BOURBON — The Triton Trojans defense came to play as they beat the New Prairie Cougars 51-27 in a Northern State Conference boys basketball tilt at the Trojan Trench Friday night.
It was a close game for most of the first half with Triton leading by only two at the end of the first quarter with the score 11-9. Both teams were still trying to figure out how best to stop the others’ offensive attack.
With Triton leading 17-16 and about four minutes left in the second quarter, the Trojans pressure defense really started to lock the Cougars down, only allowing five more points in that quarter. The Trojans led at the break 27-21. Neither team was able to get much going in the third quarter as the score was just 34-24 at the end of the quarter. The fourth quarter was owned by the Trojans who were led by junior Tanner Shepherd who scored 9 of his 13 in the final quarter.
Clay Yeo had his usual good offensive game with 29 points on 12 of 16 shooting, but it was his defensive effort that really fueled this team to hold the Cougars to only six points the entire second half of the game. He finished the game with five blocked shots and two steals.
But as Triton head coach Jason Groves said, it was more than just Yeo’s effort that won this game. “It was a team effort,” Groves said. “I know Clay did a lot for us and he always does, but I thought tonight was a good team effort.”
The Trojans combined for nine blocks and eight steals on the night and only allowed 14 shots to be taken in that second half, 10 of which were from 3. They did not allow the ball to get inside very often.
Groves spoke about his team’s strong effort on the defensive end and why they were able to slow the Cougars down.
“I was really pleased defensively, especially in the second half,” Groves said. “I mean, we held them to six points. That’s what we talked about. We were going to stick to them defensively and get after it. Our defensive effort was just tremendous. Our kids were rotating and were in the right positions. They were helping out each other. They were talking and communicating and that’s what we need.”
Another key component was limiting the fast break opportunities by not committing turnovers. Triton only committed nine turnovers for the entire game and the Cougars were only able to convert that into five points. Groves said that they were able to simplify things in order to handle what they were seeing.
“They did some nice things to try and confuse us a little bit,” Groves said. “They ran some box and one and mixed in a bit of zone and man. I think our kids got a little bit confused. We tried to simplify things for them. Make some nice passes and get some good cuts and get the ball where it needs to be. They did a good job of moving the ball.”
With this dominating performance, Triton improves to 4-3 and 1-0 in the NSC and New Prairie falls to 3-3 and 0-1 in the NSC. Triton’s next game will be Tuesday night when the Trojans host Warsaw at 7:30 p.m. New Prairie will host Hammond Gavit at 8:30 p.m. next Friday.
• TRITON 51, NEW PRAIRIE 27
Score by Quarters
Triton 11 27 34 51
New Prairie 9 21 24 27
TRITON (51): Clay Yeo 29, Tanner Shepherd 13, Joey Corder 4, Darren Harrell 3, Seth Glingle 2, Bryce Wanemacher 0, Trenton Cooper 0, Cody Shively 0, Drew Mosson 0, Dillon Meadway 0, Skyler Reichert 0; Totals: 21 7-11 51
NEW PRAIRIE (27): Jared Monhaut 11, Dylan Cory 5, Derek Scott 5, Jasen Webb 2, Connor Scott 2, Matthew Winter 2, Dylan Kegley 0, Luke Ketterer 0, Ren Crump 0, Chad Swain 0; Totals: 11 0-3 27
3-Pointers: Triton 2 (Harrell, Shepherd) New Prairie 5 (Monhaut 3, Cory, D. Scott); Rebounds: Triton 27 (Yeo 9, Shively 6, Shepherd 5) New Prairie 17 (D. Scott 4, Webb 2, C. Scott 2, Winter 2); Assists: Triton 11 (Corder 3, Glingle 3) New Prairie 7 (Cory 4, Webb 3) Steals: Triton 8 (Corder 2, Yeo 2, Shepherd 2) New Prairie 6 (D. Scott 2) Blocks: Triton 9 (Yeo 5, Glingle 2, Shively 2) New Prairie 0; Fouls (fouled out): Triton 8 (none), New Prairie 13 (none)
Records (NSC): Triton 4-3 (1-0) New Prairie 3-3 (0-1)