BOURBON - Sectionals for high school boys basketball are still about a month away, but the two favorites in Class 1A Sectional 50 met at the Trojan Trench and if a postseason meeting goes anything like it did Thursday night, buckle up as Triton escaped with a 47-44 win over Argos.
“It was a good atmosphere, a back-and-forth game and very exciting,” said Triton head coach Jason Groves.
The game was tied after each of the first three quarters and four other times in the fourth period alone, the last at 42-all with 1:45 to play.
Triton spread the floor, used clock, called two timeouts, then finally went to the hole, maybe before they had planned when Tyson Yates found an opening and scored an old-fashioned three-point play with 29.8 seconds remaining.
“We’d knew they’d pressure and had fouls to give so we thought let’s be aggressive,” Groves said of the key sequence. “They got a little confused and he ripped it down the baseline and got a great look. Tyson did a great job down the stretch.”
Sam Manikowski immediately drove the length of the court for the Dragons, got fouled and made both free throws to give Triton a 45-44 lead with 23 seconds left. Argos still had three fouls to give and after the third one, Yates missed the front end of a 1-and-1 giving the Dragons one last chance with 12 ticks left.
Owen Nifong headed down court quickly, got in the lane and was able to get a shot off in heavy traffic. The shot missed, no foul was called and Triton rebounded.
"We had three or four guys walling up (on Nifong), being set, fundamental defense. I thought they did a great job,”added Groves. “When Nifong gets a full head of steam he’s tough to stop. We not only stopped him, we got the rebound.”
Yates connected on two foul shots with :01.1 on the clock for the final two points.
“I was proud of our kids,” concluded Groves. “We were just in that game with North Judson (an overtime loss) and we talked about, ‘We’ve got to do the things to win basketball games - get in front of people, stop penetration, rebound, take care of the ball’ and we did that down the stretch.
“The kids are having fun and that’s what it’s all about. The kids are playing good basketball and I’m happy with that.”
Yates led Triton in scoring with 14. Ashton Oviedo added 10 points (two 3s) and four assists while Heckaman scored eight to go with 10 rebounds. Manikowski led Argos with 17 points (two 3s), eight coming in the last quarter. Freshman JJ Morris was also in double figures for the Dragons with 10 (two 3s).
Both schools play Caston next, with Triton traveling there on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. tip, while Argos hosts the Comets next Tuesday night.
TRITON 47, ARGOS 44
ARGOS: Sam Manikowski 5 5-6 17, JJ Morris 4 0-0 10, Michael Richard 2 0-0 5, Teddy Redinger 0 0-0 0, Caleb Ellis 0 2-2 2, Owen Nifong 2 2-3 6, Dylan Kindig 0 4-6 4, Colin O’Dell 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13 13-17 44.
TRITON: Hunter McIntyre 1 2-3 3, Ashton Oviedo 4 0-0 10, Jared Bules 0 0-0 0, John Gardner 1 0-0 2, Tyson Yates 4 5-6 14, Quentin Amsden 2 0-0 5, Tyler Heckaman 4 0-0 8, Keegan Westafer 0 0-0 0, Bruce Johnson 2 0-0 5. TOTALS: 18 6-8 47.
Score by quarters
Argos 11 23 33 44
Triton 11 23 32 47
3-pointers: Argos 5 (Manikowski 2, Morris 2, Richard), Triton 5 (Oviedo 2, Yates, Amsden, Johnson). Fouls (fouled out): Argos 15 (Richard), Triton 18 (none).
Records: Argos 9-8, Triton 9-6
JV: Triton 46, Argos 32