Defending champs end Triton run at Caston

FULTON — It didn’t take long in Saturday’s Caston regional to see why Fort Wayne Canterbury has won three straight state championships.
Facing upstart Triton, Canterbury scored the game’s first 13 points, led by 34 at halftime and cruised to a 71-36 victory. The Cavs later topped Gary Bowman 69-49 to reach the Class A final four.
Canterbury came in as the state’s second highest scoring team at 72 points per game. Bailey Farley (19 points), Kindell Fincher (18) and Madeline Troxel (12) paced the No. 3 Cavs, who dominated offensively and defensively.
“There’s a reason why they’re the three-time defending state champion and ranked where they are,” Triton coach Adam Heckaman said. “Our girls played hard and didn’t quit. That’s one thing with this group and that these seniors have taught the younger kids, that you don’t quit no matter what.”
Playing in a regional for the eighth consecutive year, Canterbury was accustomed to the stage and used it to its advantage.
“We have some kids that have been in this setting before, and we knew that none of the other three teams really had that sort of experience,” Canterbury coach Scott Kreiger said. “Everybody’s going to be a little tentative early, and if we could come out and turn them over defensively and get some momentum that way, we felt like we could control the game from that point.”
That is exactly how the contest played out.
Triton (13-10) had four turnovers during Canterbury’s 13-0 explosion to start the game. Megan Howdeshell had all but two of Triton’s points in the opening period, as the Trojans found themselves in a 26-8 hole.
“Canterbury brings it, and they bring it the whole game,” Heckaman said. “It’s tough pressure and we struggled with it early on.”
Canterbury forced 12 turnovers in the second quarter, and Triton’s three points in the period came on free throws by Howdeshell and Emily Duff. While Triton shot 4-of-24 in the first half, Canterbury (22-2) made five 3-pointers and went 17-of-30 overall in taking a 45-11 halftime lead.
“Triton was willing to give us those (outside) looks because they wanted to pack it and not let us attack the basket,” Kreiger said. “The 3-point shot was there and the kids thankfully were able to convert today.”
With Duff scoring six points, Triton more than doubled its total in the third quarter but trailed 62-24 entering the fourth. With Canterbury’s backups manning the floor in the final period, Triton outscored the Cavs 12-9.
Howdeshell led Triton with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Duff finished with 12 points. Aundrea Sellers had nine rebounds, with four coming on one possession.
The loss capped a memorable season for Triton. Led by its seniors — Duff, Sellers, Allison Thacker, Hannah Downing, Sarah Stichter and Lindsey Ganshorn — the Trojans won the program’s second sectional title since 2001. Heckaman said Saturday’s loss to one of Indiana’s best teams can’t put a damper on what his squad accomplished.
“I think this was a great season,” Heckaman said. “This group really set the tone and taught the underclassmen what it takes to be a team, to give up the glory for yourself for the team. That’s what they did all year.”
Class A Caston Regional Semifinal
At Fulton
Score by quarters
FW Canterbury: 26 19 17 9 — 71
Triton: 8 3 13 12 — 36
FW CANTERBURY (71): Rebecca Pedro 2 0-0 4, Jordan Fisher 1 0-0 2, Rachel Hoagburg 0 0-0 0, Madeline Troxel 5 2-5 12, Emma Hyndman 1 0-2 2, Kindell Fincher 6 3-4 18, Georgia Lea Williams 1 0-0 2, Bailey Farley 7 2-4 19, Madison Moyle 3 1-4 7, Carly Johnson 0 0-0 0, Katie Haines 2 0-0 5, Julia Hyndman 0 0-0. Totals: 28 8-19 71.
TRITON (36): Hannah Downing 1 0-0 2, Lindsey Ganshorn 0 0-0 0, Emily Duff 2 6-9 10, Sydney Gochenour 0 0-0 0, Sarah Stichter 0 0-0 0, Allison Thacker 1 1-2 4, Aundrea Sellers 1 0-0 2, Shana Anderson 1 4-4 6, Breanna Lemler 0 0-0 0, Megan Howdeshell 5 2-4 12, Taylor Hatfield 0 0-0 0, Mallorie Jennings 0 0-0 0, Blair Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 13-18 36.
3-point goals: Canterbury 7 (Fincher, Farley 3), Triton 1 (Thacker); Rebounds: Canterbury 34 (Fincher 9), Triton 32 (Howdeshell 10); Turnovers: Canterbury 18, Triton 27; Fouls: Canterbury 17, Triton 17; Records: Canterbury (22-2, after final), Triton (13-10).