BOURBON — After a mere one-point decision to Triton Saturday, Culver head coach Kyle Elliott expected his players to start with some confidence Tuesday.
Instead, Culver put up just two points in the first quarter as the Class A No. 7 Trojans jumped out to an 8-2 lead at the break. The two teams went back and forth the rest of the night, but Culver was never able to get out in front, and Triton polished off 12 of 17 freebies in the final frame as the Cavs tried to stretch the clock, handing the challengers a 46-33 loss in a boys Bi-County opener at The Trojan Trench.
Triton advances to play John Glenn in the late semifinal Friday at LaVille at 8 p.m.
“I think maybe we had a little nerves; I don’t know why we would. We talked about coming over here, it’s an enjoyable atmosphere, and it’s a chance to get after it,” said Elliott. “Everybody’s picking Triton to win anyway, and the pressure’s on them to win it. We competed well the first time we played them, and I was hoping our team would come in with some confidence, and they should have. Some silly unforced turnovers early on — and some forced turnovers as well, give their defense credit — but they didn’t throw anything at us tonight we weren’t prepared for. We just didn’t execute early on.”
Triton was led by Clay Yeo’s game-high 23 points. The 6-6 junior guard/ forward finished with a double-double of 15 rebounds, while grabbing five steals as the Trojans won their fourth straight.
“He’s our go-to guy,” said Triton head coach Jason Groves. “He can get buckets in so many ways. He can get it off steals, off his defensive pressure, he can get it inside, he can get it outside. Tonight I got on him about getting inside. I wanted him to get inside and be aggressive and get to the free throw line. I thought he did a much better job in that second half. When he’s playing well he’s doing it from everywhere, not just one spot.”
Culver was paced by senior guard Allen Biggers’ 10 points. The 6-1 guard was limited to just 18:11 of playing time in intermittent foul trouble, and was whistled for his fifth infraction with 2:16 left to play.
“Allen has given us some good offense. The problem he runs into is on the defensive end, getting in foul trouble and getting on the bench,” said Elliott. “That hurts us at both ends. When he’s not on the offensive end, it takes away some of our dribble penetration and ability to break down a defense, but then it also puts us in a bind defensively when he’s not on the floor. That’s something he’s got to work on.”
The Trojans are looking for their third straight Bi-County championship after rejoining the tourney in 2009-10 as they play John Glenn Friday at 8 p.m. at LaVille.
“It’s one of our goals; at the beginning of the year we talk about winning conference, winning Bi-County and winning sectional,” said Groves. “It’s definitely something we look forward to. It’s a great history; this tournament’s been around 47 years. It’s a great tournament. We’re very pleased to be a part of it; we’re honored. So our kids enjoy this tournament. It’s special and they want to play hard and win it.”
Culver will play a consolation game with the host Lancers in the consolation gym at LaVille at 8 p.m. Friday.
In the JV tourney, Triton beat Culver 49-29 to advance to play Glenn tonight in the main gym at LaVille at 8 p.m.
• TRITON 46, CULVER 33
At Bourbon (Bi-County 1st round)
Score by quarters
Culver: 2 11 21 33
Triton: 8 16 29 46
CULVER (33): Kyle Vlach 0 0-0 0, Collin Stevens 2 0-0 5, Allen Biggers 3 2-2 10, Trent Elliott 2 2-3 7, Johnny Anderson 2 0-0 4, Jacoda Anderson 3 0-0 6, Tucker Schultz 0 0-0 0, Micah Budzinski 0 1-2 1; Totals: 12 5-7 33.
TRITON (46): Clay Yeo 8 6-7 23, Zak Shively 1 2-2 4, nick Nordmann 0 1-2 1, Jackson Downing 0 0-0 0, Bryson Mosier 2 1-1 5, Tanner Shepherd 1 5-8 7, Seth Glingle 2 0-0 4, Cody Shively 1 0-0 2, Drew Mosson 0 0-0 0; Totals: 15 15-20 46.
3-point goals: Culver 4 (Biggers 2, Stevens, Elliott), Triton 1 (Yeo); Turnovers: Culver 13, Triton 7; Rebounds: Culver 29 (Budzinski 11), Triton 32 (Yeo 15); Steals: Culver 4 (Stevens 2), Triton 5 (Yeo 3); Assists: Culver 8 (Ja. Anderson 2), Triton 9 (Shively 4); Fouls (fouled out): Culver 18 (Biggers), Triton 8 (none).
Records: Triton 9-3, Culver 7-5.