SYRACUSE – It was a little unfamiliar ground for Triton, but one it would like to explore more often. The Trojans raced out to 15 points in the first quarter and continued to score points in what became a 40-35 girls basketball win at Wawasee Saturday night.
Triton, which hadn’t scored more than 14 points in any quarter this season coming into Saturday night, hit for 15 in the first and were level at 26 with the Warriors heading into halftime, the halftime output more than it had scored in three of its last four full games. The 26 points from Wawasee also ran well past what it scored Friday night in a 51-point loss at Concord. Something was going to have to give.
Wawasee’s foul trouble and Triton’s ability to make plays late in the game separated the two teams. The Warriors had guard Jada Carter pick up three fouls in the second quarter, then take a fourth in the third quarter. Wawasee also saw Danielle Jenkins and Kennedy White both rack up fouls and later foul out. The shuffling of Wawasee’s lineup was key as Triton took advantage of holes in the defense to stay in front.
“We played the last four minutes without any of those three on the floor, and those three are important cogs in our system,” said Wawasee head coach Matt Carpenter of Carter, Jenkins and White in the first half. “We feel comfortable with some people we can bring off the bench, but at the same time, when we get out of rotation and when people are in different roles, it’s a learning experience for us still. Especially early in the season.”
Despite the foul issues, Wawasee would hold a tenuous 33-32 lead with 4:28 remaining. But that would be the last time the hosts would lead as Lexia Hostrawser worked inside and put in a shortie to give Triton a one-point lead. Two Kinsey Atkins free throws put Triton up three, and after Wawasee committed a turnover, Triton ran off over a minute of the clock playing keep away, ending with a Whytnie Miller bank shot to put Triton up five.
“I was really pleased with what I saw,” said Triton head coach Adam Heckaman. “I’ve really been on Lexia and Abbey (Viers) and Alyxa (Viers). They are strong girls and have a lot of height, but they have played kind of soft lately and I challenged them again to get after it and make an impression. They did get after it and finished some plays. It helped that our guards found them in good positions to score. We are starting to take those steps forward and seeing we have multiple options out there.”
Miller, who turned 18 on Saturday, didn’t quite get to her ID, but did score 14 points to lead the Trojans. Hostrawser finished with 11 points.
Wawasee, which managed just 16 points the night before at Concord, had Becca Smith play admirably with six points and six rebounds. Emily Haines scored seven points, but none of those came in the second half. Carter hit a pair of threes in the first half for her six points.
“I think we let fatigue hurt us tonight,” Carpenter said, referring to the Friday game leading into Saturday night. “We let them slow the tempo down a little bit too much in the second half. So yes, maybe we scored 20 points, but we gave up 20 points and we were giving them way too easy of shots.”
Added Heckaman, “Having Whytnie on the court, her composure, it’s been great for us. Not having her last year with the injuries, it was obvious we lacked her leadership. I’ve apologized to her every night meaning to sub for her and I never do. I always want her out on the floor.”
Ava Harker had 14 points and four rebounds as Wawasee won the JV contest 25-13. Tate Cowan added four rebounds and four steals for the Warriors, which held Triton to just one made field goal after the first quarter.
Triton (2-5) visits The Pit Tuesday for a date with NorthWood while Wawasee (3-2) will head over to Benton to take on Fairfield also on Tuesday.