Triton, OD set to square off for sectional crown

HAMLET – Defense and timely shooting ruled in Class A Girls Basketball Sectional 51 semifinal action at Oregon-Davis Friday.
No. 9 Triton forced 24 turnovers and Shana Anderson and Taylor Hatfield combined on a 10-of-10 fourth-quarter showing from the charity stripe as the Trojans fended off a stout effort from Culver Community, 48-44 in the opener.
In the nightcap, second-ranked OD scored 17 first-quarter points off 12 Argos turnovers and junior guard Ashley Campbell erupted for a game-high 27 points en route to a 75-42 victory over the Dragons.
Triton and reigning sectional champion OD face off tonight at 7 p.m. EST in the championship game at The Den.
Trailing 21-16 at halftime, the Trojans picked up the defensive intensity, forcing eight third-frame turnovers and holding the Cavs to a 1-of-11 mark from the field during the same span.
Anderson, who posted a game-high 18 points and pulled in five rebounds, scored in transition to put Triton up 24-23 with 3:42 left in the third stanza. Sophomore Kylie Mason nailed back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter and gave the Trojans the advantage for good with a jumper in transition at the 2:40 mark of the third frame as part of a 12-point effort.
“It wasn’t a pretty game,” Triton head coach Adam Heckaman said. “We’re weren’t scoring in the first half. At halftime we talked about how we had to let our defense fuel our offense. In the third quarter we were able to get a few turnovers and convert a few of those into points.”
Hatfield chipped in 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 5:02 left in the game to provide the Trojans with a 38-29 advantage, the largest cushion of the night for either team.
And while Culver battled back late behind junior Kayla Shaffer and sophomore point guard Tatum Schultz, the Trojans calmly burned clock and cashed in at the free-throw line.
“We’ve shot free throws well all year, knock on wood,” Heckaman said. “We had the right kids at the line. Shana got hot from the line and the kids did a good job finding her. Taylor always hits her free throws.
“I’m proud of the way we really made good decisions when we got the lead,” he added. “We didn’t rush things, ran clock, and made sure we worked longer possessions. Culver played a great game. We battled and did what it took to survive.”
Shaffer led the Cavs with 17 points and five steals. Schultz racked up 14 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, while sophomore forward Donna Zehner just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
However, Culver tallied just a single field goal – a 3-pointer from Schultz – through the first 14 minutes of the second half, although a 17-of-22 finish from the foul line kept the Cavs within striking distance.
“We kept saying if we hit even half the layups and shots from 3 feet that we missed,” Culver head coach Gina Hierlmeier said. “We got worn down a little bit in the second half. Kayla was sick; Tatum played the whole game, and in the second half we didn’t have a good rotation as far as subbing players in and out. We had some breakdowns defensively in the third quarter.
“This is the best game we’ve played all year in terms of effort for four quarters of basketball,” she added. “It’s not exactly the outcome we wanted, but I’m proud of them for going out with their best game.”
Culver wraps up its first season under Hierlmeier with a 12-10 record, and bids farewell to senior guard Ali Overmyer.
“Ali is a player to look up to,” Hierlmeier said. “This is my first year here and she let me coach her. She gave a lot to this program. In the locker room just now I told the others that they should thank her, but I told Ali that her teammates were giving everything they had for her. She’ll be missed.”
At Hamlet
Score by quarters
Triton: 11 16 31 48
Culver: 11 21 29 44
TRITON (48): Taylor Hatfield 5 4-4 16, Breanna Lemler 1 0-0 2, Krystal Sellers 0 0-0 0, Kylie Mason 4 2-2 12, Mallorie Jennings 0 0-4 0, Shana Anderson 4 8-8 18, Hannah Jennings 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 14-18 48.
CULVER COMMUNITY (44): Shakkira Harris 0 0-0 0, Ali Overmyer 0 0-0 0, Angela Lewellen 0 0-0 0, Tatum Schultz 2 9-10 14, Mickella Hardy 1 1-2 3, Donna Zehner 3 4-6 10, Kayla Shaffer 6 3-4 17. TOTALS: 12 17-22 44
3-point goals: Triton 6 (Hatfield 2, Mason 2, Anderson 2), Culver 3 (Shaffer 2, Schultz); Turnovers: Triton 18, Culver 24; Rebounds: Triton 26 (Hatfield, Anderson 5), Culver 31 (Zehner 9); Assists: Triton 8 (Sellers 4), Culver 8 (Schultz 5); Steals: Triton 10 (Sellers 3), Culver 8 (Shaffer 5); Fouls (fouled out): Triton 16 (none), Culver 16 (none); Records: Triton 17-5, Culver 12-10 (final).
