AKRON – Meredith Brouyette admitted it was a shot she didn’t know if she should have taken.
That being said, she was confident with it.
Her coach was very comfortable with it too.
The Tippecanoe Valley sophomore lefty guard made things all right for her team in the end by calmly draining a 3-pointer from the baseline with 13 seconds left to lift her team to a thrilling 35-34 win over Triton Wednesday night.
The host Vikings then got a huge deflection and steal from defensive leader Karis Tucker with just 1.9 seconds to play. Tucker then missed a pair of free throws, but a desperation heave from half court by Triton’s Kylie Mason was well off the mark and came after the final horn had sounded too.
On a night where the name of the game was defense, with both teams shooting as cold as the December air outside, it was Brouyette’s trey that hit nothing but net that was the biggest shot of a closely-contested contest.
“It was a shot that I don’t know if I should have taken, but I was confident taking it,” said Brouyette of her game winner. “It was a gutsy shot, but I do like shooting the three from the baseline. This is big to beat Triton and it feels good to beat them.”
Sophomore star Anne Secrest, despite being surrounded by multiple Triton defenders all night, led Valley with 16 points to go with 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Brouyette finished with seven points and her two baskets in the win were both 3-pointers.
Junior Jaela Meister led Triton with 11 points. Senior Krystal Sellers had eight points for the Trojans and senior Becca Kennedy seven.
Valley, which improves to 6-1, had lost their last four versus Triton, including a 55-48 final last year.
Triton, which saw its three game winning streak snapped, drops to 6-3.
The game, which saw neither team lead by more than six points, was nip-and-tuck to the end. Triton took a 32-30 lead with 2:02 to play on two free throws by Meister. Secrest then hit a pair of free throws with 1:10 left to tie the game at 32-32. The Trojans retook the lead at 34-32 on a jumper by Kennedy with 25 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Brouyette’s big shot.
“I liked the effort of everyone who played for us tonight and we won this game with our defense,” said Valley coach Chris Kindig. “Last year we would not have won a game like this. This year, the big difference is our defense. It’s why we are 6-1. We’ve been consistent on the defensive end every night and it’s won us a lot of games so far.
“Karis has played great defense for us all year and the turnover she forced was huge. Meredith is that good a shooter and I’m very comfortable with her taking that shot. She did not hesitate and that should help her confidence.
“Every game with Triton is tight and it’s nice to break through and win one. Our girls our young, but they made plays down the stretch. Our focus in the offseason was our defense and no question all of our girls understand what their role is for us defensively and it’s making a huge difference this year.”
Valley led 6-4 after the opening period and 15-12 at halftime as Secrest had eight points. Triton did not take its first lead of the game until going ahead 16-15 on a bucket by Meister with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The Trojans led 23-22 at the end of the third period.
“It was two teams playing good defense tonight and a good game,” said Triton coach Adam Heckaman. “They just made one more play than we did. We executed and were patient and got shots we wanted. To hold them to 36 points, I was very happy with that.
“We had some kids step up tonight like Jaela and Becca for us. Secrest is tough for them. She’s one of the best if not the best player in the area. But, I thought we did a good job on her. We made it hard on her to score. She had to work for her points tonight.”
Valley shot 13-38 from the field and 7-16 from the line. Triton was 14-40 from the field and 5-9 from the stripe.
Senior Lauren Hostrawser had four points and eight rebounds for Triton. Senior guard Kylie Mason, Triton’s top scorer last season, had just two points in limited minutes due to foul trouble.
Senior Caylie Teel and sophomore Hannah Dunn each scored four points for Valley.
Valley won the junior varsity game 43-26. Megan Brazo had 16 points and Addy Miller 11 for the winners. Emma Ross scored seven points and Nicole Sechrist and Charlotte Morris each had six to lead Triton.
Valley hosts conference foe North Miami and Triton plays at Bremen Friday night.