Trojans reclaim regional supremacy

BOURBON — Triton standouts Griffyn Carpenter and Clay Yeo looked like a couple of racehorses just itching to charge out of the Class A Triton Regional gate.
However, saddled with two fouls apiece by the 2:52 mark of the first frame, the high-scoring duo sat the rest of the first half while starters Austin Davis, Jordan Everett and Quentyn Carpenter and reserves Blake Lemler and Zak Shively slowed the pace and steadied the reins.
In the second half, Griffyn Carpenter returned to score 18 of his game-high 23 points, and Yeo added nine of his 11 points in the fourth stanza as No. 2 Triton knocked off eighth-ranked Morgan Township 55-47 in the boys basketball regional championship Saturday at The Trojan Trench.
“I would have loved to be out there playing, but you can’t foul,” 6-foot-1 senior guard Griffyn Carpenter, who led Triton to its 17th straight win, said. “The bench was my punishment, but the other five guys did a great job the whole second quarter. They played with confidence, and that gave us even more confidence for the second half. I love these guys.”
Triton, which racked up its third regional crown in the past four seasons, plays Rockville Saturday at the Lafayette Jefferson Semistate.
“These seniors have worked so hard — they’ve won three regionals in four years which is incredible,” Triton head coach Jason Groves said. “I thank them for all the effort they’ve put into our program. I’m proud to be their coach.
“The other kids responded really well (to Triton’s foul trouble),” Groves, whose team trailed 22-21 at halftime, added. “We had 37 points a game on the bench, and the other kids came out and did a great job. Austin did a great job of finishing and muscling inside. I told them at halftime that I feel really good about the position we’re in.”
For the game, Griffyn Carpenter hit 7 of 8 from the field — 3 of 3 from 3-point land — including a mid-range jumper on the first possession of the second half to put the Trojans up for good, 23-22.
“We talked to Griffyn at halftime,” Groves said. “We wanted to get the ball inside, but Griffyn was posting up too long. I told him to go ahead and pop outside and shoot some 3s.”
And after Brandon Murphy’s conventional 3-point play pulled the Cherokees to within a point, 42-41, with 2:28 left in the game, Griffyn Carpenter rattled home a kind-bounce triple from well beyond the top of the key off a kickout from Davis to push the lead back to four points.
“I was pretty far out there,” Griffyn Carpenter said. “I’m just glad it went in because otherwise my butt would have been on the bench.
“This was my last go-round, and I wanted to go out the right way,” he added. “I’ve spent so much time in this gym; it’s my favorite place to be other than my home, and really, it is my home.”
Meanwhile, Yeo tacked on the punctuation mark in the final minute. The 6-5 sophomore outran Morgan Township’s full-court defense, caught an inbound baseball pass from Griffyn Carpenter and took it to the rack for an authoritative dunk to put the Trojans up 49-41 with 49 seconds to play.
“We knew they were going to press,” Yeo said. “That’s a play we worked on in practice this week, and coach Groves called it. I knew Griffyn was going to get me the ball, and I was going to get (a dunk).”
That jam pretty well clinched the win for Triton.
“That sealed the deal,” Davis said. “It defined the moment.”
And while the Trojans’ two headliners dominated the second half, the supporting cast set the stage in the first half. The 6-6 senior Davis scored eight of his 10 points in the first half, keyed by a bucket off a backdoor lob from Shively to keep Triton within a point at halftime. Davis also ripped down a game-high seven rebounds for Triton, which out-boarded Morgan Township 28-11, 14-4 on the offensive glass.
“Our coach told us if we wanted to beat (Morgan Township) that we’ve got to get the ball inside,” Davis said. “Then when Griffyn and Clay got in foul trouble I knew someone had to step up, and it had to be me. I just tried to get position on my man inside and take it up with confidence.”
Lemler also contributed key minutes in the post and picked up the defensive slack for Yeo on Morgan Township star Brandon Grubl as the Trojans rotated between a 1-3-1 halfcourt trap and man.
“Blake came in and did a really nice job,” Groves said. “That’s been one of the keys to our success. We have kids like Blake Lemler, Zak Shively, Dane Kennedy and Marc Lindsey who may not get a lot of playing time, but when their number’s called, they’re ready. They all work hard and accept their roles. That’s hard to find these days.”
