BOURBON – Triton boys basketball head coach Jason Groves needed just three words to describe his team’s win over Rochester Tuesday: ugly, ugly, ugly.
The numbers certainly bear him out.
Despite a possession-oriented tempo the two squads combined to commit 38 turnovers — many of the unforced variety — and both missed critical fourth-quarter free tosses and struggled on the defensive glass.
Even so, the Class A No. 3 Trojans overcame 23 points from Rochester’s Evan Hoff and a 9:20 second-half scoreless drought to take the lead for good on Griffyn Carpenter’s bucket with 40 seconds left in the game and held on for a 35-32 victory at The Trojan Trench.
“It’s nice to get the win, but we didn’t play our best, and I’m sure (Rochester) coach (Rob) Malchow would say his team didn’t play its best,” Groves said. “It was an ugly, ugly, ugly game. We told the kids that to be in that type of game and still get the win is big.”
With Triton trailing 32-31 with less than a minute to play, sophomore Quentyn Carpenter dumped the ball into the lane where older brother Griffyn Carpenter, with his back to the basket, used his right hand to get to the rack for a 33-32 Trojans lead.
Following a Rochester timeout, the Zebras located Cameron Screeton in the right corner for a wide-open 3-point attempt that skipped long into the grasp of Triton senior Jordan Everett for his sixth carom.
“(Screeton) was in a place to make plays,” Malchow said. “The shot I love. I have no issues with that.”
Everett sank a pair of crucial free throws, ending a streak of three straight Triton misses at the line — all front ends of bonus situations — to put the Trojans up 35-32 with 6.3 seconds to play.
“Jordan Everett is playing so much better as of late,” Groves said. “He’s a senior, and I think he knows his time is short. To see him hit free throws and get key rebounds, it’s nice to see that out of a senior.”
Hoff’s last-ditch effort banged off the front of the rim, and Griffyn Carpenter grabbed the rebound to end the contest.
“The game looked like two heavyweights kind of taking jabs with no one able to deliver the knockout blow,” Malchow said. “Both teams played good defense and made life miserable for each other. Both teams had way too many turnovers and missed too many free throws. If this game was supposed to get us both ready for the tournament, then both teams still have a long way to go.”
Griffyn Carpenter paced Triton with 10 points, and Everett added seven points, including a triple followed by a steal and bucket to give the Trojans a 19-7 lead with 3:39 left in the opening half. Also for the Trojans, Blake Lemler pulled in five rebounds, highlighted by two put-backs, and teamed with Austin Davis to hold Rochester’s Collin Harris to four points – nearly nine points below his average.
“(Harris) is just so long that we had to put a bigger guy on him,” Groves said. “Our bigs — Austin Davis and Blake Lemler — did a great job defensively in the post.
“Blake’s just a hard-working kid,” he added. “Opportunities come when you work hard and hustle. He’s in the right spot at the right time because he works so hard; that’s what I like about the kid, he works so hard.”
Hoff drilled five 3-pointers en route to his game-high 23 points. His trio of second-quarter treys against Triton’s extended 1-3-1 zone helped pull the Zebras to within six points, 24-18, at halftime and pull the Trojans out of the zone and into man-to-man for the second half.
“In the middle of the second quarter I thought we were in trouble,” Malchow said. “I credit our kids with being able to solve the 1-3-1 enough to get back in the game at halftime.”
Harris, the only Rochester player other than Hoff to record more than one field goal, ripped down six boards. His rebound basket of his own miss put the Zebras up 30-29 with 3:51 left in the game, their first lead since the first quarter. He also limited Triton sophomore Clay Yeo to five points.
Triton hosts Tippy Valley Friday.
• TRITON 35,
Score by quarters
Rochester: 7 18 23 32
Triton: 7 24 29 35
ROCHESTER (32): Nate Basham 0 0-0 0, Cameron Screeton 1 0-0 3, Michael Hohm 0 0-0 0, Evan Hoff 8 2-2 23, Cahner Thompson 0 0-0 0, Collin Harris 2 0-2 4, Jonathon O’Dell 0 0-0 0, Zac Schoen 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 12 2-4 32.
TRITON (35): Griffyn Carpenter 4 0-0 10, Clay Yeo 2 1-2 5, Zak Shively 0 0-0 0, Quentyn Carpenter 1 0-0 3, Austin Davis 2 2-3 6, Jordan Everett 2 2-2 7, Blake Lemler 2 0-2 4. TOTALS: 13 5-9 35.
3-point goals: Rochester 6 (Hoff 5, Screeton), Triton 4 (G. Carpenter 2, Q. Carpenter, Everett); Turnovers: Rochester 18, Triton 20; Rebounds: Rochester 18 (Harris 6), Triton 23 (Everett 6); Assists: Rochester 7 (Basham 2), Triton 7 (Lemler 2); Steals: Rochester 10 (Screeton, O’Dell 3); Fouls (fouled out): Rochester 17 (none), Triton 12 (none); Records: Rochester 12-5, Triton 15-3.