Trojans Return To Play In Dominating Fashion
ELKHART – Triton boys basketball Jason Groves may want to think about somehow scheduling another 16-day layoff between games for his team.
The Trojans looked anything but rusty Thursday night.
Terrific would be the best way to describe Groves’ group on this evening.
Triton returned to the hardwood with passion and a purpose in throttling host Elkhart Christian Academy 67-27.
The Trojans, who had not played since a 65-32 loss at Warsaw on Dec. 22, clicked on all cylinders from the opening tip in blasting the Eagles.
Groves was understandably pleased as punch following the dominating display by his squad.
“I really didn’t know what to expect tonight, but I did think that we got better over the break,” said Groves. “I was anxious to see how we would play. ECA is a good team. I had seen them a couple of times and they can shoot the ball.
“I thought the key word was energy. We came out with that and when you do that it wears teams down. Before the game, we talked about grit and what that word means. I thought our kids came out tonight and were gritty.
“I thought going into the break that I was not sure of what our identity was on defense. We worked a lot on our zone over break. The guys came out tonight and did a great job early on with our defense. I was really happy with how active they were in our zone. I thought at the start that our defense propelled our offense.”
Triton, which snapped a two-game losing streak, never trailed. Senior Masen Yeo scored the first six points of the game for the Trojans. Triton led 17-3 at the end of the opening period as Yeo scored eight points.
The Trojans continued the onslaught in the second stanza. Triton outscored the Eagles 17-10 in the frame to lead 34-13 at halftime. Jordan Anderson had a five-point play for the Trojans as he drained a trey and then was fouled following the shot and hit two free throws. Anderson capped an outstanding half by banking in a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the final horn.
Triton, which beat ECA 48-23 last season, never relented in the final half. The Trojans opened the second half with an 18-0 run to build a 52-13 lead before Groves emptied his bench late in the third quarter. Anderson and Grant Johnson each had eight points in the third frame, including a banked in triple from the top of the key by the 6-6 Johnson as the period ended.
Anderson and Yeo were stellar for the Trojans. Anderson led the way with 19 points, while Yeo had 16 and nine rebounds.
“I thought in that second half that we played really well on both ends of the floor,” noted Groves. “This is a good group. Masen and Jordan are both in their third year as starters for us. They did a great job tonight. That’s what you expect from your seniors.”
Junior Zachary Pitney had nine points and junior Johnson eight. Junior Nathan Flenar scored six, while senior Dalton Bailey had four and senior Jarrett Kreft and sophomore Drew Stichter each had two and senior Gavin Eads one. Kreft led Triton with six assists.
Triton shot 23-43 overall from the field, including 8-16 on 3-pointers. The Trojans were 13-26 at the line.
Juniors Kris Waycaster and Tyler Litwiller each had six points to lead ECS. The hosts, who had defeated Lakeland Christian Academy 84-43 Tuesday night, shot just 9-36 overall from the field, including 4-20 from distance. The Eagles were 5-13 from the line.
ECA, which saw its three-game winning streak stopped, was held to a season low for points. The Eagles, whose previous low was 41, entered play Thursday night averaging 53 points-per-game.
ECA won the junior varsity contest 58-44. Adam Stevens scored 12 points to lead Triton. Beau Hepler and Dylan Hensley each had eight points and Drew Stichter seven for the Trojans. Jon Burns led the Eagles with 21 points.
Triton (6-4) plays at West Central Saturday night. ECA (4-5) hosts South Bend Trinity Tuesday night.