BOURBON - After a lot of work just to get back in it, Triton’s boys basketball team ended up having to hang on for dear life before defeating Jimtown, 61-59, at the Trojan Trench Wednesday night.
Anthony Schuh scored 12 of his career-high 22 points during an inspired fourth quarter and also pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Trojans to the non-conference victory that seemed unlikely at the outset.
“It was definitely exciting,” said Triton head coach Jason Groves. “(Schuh) is invaluable to this team. He makes plays. He plays hard. He doesn’t get fazed. He plays without fear. It’s nice to have a player like that. We’re young and we haven’t been in that position. We haven’t had a close game this year, so it was nice to have that situation. I’m proud of our guys.”
Behind back-to-back 3s followed by a steal and subsequent layup to start the game, the Jimmies jumped out to a 9-0 lead and had the home team reeling. If not for Cole Shively, the outcome might have been decided in that first quarter, but the junior scored all nine of Triton’s points to keep the home team within reach at 17-9 heading to the second period.
Shively finally got some scoring support in that second stanza - from five other teammates - and runs of 8-2 and 7-0 brought the Trojans all the way back and even took a three-point lead late in the period. Jimtown scored the next six straight though, before Triton finished with a 5-1 spurt and the game was officially on with the Trojans leading at halftime, 30-29.
Forty seconds into the third quarter, Shively was whistled for his third personal foul, but thanks to a technical foul earlier now had four total and sat for the next seven minutes. Schuh (5 pts), Dante Workman (4) and Evan Briles (4) picked up the offensive slack though, and the score was tied on four different occasions during the period. Briles’ two foul shots with just 1.4 seconds left after an offensive rebound gave Triton the slim 45-43 lead heading to the final frame.
The game was tied for the last time at 55 with just under three minutes to play. Over the next two minutes, Schuh hit a free throw, completed a three-point play, then scored another inside bucket and with 41 seconds remaining, Triton led 61-55. The game was far from over however.
Jimtown’s press caused back-to-back Trojan turnovers and a Bishop Williams 3 plus a foul shot by Jackson Clopton had the Jimmies within two, then a Triton foul sent Jimtown to the line for two shots and :11.2 showing on the clock. Both free throws were short, then after a timeout, Triton turned the ball over with 7.5 seconds left. The Jimmies rushed the ball up court, but a last second shot from just inside the free throw line was challenged and clanked off the glass, setting off the Triton celebration.
Shively finished with 19 points, 15 coming before halftime, and a team-high four assists.
“It hurts when he’s out, but guys stepped up,” said Groves. “I told him to stay mentally focused. It’s hard to sit the bench, then come in at the end and execute. He’s getting other guys involved and that benefits us too.”
Briles joined Schuh in double figures for rebounds with 10. Triton outrebounded the Jimmies, 47-21, including 17-7 on the offensive glass.
“Anthony and Evan have been strong on the boards all year,” added Groves. “They’re physical. I told our kids to play with fundamental aggressiveness - being fundamental, but playing hard. That makes up for a lot of mistakes. That’s what rebounding is, playing hard and getting after it.”
Jimtown had three players in double figures, led by Bishop Williams’ 17. The Jimmies, who had seven 3s compared to only two by Triton, were just 3-of-7 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and missed 12 for the game.
“We didn’t always execute the greatest,” concluded Groves. “It gives us something to work on. Now we saw it, now we have to get better and learn from it. This group will do that because they pay attention and want coaching. They want to learn. Jacob (Pitney) played well. Julian (Swanson) played well. (Evan) Briles and Schuh played really well. I was proud of our effort. It wasn’t pretty all the time, but we found a way to get it done.”
Triton is off now until it hosts Glenn on Jan. 6.
• TRITON 61, JIMTOWN 59
JIMTOWN: Jackson Clopton 2 3-4 9, Taysire Williams 1 2-7 4, Justin Price 2 0-0 4, Dylan Cook 0 0-0 0, Gaege Wachs 4 4-5 12, Bryson Crowder 3 4-8 13, Bishop Williams 7 1-2 17. TOTALS: 19 14-26 59.
TRITON: Dante Workman 1 2-2 4, Julian Swanson 2 0-1 5, Evan Briles 2 2-2 6, Caden Large 1 0-0 2, Cole Shively 7 5-6 19, Wayne Reichert 0 0-0 0, Jacob Pitney 1 0-0 3, Gage Riffle 0 0-0 0, Anthony Schuh 9 4-9 22. TOTALS: 23 13-20 61.
Score by quarters
Jimtown 17 29 43 59
Triton 9 30 45 61
3-pointers: Triton 2 (Swanson, Pitney), Jimtown 7 (Crowder 3, Clopton 2, B. Williams 2). Fouls (fouled out): Triton 22 (Workman), Jimtown 19 (T. Williams). Technical fouls: Triton 1 (Shively)
Records: Triton 5-3, Jimtown 2-6