BOURBON — With Clay Yeo out with a concussion, the Triton Trojans were able to come up with a strong defensive effort to defeat the Elkhart Christian Academy Eagles 44-37 Thursday at the Trojan Trench.
Triton coach Jason Groves knew that their defense would be what would keep the Trojans in this game.
“We knew that if we were going to win this game, we were going to have to stick them defensively,” he said. “This team, everybody forgets, is 5-1. They are averaging 68.7 points per game. We knew we were going to have to pick it up defensively. We held them to a considerable amount below their average. I was proud of our defense.”
It wasn’t always pretty as neither team was able to get much going on the offensive end.
ECA led 13-9 after one behind junior Ryan Kupferschmid’s 3-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc. The Trojans weren’t able to get anything going in the second quarter and were trailing 17-9 with about three minutes left, but then were able to close out the quarter on a 6-2 run to pull within four at the half, 19-15.
“Offensively we were stagnant in the first half,” said Groves. “In the second half I kind of got on the kids and asked who was capable of doing things, and I think they woke up in the second half. They came out and kind of got their confidence. They looked much better at executing things and doing what we do. It was nice to see them kind of grind out that win.”
Triton got things going in the third quarter with junior Tanner Shepherd hitting 3 of his 4 3-pointers on the night in the quarter. The Trojans were able to take a one-point lead into the fourth, 28-27.
It was back and forth for most of the fourth.
Shepherd tied the game at 34 with a couple of big free throws with only 3:14 remaining. With not much going on offense for either side, Triton sophomore Joey Corder hit a couple of free throws with 37 seconds remaining to put the Trojans up 39-35. ECA hit a couple freebies of its own to close the gap, but Triton junior Cody Shively closed out the game with four free throws and a big steal to seal the victory.
“We had some kids knock down some free throws,” Groves said. “In the first half, even our free throws I don’t think were very good from the line. We came out and hit some big ones. Some young kids did, kids that aren’t used to being in that situation. So that was nice to see them knock down those free throws. It was critical. I talked to them in the walkthrough this morning. It could come down to free throws. You have to concentrate when you guys get up there because points could be scarce tonight.”
ECA slips to 5-2. Triton is now 6-3 and will host John Glenn on Saturday at 8 p.m.
• TRITON 44,
ELKHART CHRISTIAN 37
Score by Quarters
Triton: 9 15 28 44
ECA: 13 19 27 37
TRITON (44): Tanner Shepherd 18, Cody Shively 10, Joey Corder 8, Skyler Reichert 3, Darren Harrell 2, Seth Glingle 2, Drew Mosson 1, Trenton Cooper 0; Totals: 12 15-22 44
ECA (37): Ryan Kupferschmid 19, Tanner Watson 5, Tyler Vanarsdale 5, Kenny Bearss 4, Jack Walters 4, Michael Craft 0, Jude Allen 0; Totals: 15 3-10 37
3-pointers: Triton 5 (Shepherd 4), ECA 4 (Kupferschmid 3); Rebounds: Triton 37 (Glingle 12, Shively 6, Corder 6, Harrell 4), ECA 26 (Bearss 6, Kupferschmid 5, Vanarsdale 4); Turnovers: Triton 13 ECA 9; Assists: Triton 6 (Corder 2, Harrell 2), ECA 9 (Bearss 6); Steals: Triton 5, ECA 8 (Bearss 6); Fouls (fouled out): ECA 17 (none), Triton 10 (none).
Records: Triton 6-3, ECA 5-2
JV score: ECA 36 (Drew Overmyer 10), Triton 25 (Jordan Anderson 11)