BOURBON — That atmosphere was electric at the Trojan Trench Friday night as the Triton Trojans welcomed the two-loss Tippecanoe Valley Vikings to a big showdown on Senior Night.
The Trench was packed and both teams put on a show that will not be easily forgotten in this rivalry. The Trojans played a near perfect complete game, shooting a blistering 56 percent from the field, and they would need every shot they got as they edged out the Vikings, 65-59.
The game was back and forth for most of the first quarter, with both teams trying to figure each other out. Neither team was able to mount any kind of run and Valley would hold a one-point lead at the end of one, 13-12.
The second quarter saw the Vikings get out to a 9-2 run in the first three minutes, which prompted Triton coach Jason Groves to call a quick time out to stop the momentum. Down 22-14, the Trojans came out firing after the time out, with sophomore Skyler Reichert nailing a 3 followed by a steal by Clay Yeo, who took it the length of the court for a dunk. Those two baskets started an 18-5 run for the Trojans, who closed the half with a fade away jumper by junior Tanner Shepherd at the buzzer, staking Triton to a 32-27 lead at the half with both teams shooting over 50 percent from the field and only combining for 10 turnovers.
According to Coach Groves, smart and controlled aggressiveness was key in the game.
“We have to be aggressive, but not try to do too much and still be under control. I thought tonight we finally understood that,” said Groves. “We were aggressive attacking, but if it wasn’t there we weren’t forcing it. Offensively I want to be aggressive, but at the same time you have to be smart. There is no point in being aggressive if you are just going to turn it over.”
The third quarter saw Tanner Shepherd take over, scoring 11 of his 21 in the quarter on 5 of 6 shooting and converting on an old fashioned 3-point play. Triton was able to stretch its lead a little more with the score 51-40 at the end of the third. Valley fought hard to the end, trying to chip away at the lead and was able to cut it down to six with 50.6 seconds remaining in the quarter, but the Vikings weren’t able to overcome the deficit completely as the Trojans hit clutch free throws at the end and boxed out on the defensive end.
Groves said earlier this week, after his team’s win against Rochester, that the Trojans were never able to put together a complete four quarters, but Friday night they were finally able to accomplish that goal.
“That’s one thing I was proud of our kids for, both offensively and defensively — we finally did get our full game. There were stretches at times where we had some lulls, but for the most part, our focus was there for four full quarters,” he said. “We played a really good basketball team and were fortunate to come out on top.”
With the victory Triton improves to 14-5 on the season and will travel to Knox next Friday at 8 p.m. to try and wrap up the conference crown. Tippecanoe Valley falls to 16-3 with the loss.
• TRITON 65,
TIPPECANOE VALLEY 59
Score by Quarters
Triton: 12 32 51 65
Tippy Valley: 13 27 40 59
TRITON (65): Clay Yeo 27, Tanner Shepherd 21, Seth Glingle 10, Skyler Reichert 3, Joey Corder 2, Cody Shively 2, Darren Harrell 0, Bryson Mosier 0, Trenton Cooper 0, Drew Mosson 0; Totals: 28 7-12 65
TIPPY VALLEY (59): Tanner Andrews 15, Alex Thacker 14, Ben Shriver 11, Nick Kindig 9, Jacob Ritchey 7, Chainey Zolman 3, Jarred Littlejohn 0; Totals: 22 12-16 59
3-pointers: Triton 2 (Yeo, Reichert), Tippy Valley 3 (Thacker, Ritchey, Kindig); Rebounds: Triton 30 (Yeo 8, Shepherd 6, Glingle 5, Corder 4), Tippy Valley 20 (Kindig 5, Shriver 4, Thacker 3, Andrews 3); Assists: Triton 12 (Yeo 5, Shively 3), Tippy Valley 9 (Kindig 4, Andrews 2, Ritchey 2); Steals: Triton 4 (Yeo 2, Shepherd, Glingle), Tippy Valley 7 (Andrews 4, Ritchey, Kindig, Shriver); Turnovers: Triton 11, Tippy Valley 9; Fouls (fouled out): Triton 16 (none), Tippy Valley 14 (none).
Records: Triton 14-5 Tippy Valley 16-3