BOURBON – The Triton Trojans advanced to the Class 1A Sectional 50 final last night with solid defense to counter the Culver Community Cavaliers’ slower-paced half-court offense to win 39-25 in the nightcap of sectional action in the Trojan Trench last night.

Triton (17-7) will engage in a sectional title rematch tonight at 7 p.m. with its Marshall County neighbors to the Southwest, the Argos Dragons (17-5). Argos ended the LaCrosse Tigers’ season 64-28 in last night’s early semifinal contest. The Trojans and Dragons last met 364 days ago at the 2021 Culver sectional title game with Triton hoisting the coveted sectional championship hardware following a 59-43 win.

Despite 19 turnovers, and a slower pace dictated by Culver after the first quarter, Triton played solid defense and took advantage of Culver’s miscues with 18 points off 15 Cavalier turnovers. Trojan head coach Jason Groves commented, instead, on his own team’s ball security issues resulting in a much closer game than 60-34 win over the Cavaliers Jan 14.

“We knew it was going to be a sloppy game, and (Culver head coach Kyle Evans) told me before the game ‘we’re hoping for a sloppy game because if it is, it’s good for us,’ and it was pretty sloppy. We had a few too many turnovers but we did what we had to do, and that’s what counts.”

Triton raced to a 14-5 lead with its brand of outside shooting, ball-hawking defense, and the athleticism required for a strong transition game.

The Cavaliers down-shifted to facilitate an effort to cut a 9-point opening quarter deficit with a patient half-court offense. Culver also benefitted from good ball movement by dishing out five assists among their 6 first half field goals. The Cavaliers moved to within five points, 22-17 at halftime.

Triton was efficient when they had the ball in the first half, hitting eight of 16 field goals including two 3-pointers by Bruce Johnson, who finished with 4 baskets beyond the arc for the night for a game-leading 12-point offensive effort. The Trojans finished the night a bit cooler (38% in the second half) hitting 14 of 32 field goals for the evening.

Triton widened their lead to 34-21 after three quarters with a 3-pointer from Cole McKinney and two more treys from Johnson in the last 40 seconds. Johnson’s second basket from beyond the arc beat the buzzer, punctuating a 9-2 Trojan run.

Culver continued to command the pace in the final period, but Triton maintained command on the scoreboard where it mattered most closing out a low-scoring fourth quarter to clinch their 39-25 win. The Cavaliers, inefficient shooting the basketball although they controlled the clock, hit only 10 of 33 field goal attempts (30%).

Culver, outrebounded by Triton 28-17, was led by Shane Shuman’s 8 points. Mason Herbert and Ethan Keller added 6 points each for the Cavaliers.

Tyson Yates added 12 points for the Trojans, and Cole Shively added 7 points, and grabbed three rebounds for the Trojans, a small-but-athletic squad who will face their most physical opponent of the tournament, an Argos Dragons squad who can score and play with length.

“We gotta be a little stronger with the ball and finish inside a little bit,” Groves remarked about tonight’s sectional title game foe. “They do things very well. They’re physically strong, and their big so we are gonna have our hands full. We gotta secure the ball a little bit to have a good night against them.”

Tip-off is 7 p.m. tonight at the Trojan Trench.