in four days or maybe even three depending on the football team, so we moved this one up,” explained Triton coach Adam Heckaman. “We knew we weren’t quite ready for it.”
With junior Alyxia Viers sitting out with a concussion and sophomore point guard Jaela Faulkner also relegated to the Trojans’ bench with concussion-like symptoms following the team’s scrimmage with Elkhart Central Saturday, Triton trailed pretty much from the outset. Glenn used a 5-0 run at the close of the opening stanza to take a 14-5 lead into the quarter break, then scored 11 unanswered points at the start of the second period to take a 25-5 lead with 4:56 still remaining in the half.
The Trojans’ inexperience really showed in the turnover department as the home team surrendered 22 in the first half on the way to a 34-turnover night against Glenn’s on-the-ball pressure. The Falcons punished their hosts for 32 total points off those miscues and gave up only six turnovers of their own on the way to the win.
“That hurts a lot,” said Heckaman of the turnovers. “Jaela wouldn’t solve all that, but she’d help a whole lot. She’s our starting point guard from the end of the year last year, is going to be this year. She did fairly well against Elkhart Central handling the ball Saturday so I felt OK going into this, but with her being out that put a lot of pressure on other people to handle it. They’re just not ready for that level of defense quite yet. Those are things we’ll work on. We have a little bit of time now to actually work on it, and hopefully we can improve that before we play two games next week.”
Playing in her first game back from an ACL tear in last season’s sectional-closer, Whytnie Miller wasn’t allowed much room to work by the Glenn defense, and she finished 1 for 5 from the floor on her way to just four points. Chelsea Johnson scored six points and pulled in six rebounds patrolling the paint, while sophomore reserve Abby Viers led the team in the scoring column with seven points, including five during the second period.
“Night in and night out, we’re going to have to try to find who is going to be that scorer. Whytnie, she’s not in shape yet from her ACL tear last year. She’ll get there, and I know that she’ll work hard to get there and she’ll be able to provide at that point. Right now, we’ve got to figure out who can do it for us. I think there’s some nights Chelsea might be able to score more — she’s got to learn to be a little bit bigger down there, and we’ve got to get some guards to handle the ball better to get it down there,” Heckaman said.
“I thought Abby Viers did a good job for the two quarters I got her in there. We mixed her and Chelsea in at the same time — which wasn’t something we were really planning on doing yet — just to see what we could do there. It’s all things we haven’t honestly worked on in practice. It was kind of just flying by the seat of our pants there with two posts at the same time. We haven’t had every kid practice yet this year so we’re still learning.”
Glenn’s guard-heavy lineup had three players in double figures, meanwhile. Bethany Hayden put up a game-high 18 in her senior debut, while backcourt mate Morgan Plunkett put up 13, and Julianne Will gave the Falcons a spark off the bench with 11 points Tuesday.
“I know everybody probably wants us to go man-to-man when we get down 20 points, but it would’ve just gotten worse. We’re not quick enough to keep up with a team like that at this point in the year,” explained Heckaman. “As Jaela and Whytnie get into shape it might make a little bit more of a difference out there with our team speed, but we’re going to have to get better at holding some teams down and get creative with how we’ll score some points. But we’ll get there.”
John Glenn will resume play at Knox on Saturday, while Triton gets a little break before traveling to Argos next Tuesday night.