The Lady Cats not only allowed just five field-goal attempts in the first quarter, but Campbell drained a trio of treys against Argos’ 3-2 zone in the first four minutes as OD rolled to an early 21-4 advantage.
Campbell finished 5 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc and also dished out four assists.
“Ashley kind of set the tone with her shooting,” OD head coach Terry Minix said. “When she’s on she’s as good as anybody. We were able to spread that zone and that opened things up for some inside looks. Argos didn’t want to man us so we needed to have kids knock down shots from outside to make them spread out that zone. Fortunately Ashley was on tonight.”
Junior guard Alicia McIntosh chipped in 16 points and fueled the Cats’ stifling defense with six steals.
“I thought Alicia McIntosh played really well both offensively and defensively,” Minix said. “She’s at the front of our run-and-jump defense, whether it’s zone or man-to-man and she dictates the defense. She tells them where they need to go.”
Defensively, OD pestered Argos to the tune of 27 turnovers through the first three frames.
“We prepared for the press to the best of our ability, but we struggled to handle that pressure defense,” Argos head coach Gary Teel said. “Their pressure defense forced us to do two things – play faster than we wanted to play, and forced us into turnovers. The turnovers cost us too many baskets.”
OD freshman guard Lexi Minix worked through foul trouble and a couple of injuries to score 11 points, while junior guard Jessica Avarone struggled from the field and foul line but pulled down a game-leading 12 rebounds and handed out seven assists.
“It was an extremely physical game,” the OD skipper said. “You have to expect that against a team with seniors who don’t want this to be their last game. Lexi bumped her head a couple times, but for the most part I think we came out healthy.
“It was a good team effort,” he added. “We had some foul trouble; Taylor Kranenburg came in. Kendra Sauer gave us extra minutes and did a great job for us.”
For the Dragons, Karlee Van Der Weele, Kayla Prochno, Libby Moyer, and freshman Val Rospopo scored eight points apiece. Van Der Weele also secured nine caroms.
“Our kids never gave up at any time,” Teel said. “I’m proud of them for hanging in there and fighting to the very end.”
Argos finishes up 11-11 and will return everyone but Van Der Weele and Prochno.
“Karlee and Kayla have meant so much to this team,” Teel said. “They’ve led us in a lot of statistical categories – points, rebounds, steals, assists. Their leadership of the younger kids has been fantastic. I’m proud of them; they made my first season at Argos very special. I’m looking forward to next season, but I’m going to miss those two kids.”
At Hamlet
Score by quarters
OD: 28 44 61 75
Argos: 11 20 30 42
OD (75): Taylor Kranenburg 1 1-4 3, Ashley Campbell 9 4-4 27, Alicia McIntosh 4 6-8 16, Riley Trott 0 0-0 0, Jessica Avarone 2 2-6 6, Kendra Sauer 2 0-0 4, Zoe Seese 0 0-0 0, Lexi Minix 5 0-1 11, Ashley Clark 1 0-2 2, Katie Marsh 0 0-0 0, Haley Collings 3 0-0 6, Lincy Jones 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 27 13-25 75.
ARGOS (42): Shacoda Leed 0 0-0 0, Valerie Rospopo 2 3-4 8, Mariah Lineberry 0 1-2 1, Karlee Van Der Weele 3 1-3 8, Hannah Harrell 0 0-0 0, Shelby Sanders 1 0-0 3, Kelsey Kring 1 0-0 2, Courtney DeMont 0 0-0 0, Amanda Middleton 2 0-1 4, Libby Moyer 3 2-3 8, Kayla Prochno 4 0-3 8, Jenni Fishburn 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 7-16 42.
3-point goals: OD 8 (Campbell 5, McIntosh 2, Minix), Argos 3 (Rospopo, Van Der Weele, Sanders); Turnovers: OD 10, Argos 29; Rebounds: OD 35 (Avarone 12), Argos 34 (Van Der Weele 9); Assists: OD 16 (Avarone 9), Argos 6; Steals: OD 12 (McIntosh 6), Argos 5; Fouls (fouled out): OD 18 (none), Argos 19 (Moyer); Records: Argos 11-11 (final), OD 20-3.