LAKEVILLE — Triton is firing on all cylinders, and the Trojans have plenty of cylinders to fire with.
Class A, No. 3-ranked Triton continued its hot streak Saturday, working the ball inside-out, outside-in and every which way to keep Culver defenders off-balance while connecting at a 62.2 percent rate from the field en route to a convincing 65-54 win over the Cavs and a repeat Bi-County Basketball Tournament championship at Dale E. Cox Gymnasium.
Triton opened up with 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point land in the first half — Jordan Everett and Quentyn Carpenter each drilled two in the first two quarters, while Griffyn Carpenter and Clay Yeo both converted from deep as well — then worked out of the post and off the dribble in the second half to polish Culver off and earn the team’s second Bi-County title in two years after a long hiatus from the tourney.
Griffyn Carpenter continued to show his offensive versatility, scoring from in close with crafty footwork and impressive touch on his way a team-high 23 points and the tournament MVP, while prodigious sophomore Yeo finished with 15, Everett put up 10, and seven Trojans found their way into the scoring column.
“With the way Griffyn has been playing inside we knew they were going to key on him,” said Triton head coach Jason Groves. “He’s been getting a lot of his points in the paint and posting up so we knew they were going to kind of suck down and take that away, so we kind of challenged Jordan Everett and Quentyn Carpenter to step up and hit some shots and they were able to do that. When our kids are playing well they will find the open man and it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we’re scoring baskets as a team. They’re unselfish; they’ll do that, and it was great to see them working as a team like that.”
Carpenter’s steal and traditional three-point play at the 4:05 mark of the opening stanza gave the Trojans their first lead of the night, and his one and one with just 2.3 seconds remaining in the first half gave Triton a double-digit lead at the break.
The sturdy 6-1 senior was nearly unstoppable as he scored out of the post, on the turnaround, with the fade and with either hand, and his 23 points Saturday capped off an 86-point, three-game Bi-County run.
“It was the right timing,” said Carpenter. “I really think our team and I hit our stride coming into this tournament so I think it was a groove type of thing.”
“They’re well-coached, a disciplined ball club. They’re willing to make that extra pass, to be patient enough to get the shot that they wanted, and obviously with the leadership of Griffyn Carpenter and the things that he’s able to do,” said Culver boss Kyle Elliott. “Not just on the perimeter. His game has just changed so much being able to hit the 3 and really as an excellent post player — he’s one of the better post players in our area. He’s just a very intelligent kid and stays under control and uses his body very well inside, so he just poses a lot of problems. Then obviously with Clay’s ability — he can hit that perimeter shot, but he’s a very nice ball handler and can get himself to the bucket if the block moves. Tough matchup problems, but that’s what basketball is; it’s a game of matchups and we just don’t match up real well with this Triton ball club.”
Culver’s Zoe Bauer also put in an MVP-worthy performance of his own with a game-high 24 to bring his own Bi-County point total to 79.
It was an admirable effort by the Cavs after suffering a 30-point defeat at Triton just over a week before Saturday’s championship.
“I’m very proud of our kids’ effort,” Elliott said. “We had a lopsided loss there with Triton just a couple weeks prior to this tournament. We weren’t playing real solid basketball at that particular point, but I thought the whole tournament was a positive for our ball club. We beat a very good Bremen team there on their home floor. Their record doesn’t show it, but it’s a hard-nosed team and to go on the road and advance was huge, then last evening to beat a strong John Glenn team to earn the right to play in the championship was huge. But then to come out tonight with a Triton team that has that tradition, and our kids didn’t back down.”
Culver slips to 8-4, while Triton improves to 11-3.
The Trojans return to Northern State Conference play Friday at Jimtown, and Culver hosts Oregon-Davis Wednesday.
• TRITON 65, CULVER 54
At Boys Bi-County Championship at Lakeville
Score by quarters
Culver: 13 25 37 54
Triton: 15 36 50 65
CULVER (54): Collin Stevens 3 0-0 8, Zoe Bauer 8 5-5 24, Trent Elliott 1 0-0 2, Micah Budzinski 2 4-6 8, Larry Clingler 2 2-3 6, Patrick McBee 3 0-1 6, Scotty Brown 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19 11-15 54.
TRITON (65): Griffyn Carpenter 9 4-5 23, Clay Yeo 6 3-3 16, Quentyn Carpenter 3 0-0 8, Austin Davis 1 1-2 3, Jordan Everett 3 2-2 10, Blake Lemler 1 1-3 3, Marc Lindsey 0 2-2 2, Dane Kennedy 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23 13-17 65
3-point goals: Culver 5 (Bauer 3, Stevens 2), Triton 6 (Q. Carpenter, Everett 2, G. Carpenter, Yeo) Turnovers: Culver 5, Triton 5; Rebounds: Culver 19 (Clingler 5), Triton 21 (G. Carpenter 6); Total fouls (fouled out): Culver 18 (Elliott), Triton 17; Records: Culver 8-4, Triton 11-3.