No. 3 OD nips No. 5 Triton

HAMLET — With senior Katie Schwenk out of the lineup at church camp, Oregon-Davis junior reserve Lincy Jones turned a corner filling her shoes at the Hanover Central Tournament last week.
And while the Lady Bobcats may have fallen short at that tourney’s championship, Schwenk’s absence at Hanover Central may have paid dividends for OD against its Sectional 51 rivals Wednesday.
Jones chipped in six points and two rebounds coming off the bench for the Bobcats, and her nine and a half minutes of floor time helped give her team the spark it needed to hold off visiting Triton down the stretch as Class A No. 3 Oregon-Davis trumped the No. 5-rated Trojans 48-45 in a down-to-the-wire classic at The Den.
“The one that surprised me is Jones,” said OD head coach Terry Minix. “She came in and gave us some energy. She got some rebounds, scored six points and when we were struggling — (Haley) Collings had 10 rebounds — but I think Lincy kind of waited under the basket and she just kind of changes things. I think she changed the whole attitude a little bit about hustling on the floor, and that got us going a little bit. As far as the spark, obviously I expect Ashely (Campbell) and Jesse (Averone) and Alicia (McIntosh) to be our leaders, and they are, but you have to have somebody come in and still give you that spark, and I thought tonight Lincy Jones did that.”
A wing 3 from Triton point guard Taylor Hatfield at the 4:15 stop of the fourth gave the Trojans their first lead in nearly 23 minutes at 39-37, but three straight OD points on 3 of 4 free throws from sophomore guard Campbell gave the Bobcats back a tenuous advantage, 40-39, with 2:40 left to go. A baseline jumper from Trojan freshman Kylie Mason at the 2:23 stop swung the lead back to Triton, 41-40, but McIntosh’s triple from the left wing swapped the lead for the final time, 43-41, with 2:10 remaining.
A driving bucket from Triton junior guard/ forward Shana Anderson knotted the game at 43-all with 1:42 on the clock, but a big one and one from Campbell five seconds later gave OD a 45-43 lead, a slick pass on the baseline from Averone created a Collings layup to stretch the lead to 47-43, and after Hatfield cut into that advantage with a one and one of her own with 48 seconds left, Campbell converted on the front end of a bonus situation with 15.3 ticks on the clock to push the margin to its final, giving the Bobcats a long-awaited reprisal victory over the Trojans after Triton unseated the four-peat Sectional 51 champions in the title game at last year’s tournament Feb. 12.
“Obviously, it probably was on their mind, but the thing is we have to worry about what we do,” said Minix of the reprisal.
“Triton, I think they wanted the game more than we did, quite honestly... They played hard. Hat’s off to (Triton head coach) Adam (Heckaman); they did a heck of a job. They were prepared. They shot the ball — in three times this year, I think that’s the best I’ve ever seen them shoot. But I think we bring that out in people. I don’t know why, but we’ve seen them three times, and I haven’t seen them shoot like that. It was a good game between two good 1A teams.”
Wednesday’s game between the ranked Class A sectional rivals may well have been a preview of the the Girls Bi-County championship Jan. 21, as OD hosts New Prairie Jan. 17 with the winner moving on to face the winner of Argos-Bremen Jan. 19 in the top bracket, and Triton hosts Culver in its opener Jan. 17 with the winner of that quarterfinal advancing to play the winner of John Glenn-LaVille in the other semifinal at LaVille Jan. 19.
“I was talking on the way over with one of the other coaches, and this is a big game for us now,” said Heckaman. “The past couple years we’ve been working toward this being a big game, and last year we got to the point where it was a big game because we were able to compete with them and able to beat them. This is a pretty big rivalry now for us. Our kids come, and they’re ready to play against them. They’re ready to play against us. We could play them up to possibly three times in a year, and there’s pretty much something always on the line when we play them. And when you have two teams with kids that want to go hard at each other, it’s pretty fun to watch and pretty fun to coach. The kids played hard, both sides, and it made it a fun one for fans to watch and a fun one to coach. They just got the better of us.”
The Trojans were led by Anderson’s 14 points, while Hatfield put up 12, and Mason finished with 10 in a balanced scoring performance for Triton. Senior forward Megan Howdeshell was limited to just two points and 18:02 of playing time in intermittent foul trouble throughout the night, while Mallorie Jennings also put up two points in 14:48 of floor time filling in, Kaelyn Mason knocked down a second-quarter-opening triple to cut OD’s lead to 10-9, Breanna Lemler put up another two, and Krystal Sellers put in 7:18 on the floor as Triton’s defense held the Bobcats to 15 of 40 from the field and their third lowest offensive output of the season.
“We went man to man on them, but we just worked on really giving them a gap so they couldn’t penetrate,” said Heckaman. “We’ve got some kids that are long enough to give them room and still get a hand up on their outside shot and be able to take that penetration away a little bit better, and that’s what we did. We worked our game plan like we wanted to defensively. We held them down to one of their lowest games of the year. That’s a team that’s going to score some points.”
OD was led by Campbell’s five assists and 16 points, which included six in the fourth all earned at a 6-of-8 clip at the charity stripe, while Averone put up nine points with three steals, McIntosh, Jones and Collings all finished with six, and Schwenk had five.
The Bobcats improve to 11-2 and will resume play at John Glenn next Tuesday with a 7:30 p.m. EST tip-off.
“We’re still struggling at the line, we’re still struggling to rebound the basketball, we’re struggling in the halfcourt set,” said Minix. “Those are the three things that we’ve struggled with all year long, and we’re still struggling with them. Obviously, it’s my job as a coach and the rest of the coaching staff’s to try to get these things done. Maybe we work on too many things instead of just working on one and trying to get better at that. We’re going to try a different way, and hopefully we can change it.”
Triton slips to 8-3 with its third straight loss after an 8-0 start to the season. The Trojans also resume play at Glenn in a Northern State Conference showdown Friday at 8 p.m.
“We competed; we came out and played hard through the whole game. We gave ourselves a chance,” said Heckaman. “The big difference was down the stretch they stepped up and made a couple plays and we weren’t able to do that. That’s a credit to their team. They’ve been in some pretty tight games against some good teams this year, and they’ve learned. They stepped up and made the plays that they needed to and hit the free throws down the stretch to ice it away.”
At Hamlet
Score by quarters
Triton: 6 19 31 45
OD: 10 23 37 48
TRITON (45): Kaelyn Mason 1 0-0 3, Taylor Hatfield 2 7-8 12, Breanna Lemler 1 0-0 2, Krystal Sellers 0 0-0 0, Kylie Mason 4 0-0 10, Mallorie Jennings 1 0-0 2, Shana Anderson 6 1-1 14, Megan Howdeshell 1 0-0 2; Totals: 16 8-9 45.
OD (48): Katie Schwenk 1 2-4 5, Ashley Campbell 4 8-11 16, Alicia McIntosh 2 0-0 6, Jesse Averone 4 0-1 9, Kendra Sauer 0 0-0 0, Haley Collings 2 2-2 6, Lincy Jones 2 2-4 6; Totals: 15 14-22 48.
3-point goals: Triton 5 (Ky. Mason 2, Ka. Mason, Hatfield, Anderson), OD 4 (McIntosh 2, Schwenk Averone); Turnovers: Triton 17, OD 14; Rebounds: Triton 33 (Anderson 11), OD 33 (Collings 9); Assists: Triton 10 (Hatfield 3), OD 9 (Campbell 5); Steals: Triton 4 (Ka. Mason 2), OD 6 (Averone 3); Fouls (fouled out): Triton 16 (none), OD 13 (none).
Records: Triton 8-3, OD 11-2