WINONA LAKE — Both Triton’s basketball teams struggled with high turnover numbers and low percentage shooting in the second half at the Mid-Winter Classic.
The Lady Trojans coughed up nine turnovers while converting just 5 of 17 shots as Warsaw defeated Triton 41-28 in the girls opener, while the Trojans gave up seven of their 13 total turnovers and were held to 7 of 22 shooting after a 48-percent first half in the second half of their 55-43 loss to the Tigers in the main event at the Grace Orthopaedic Capital Center at Grace College Tuesday.
Following a back-and-forth first half, the Class 2A, No. 2-ranked Trojans claimed a slim 24-21 lead at halftime on a Griffyn Carpenter 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds on the clock. But they surrendered their lead for good when a spurt of turnovers cost them six easy Warsaw points and an 11-2 third-quarter-ending run by the Class 4A, No. 3 Tigers.
“Turnovers are killers,” said Triton head basketball coach Jason Groves. “That’s one thing we talked about. Against these guys our margin for error is very slim, and when you’re giving them extra possessions turning the ball over... you just can’t do that against a good team like Warsaw. They’re going to take advantage of it.”
In the girls game, meanwhile, Warsaw claimed an early 7-2 lead at the quarter break before a 7-2 Triton run highlighted by an Allison Thacker 3-pointer put the Lady Trojans back in the game in the second quarter.
The Tigers finished out the quarter 7-0, however, then stretched their lead steadily in the remaining frames to put Triton away 41-28.
Size was a major factor as the Trojans’ guard-heavy lineup struggled to contain Warsaw bigs, particularly Kayla Stout, who finished with 21 points on a 9-for-16 field effort.
“They have great size, and that’s one thing we really talked about coming into this was we really had to pack our zone in and everybody had to go to the boards,” said Triton head girls basketball coach Adam Heckaman. “Everybody did that pretty well early on, but there’s a point in the game where if you’re not scoring points you’ve got to make a gamble, and we made a gamble and said hey, let’s go try to get some points on offense. It cost us some points. I think we gained a few more points in the end, but it was just too big a gap to make up.”