Grubl scored 13 of his team-high 22 points in the first half but managed just a free throw in the third quarter as Triton jumped ahead. He also recorded five assists, and Murphy chipped in 14 points.
Triton bolted out to a 16-5 first-quarter lead, and despite a shaky second stanza, led wire to wire in a 60-42 regional semifinal win over Pioneer Saturday afternoon at The Trojan Trench.
“Pioneer is a solid basketball team,” Triton head coach Jason Groves said. “We told our kids that they’re not going to do anything fancy, but they’re patient, good movement, and they’re well coached. Our kids came ready to play.
“Then they were switching defenses and we struggled in the second quarter,” he added. “We talked at halftime about what type of movement we needed. We talked about better cuts, better ball movement.”
Griffyn Carpenter piled up a game-high 24 points, nine boards, four assists and three steals to lead the Trojans. His old-fashioned 3-point play off of a rebound basket put Triton up 46-38 with 5:49 left in the game and effectively clinched the victory.
At Bourbon
Score by quarters
Morgan: 13 22 31 47
Triton: 15 21 35 55
MORGAN (47): Jordan Grubl 0 0-0 0, Garrett Heinold 0 0-0 0, Adam Rettinger 0 0-0 0, Jaron Coleman 3 0-0 6, Brandon Grubl 8 2-3 22, Brandon Murphy 6 2-2 14, Ryan Klikus 2 0-0 5, Jacob Kemp 0 0-0 0, Cody Martin 0 0-0 0, Kyle Clark 0 0-0 0, Will Weideman 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19 4-5 47.
TRITON (55): Griffyn Carpenter 7 6-8 23, Clay Yeo 4 3-3 11, Zak Shively 0 0-1 0, Dane Kennedy 0 0-0 0, Marc Lindsey 0 0-0 0, Quentyn Carpenter 0 2-2 2, Austin Davis 5 0-1 10, Jordan Everett 2 0-0 6, Drew Mosson 0 0-0 0, Seth Glingle 0 0-0 0, Blake Lemler 1 1-2 3, Cody Shively 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19 12-17 55.
3-point goals: Morgan 5 (B. Grubl 4, Klikus), Triton 5 (G. Carpenter 3, Everett 2); Turnovers: Morgan 8, Triton 11; Rebounds: Morgan 11 (Coleman, B. Grubl 4), Triton 28 (Davis 7); Assists: Morgan 10 (B. Grubl 5), Triton 11 (Q. Carpenter 3); Steals: Morgan 4 (Coleman 2), Triton 2 (Everett 2); Fouls (fouled out): Morgan 18 (Murphy), Triton 10 (none); Records: Morgan 20-5 (final), Triton 22-3.
Score by quarters
Pioneer: 10 19 34 42
Triton: 18 24 41 60
PIONEER (42): Mitchell Williams 1 0-0 2, Brandon Scruggs 4 3-4 15, Damon Coe 0 0-0 0, Braxton Mehrley 0 0-0 0, Michael Hobbs 0 0-0 0, Ethan Groff 1 2-2 4, Matt Dorris 5 1-3 11, Stephen Whitlock 0 0-0 0, Tyler Miller 3 1-1 8, Nathan Grigsby 0 0-0 0, Dillon Stanton 0 1-2 1, Clayton Harvey 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 14 9-14 42.
TRITON (60): Griffyn Carpenter 8 6-6 24, Clay Yeo 6 5-6 18, Zak Shively 1 2-2 5, Dane Kennedy 0 0-0 0, Marc Lindsey 0 0-0 0, Quentyn Carpenter 0 0-1 0, Austin Davis 4 0-3 8, Jordan Everett 1 0-0 2, Drew Mosson 1 0-0 3, Seth Glingle 0 0-0 0, Blake Lemler 0 0-0 0, Cody Shively 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21 13-18 60.
3-point goals: Pioneer 5 (Scruggs 4, Miller), Triton 5 (G. Carpenter 2, Yeo, Z. Shively, Mosson); Turnovers: Pioneer 10, Triton 6; Fouls (fouled out): Pioneer 13 (none), Triton 11 (none); Records: Pioneer 15-10 (final), Triton 21-3.