By Nick Goralczyk
LAKEVILLE – It was a clean sweep for the Triton girls and boys basketball programs Monday night in the opening round of the 56th Annual Bi-County Tournament. The two squads traveled to LaVille High School for the tourney double-header and both left with wins over the host Lancers.
Blue Swish Dominates Lancer Ladies
As the saying goes, “Ladies first.”
Fueled by swarming defense, the Triton girls basketball team set the tone for both games with a convincing 44-23 victory over LaVille in the night’s first game.
Triton jumped all over the Lancers in the opening frame, leading 12-2 going into the second quarter. The Lancers only two points came off a pair of free throws from Lucy Sherk. The Lancers did not record a made field goal until the 6:16 mark of the second quarter when Sherk picked up a basket. Sherk led LaVille with 11 points on the night but found herself in foul trouble and eventually fouled out late in Monday’s contest.
Sherk’s foul trouble played a minor part in the game as LaVille had closed Triton’s 26-9 halftime lead down to a competitive 28-16 margin midway through the third quarter. But once Sherk picked up her fourth foul and went to the bench, LaVille’s momentum went with her and Triton only grew its lead from that point, closing the third quarter on a 9-0 run.
While the Lancers relied heavily on Sherk’s play, Triton found production up and down its roster. Six Trojans scored in the game, led by Addyson Viers’ 12 points. Viers added seven rebounds and four blocks in the contest.
Controlling the paint at both ends of the court was huge in Monday’s win.
“Defensively we were aggressive,” stated Triton head coach Adam Heckaman. “We got after it, we made it tough on (LaVille) to find its post players. Taren (Yates) jumped out and got some steals and that leads to some easy offense.
“Offensively we worked to our strength, inside out. We took the threes when they were open but when that was covered we pounded it down low and our girls got good position and made good decisions with the ball.”
Triton forced 21 turnovers in the game while Yates led the way with five steals while also tallying seven points, five boards, four assists and a block. Emma Hepler scored nine points for Triton, all from behind the arc. Kinsey Atkins also made her living from deep, scoring six points on two made threes. Lexia Hostrawser was the only other Trojan to score in double digits tallying 10 points, including the team’s first six points of the night.
Triton (7-11) will host Oregon-Davis (10-8) Wednesday night at the Trojans Trench. O-D defeated John Glenn 62-61 in overtime Monday evening. Triton fell to O-D at home earlier this season 52-37 and currently has a seven-game losing streak against the Bobcats.
Trojans Turn The Tables On LaVille
Tenacious defense carried over from one Triton squad to the other Monday night. The Triton boys basketball team protected the paint and scorched the nets for a 68-40 win over LaVille.
It was a year ago in the Bi-County that Triton fell 53-34 at the hands of LaVille. While the Trojans enjoyed a 41-40 triumph over the Lancers just a few weeks after that, the loss was still on the minds of Jason Groves’ squad to start out this year’s tournament.
“We remembered, a little bit, of what happened last year,” Groves began. “The score was pretty much flip-flopped. We had that in the back of our minds and we felt like we were better than that performance last season. We came out focused and ready to go.”
Much like their female counterparts, Triton took the lead in the opening seconds against LaVille and never looked back.
The Trojans led 12-6 after the first quarter and 26-20 at the half. Triton opened the second half on a 10-2 run highlighted by excellent ball movement on the offensive end and backed up by stingy defense. The Trojans outscored LaVille 17-9 in the third quarter to earn a 43-29 advantage going into the fourth.
It was truly an all-around win for Triton. The boys from Bourbon won the rebounding battle 29-27, forced 18 turnovers, blocked three shots and made themselves comfortable from long range, hitting eight three-pointers against the Lancers. Four Trojans ended up scoring in double digits with Tyson Yates leading all players with 18 points. Ashton Oviedo went 3-4 from deep to help him tally 15 points for Triton.
John Gardner added 11 points and had a game-high two blocked shots while Cole McKinney scored 10 to help round out the major scoring contributors for Triton. Yates and Bruce Johnson tied for the team lead with five rebounds each.
Triton never took its foot off the gas in Monday’s decisive win. The Trojans continued to pound the ball inside and get points in transition in the fourth quarter, eventually outscoring LaVille 25-11 in the game’s final quarter.
The energy never left the Trojans on the court, or from the rowdy bench mob for that matter, and that energy in just what the team’s head coach loves to see.
“Defensively I think we’re a good team,” explained Groves. “We can be good when we’re focused and mentally ready to play. When you get after it defensively, it picks up everything else. It started on the defensive end and carried over. The kids got after it and I’m proud of them.”
Triton (8-2) will look to serve up another plate of revenge Wednesday night as it hosts Glenn (10-1) in the second round of the Bi-County. Glenn defeated Triton 51-50 on January 8th. The Falcons defeated Oregon-Davis 67-30 Monday night in Walkerton.