BOURBON — Triton’s defense looked pretty good in the half court opposite visiting Argos Tuesday. The trouble is, the Lady Trojans’ turnovers didn’t always afford them a chance to get set on the defensive end.
Triton yielded 21 turnovers against the Dragons’ full court pressure, and the result was a lopsided, 42-22 loss at the Trojan Trench.
“We’re holding teams down, but until we decide to break a press and cut to the middle and get the ball where it belongs against a press, everybody is going to do it to us. And if we keep giving up 20 points off turnovers, the defense can only go so long,” said frustrated Trojans coach Adam Heckaman. “We’re letting teams shoot 20, 30 more times than us because of turnovers. Water finds its level, and eventually they’re going to score if they’re shooting that many more times. We’ve got to get better at it.”
Argos only recorded nine steals on the Trojans’ 21 turnovers, and the Dragons only tallied 11 points off turnovers. But the visitors did take 11 more shots than their hosts, converting 17-of-43 shots from the floor compared to a 10-of-32 field conversion rate by Triton. The Trojans were still well in the game at halftime after the Dragons introduced the press in the second period, trailing their guests by a slim 14-6 margin. A 5-0 spurt put Argos up by double digits at 17-8 at the 6:54 stop of the third before a run of seven straight points by Triton brought the home team back to within a single possession at 21-18 at the 1:31 stop of the period.
The wheels came off after that, however, as a series of Trojan turnovers cued a trio of quick transition buckets by the Dragons and an 8-0 quarter-ending run that put Argos out front 29-18 headed into the final frame. It didn’t get much better after that, and the Dragons pushed their lead out to as many as 22 points while moving to 3-0 on the young season.
“It still was close when we got it to 21-18 in the third quarter, and honestly we just kind of forgot what we did to break it and let them go on another big run,” explained Heckaman. “Even in the first half when we couldn’t do anything, we were still in it. We were down eight at half — 14-6 or something like that. Defensively, we did a great job. I told the girls that. I said ‘When we can play defense, we do alright, but when we turn it over, and you can’t play defense because they’re shooting a layup, you’re hurting yourself.’ And that’s what we did all night.”
Triton benefitted from a number of steals, too, including six steals by Taren Yates, who capitalized on those takeaways with a few fast break buckets en route to a game-high 12 points.
“She is an aggressive defender. She reads passes well. She’s faster than probably anybody out there. And if she gets that opportunity she’s going to be able to attack the basket,” said Heckaman of the sophomore guard. “That’s what we want out of her, but we’re working with her on learning when to back off. She picked up that first foul, way back in the backcourt, 80 feet from the basket after she had missed a shot. It was a frustration foul, but then less than a minute later she picks up her second and we have to sit her the rest of the first half. She’s a spark plug for us, and we need her out there.”
While Yates finished with 12, senior back court mate Whytnie Miller scored six points to go with five rebounds, four steals and two assists. But Heckaman got a combined four points from the rest of his lineup, which went nine deep in the loss.
Argos fared better in the balance department, as Kagnie Hoffman put up a team-best nine followed by eight points from Macy Morris and seven points apiece from Emily LaFree, Morgan Dunlap — who also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds — and Elizabeth Edmonds, who also passed out a game-best four assists.
Triton slips to a 1-2 start with the loss. The Trojans will host South Central (Union Mills) Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Argos also won the JV match-up, 24-19. Emma Dunlap paced the Dragons with 11 points in that game. Dylanie Miler led Triton with seven.