By Mike Deak
BOURBON – For a couple years, Triton’s bugaboo was Oregon-Davis. The past two seasons, it’s been Argos.
The Dragons have clipped the Trojans in each of the past two seasons in the sectional tournament, last year in the championship at the Trojan Trench, and again this past week in the regular season.
And while chalk would assume the two are on another collision course in the Class 1-A tournament at Culver, Jason Groves’ squad has shown mental lapses can end it with much more consequence.
A 44-43 loss at LaVille on Feb. 12 not only cost the Trojans a game in the Hoosier North Athletic Conference standings, but saw Triton blow a 15-0 lead in a game it didn’t trail until 17 seconds left in the contest. What it also showed is that Triton is capable of responding a major way. Less than 15 hours later, Triton dropped 109 points on Clinton Christian, it’s highest point output in almost 30 years.
Triton sits at 15-5 overall and have bounced in and out of the Class 1-A poll. Argos, which is one of the two teams along with Triton that will be the lone teams with winning records heading into the sectional, is ranked No. 11.
The two will sit on opposite sides of the draw at Culver, where Triton will get winless West Central in its opener, Argos on the other side meeting LaCrosse. Culver awaits a potential showdown with its neighbors in Argos in the semis, while Oregon-Davis will like to take its third stab at Triton, the Trojans winners of both regular season meetings this season, in the second semi-final.
A Triton-Argos rematch could await the finals if the chalk plays out.
Tyson Yates and Ashton Oviedo have led the Trojans all season. Oviedo is pouring in 16.7 points per game through 20 games, and Yates a couple back at 13.2. The two have also combined for 130 rebounds, 95 steals and 116 assists. Oviedo is also a 76 percent free throw shooter, Yates at 74 percent.
While he is third on the chart in team scoring, John Gardner quietly has been a team leader elsewhere. Gardner scores just a shade under eight points a night, but leads the team in rebounds (128, 47/81 offensive/defensive) and hits 61 percent of his field goals, making 64-105 on the season. Gardner also has 26 assists and 20 steals.
Bruce Johnson and Cole McKinney combine to score over 13 points a game for the Trojans, and if given the opportunity, Hunter McIntyre has missed just two free throws in 13 attempts this season, an 85-percent clip.
The Trojans are looking to win their first sectional since 2016.