ARGOS — Triton girls basketball head coach Adam Heckaman expected a game of runs at Argos Tuesday.
The two highly-touted teams proved Heckaman right, with his Class A No. 6 squad delivering the decisive spurt in the second half on its way to a 54-47 win over the Class A No. 10 Dragons at Phil Weybright Gymnasium.
After falling behind 29-26 with 2:51 left in the third quarter, the Trojans boosted the tempo and rattled off seven straight points to end the frame, taking the lead for good with Kylie Mason’s triple in transition off a dish from Taylor Hatfield at the 2:10 mark.
“(Argos) is a very good team,” Heckaman said. “They have a lot of good pieces. I knew it would be a battle of runs. We wanted to play our style of game more than theirs, and I think we did.
“In the third quarter they got a bucket quick and went on a little run,” he added. “We missed a lot of easy shots, but then we started attacking, making the extra pass, and the shots started to fall. I think we wore them down.”
Triton senior guard Shana Anderson scored nine of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter — six of those final-frame tallies off Argos turnovers — as the Trojans twice built 10-point leads in the waning minutes. She also pulled in nine rebounds.
Hatfield, who briefly exited with a right elbow injury in the third quarter, chipped in 15 points, powered by a 13-for-14 showing from the charity stripe, including 8 of 8 in the opening stanza alone.
“We have good jump shooters and a lot of times that translates into decent free-throw shooting,” Heckaman, whose team finished 17 of 20 from the line, said, “Taylor shot 140 free throws last year and hit 80 percent. That’s an easy shot for her; nobody’s guarding her, and you can see that mind-set with the way she attacked in the first half, just taking it at their big girls. I definitely was nervous when she went down, because she never wants to come out of a game. She hyperextended (her elbow) a little. She iced it and it felt better.”
Mason added eight points, while Breanna Lemler and Mallorie Jennings ripped down five rebounds apiece.
Defensively, Triton’s 1-3-1 halfcourt defense and full-court pressure created 21 turnovers leading to 21 points.
“Triton is a quality basketball team,” Argos head coach Gary Teel said. “The 1-3-1 is really good. I thought we handled the full-court pressure pretty well, but then Triton would jump in the passing lane and it was a turnover heading the other direction. We wanted to be patient. We didn’t want to turn it into a racehorse game. Instead of one, two, three passes and shoot, we wanted one, two, three, four, five passes before we shoot. It got away from us in the fourth quarter.”
Senior Karlee Van Der Weele led three Dragons in double figures with 16 points. Senior point guard Jami Patterson shrugged off a rough shooting first half to finish with 14 points; her 3-pointer immediately following Hatfield’s injury gave Argos a 27-26 edge with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
“It was a game with a lot of ebbs and flows,” Teel said. “I really felt good about that run. We had the momentum going our way. Then we had a couple of turnovers in a row that might have led to baskets.
“The matchup was tough,” he added. “They’re basically playing five guards. We have quick players, but they had more overall team speed. We knew we couldn’t just sit back in a zone and let them shoot from the perimeter, not with Anderson and Mason. We had to play man and get out on their guards. We wanted to stop the ball in the paint. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t.”
Also for the Dragons, 5-11 senior center Kayla Prochno notched eight of her 11 points in the concluding stanza and pulled down 11 rebounds, and 5-10 Libby Moyer clutched a game-high 14 rebounds.
Even with a distinct size disadvantage, the Trojans out-rebounded Argos 39-38 and kept the Dragons on the perimeter, where they finished 5 of 22 from 3-point range.
“We’ve got to score off our defense,” Heckaman said. “We have to create turnovers and play uptempo. We want them to forget their strength. We wanted to make them forget they had Prochno inside. We scrapped. We got in there and battled for rebounds and ended up at least even, and maybe even beat them.”
Teel pointed to his team’s rebounding struggles as a key.
“The thing that probably hurt us is we didn’t rebound as well as we should have,” he said. “We have to block out, then pursue. We may have had five people blocking out, but then we didn’t have five people pursuing the basketball, and Triton was able to step in and get the rebound.”
Triton hosts Plymouth Thursday, while Argos welcomes Jimtown Saturday.
• TRITON 54, ARGOS 47
Score by quarter
Triton: 15 26 33 54
Argos: 14 19 29 47
TRITON (54): Allie Kann 0 0-0 0, Taylor Hatfield 1 13-14 15, Breanna Lemler 1 0-0 2, Krystal Sellers 1 1-2 3, Kylie Mason 3 0-0 8, Mallorie Jennings 2 0-0 4, Shana Anderson 8 3-4 20, Hannah Jennings 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 17 17-20 54.
ARGOS (47): Jami Patterson 4 3-4 14, Shacoda Leed 0 0-0 0, Karlee Van Der Weele 6 2-3 16, Shelby Sanders 1 0-0 2, Kelsey Kring 0 0-0 0, Amanda Middleton 0 0-0 0, Libby Moyer 1 2-3 4, Kayla Prochno 4 3-4 11. TOTALS: 16 10-14 47.
3-point goals: Triton 3 (Mason 2, Anderson), Argos 5 (Patterson 3, Van Der Weele 2); Turnovers: Triton 13, Argos 21; Rebounds: Triton 39 (Anderson 9), Argos 38 (Moyer 14); Assists: Triton 9 (Mason 3), Argos 8; Steals: Triton 6 (Hatfield 3), Argos 6 (Patterson 4); Fouls (fouled out): Triton 18 (none), Argos 15 (none); Records: Triton 2-0, Argos 1-1.