BOURBON — A Bi-County championship and MVP are nice, but those are just the latest kudos for Triton’s Griffyn Carpenter.
The versatile 6-1 senior has been on a hot streak lately, first surpassing the 1,000-point career mark in Triton’s Northern State Conference victory over Culver at home at The Trojan Trench Jan. 15, then eclipsing 2004 grad Todd Blackford’s 1,077-point THS career record in the first quarter of the Class 3A, No. 3 Trojans’ win over LaVille in the boys Bi-County semifinal Friday night. And Carpenter capped off his streak Saturday by leading Triton to a repeat championship victory over Culver, finishing off an outstanding 86-point, three-game tournament run.
But while those personal accomplishments are nice, the team-minded Carpenter said they weren’t top on his priority list.
“It’s definitely a great feeling. There have been a lot of great honors I’ve had during this run,” he said. “There have been a lot of great players that have played at Triton that I’ve been fortunate enough to have passed, but overall I’m just glad that we won. The Bi-County is a very prestigious tournament... I’m just more happy that the team got the win, and the accolades that came with it are just icing on the cake.”
For Triton basketball fans who have watched Carpenter’s latest run, the only thing surprising is the way he’s made it.
Carpenter is a four-year letterwinner with the Trojans, first cutting his varsity teeth during Triton’s 25-2 state championship run in 2007-08. Despite being a freshman, Carpenter put up 200 points that season and established himself as a clutch player with some cool-as-ice moments during the march to Conseco Fieldhouse.
But while he started as a marksman, Carpenter’s offensive game has matured as he’s gone from number four scoring option to number one, and he’s developed a wide array of offensive weapons to keep defenders off balance.
“The thing I like about Griffyn — and I’ve talked about this before — is just his craftiness inside,” said Triton head boys basketball coach Jason Groves.” He’s starting to use shot fakes, be patient, see where the defense is, and counter that maybe with a reverse layup or if they play off of him, maybe knock down the 15-footer, the 10-footer if they’re up tight get around them and shot fake again and get contact and get to the free throw line. I think that’s something that Griffyn has realized he’s pretty good down there, and he can score some points down there. He can still pop out and hit the three... but I think it’s his craftiness inside that he’s realizing that’s something he can really go to, and I think it puts a lot of pressure on the opposing defense. They double down on him, he’s been dishing too and playing unselfishly so other teams can’t decide what to do.”
Carpenter’s offensive versatility didn’t just happen, either. The senior three-sport athlete has put in the work to earn his stats, evaluating himself realistically and working on his strengths while mitigating his weaknesses.
“I played a lot of AAU against a lot of guys who were quicker so I had to be careful with my dribble because they’d obviously take it away from me,” he said. “I worked a lot with Brandon Bradley, he’s our trainer, and he helped me just with using my footwork and using my body because, you know, I’m not the quickest guy. I use my body to shield off different defenders. Adding a post game, a lot more post moves and adding a mid-range game, two things that I didn’t really have my first two years. We worked on that all summer and it’s definitely paid off. I’m glad I did it.”