Triton Cruises To 63-17 Win Over Lakeland Christian

December 5, 2023 at 9:05 p.m.
Sophomore Gage Riffle of Triton lays in two points on a breakaway during Tuesday night's home game against LCA. Photo by Gary Nieter
Sophomore Gage Riffle of Triton lays in two points on a breakaway during Tuesday night's home game against LCA. Photo by Gary Nieter (Gary Nieter)

By Connor McCann

The undefeated Triton boys basketball team and the winless Lakeland Christian side came into Tuesday night’s contest with different goals in mind. One side wanted to keep a streak going, the other trying to desperately end a streak of their own. In the end, it would be the Trojans keeping the zero in the loss column with a 63-17 win at the Trojan Trench.
“It was a team effort for us tonight,” Triton head coach Jason Groves said after the game. “We got a lot from a lot of different guys and that carried us to the finish line.”
The contest’s opening minutes could only be described as exciting, as both sides took turns racing down the court, running their offenses in a hurry in order to catch the opposing defense off guard. Because of this, each team was able to have its share of successes in the early going, with the Cougars taking an early 5-2 lead on a made three by junior Micah Martin.
From that moment on, the rest of the first half belonged to the Trojans. The home side didn’t trail for long, going on an 11-0 run that spanned nearly the entire remainder of the quarter. Everybody was able to get involved during the run, whether it was Tanner Witt-Hoyo getting off to a hot start and beating his defenders in the paint or Dante Workman getting it going on the offensive glass for easy putback chances.
The Cougars were able to stop the bleeding in the final seconds of the first quarter on a great play by Josiah Rice. The junior forward made a nice play to get a steal before going the length of the court himself to lay it up at the buzzer. The shot would make it a 13-7 game and put LCA in striking distance heading into the second.

    Lakeland Christian junior Josiah Rice goes up for a shot during the first quarter as Triton's Jacob Pitney trails the play. Photo by Gary Nieter


The Cougars didn’t know it yet, but that would be the visitors last points of the first half. The second period was one dominated by Triton, as the Trojans scored all 21 points in the eight minute timeframe. The hot hand in this quarter belonged to Gage Riffle, who added onto his made shots in the first with three three-pointers here.
“When we shoot the ball we;; we’re going to be a successful team, and we have plenty of guys that can do that,” Groves said. [Gage and Tanner] kind of got us started and their teammates picked it up from there.”
It wasn’t just the offensive end that the home side was finding success. On defense, Triton was able to suffocate the Cougars with some of the most well-timed double teams and traps a coach can dream of. The lights-out defense led to more turnovers than LCA could survive, as the lead ballooned to nearly 30 at halftime. Leading the charge defensively was senior Jacob Pitney. While the forward didn’t score any points in the first half, he led his team with three steals and four boards.
“We wanted our traps to be solid, fundamental,” Groves said. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t bailing them out with fouls. We did a great job of playing team defense, making great plays and letting teammates come up with steals instead of trying to do much ourselves.”
The status quo didn’t change much in the third quarter, as the Trojans kept it rolling offensively and soon got their lead over 30 points. Midway through the quarter, Rice was finally able to get another layup to fall to end a drought that lasted nearly 12 minutes for LCA. The usual suspects continued to keep it rolling for the home side, with Witt-Hoyo, Riffle and Workman all continuing to hit big shots.
The Triton lead soon grew over 35 points, inducing the running clock. This also led Groves to commit to a platoon swap, allowing some underclassmen to get some ever-valuable varsity minutes. After trailing 5-2 in the game’s opening minutes, the home side entered the fourth quarter on a 45-4 run.
The threes continued to rain down in the fourth quarter, as Pitney and Ben McFarland each got onto the scoreboard courtesy of the long ball. LCA’s Martin, who had been quiet since the first quarter due to foul trouble, got it going as well, hitting two shots from deep to add to his total.
Triton’s Julian Swanson was one of the few starters for both sides still in the game at this point, and he took advantage of his extended run, scoring four of his nine points in the fourth. Even with the game already long decided, the contest had a fun moment at the end when Triton junior Isaiah Vaca entered the game. Every time Vaca touched the ball, the entire arena yelled for him to shoot. When he finally did, he splashed a three and made the crowd erupt.
Riffle led all scorers in the game with 19 points. Witt-Hoyo added 16 points, four rebounds, three steals and a block. Workman ended his night with eight. For LCA, Martin led the charge with eleven points, while Rice scored the remainder of the Cougars’ points with six.
Triton (3-0) begins Hoosier North Athletic Conference play on Friday against Pioneer. Lakeland Christian (0-4) will take on Bluffton on Friday evening.
“They’re a very good team, it’ll be a tough test. Our conference is going to have a lot of good teams in it this year so it’ll be crucial to start off strong with a win,” Groves said.

The undefeated Triton boys basketball team and the winless Lakeland Christian side came into Tuesday night’s contest with different goals in mind. One side wanted to keep a streak going, the other trying to desperately end a streak of their own. In the end, it would be the Trojans keeping the zero in the loss column with a 63-17 win at the Trojan Trench.
“It was a team effort for us tonight,” Triton head coach Jason Groves said after the game. “We got a lot from a lot of different guys and that carried us to the finish line.”
The contest’s opening minutes could only be described as exciting, as both sides took turns racing down the court, running their offenses in a hurry in order to catch the opposing defense off guard. Because of this, each team was able to have its share of successes in the early going, with the Cougars taking an early 5-2 lead on a made three by junior Micah Martin.
From that moment on, the rest of the first half belonged to the Trojans. The home side didn’t trail for long, going on an 11-0 run that spanned nearly the entire remainder of the quarter. Everybody was able to get involved during the run, whether it was Tanner Witt-Hoyo getting off to a hot start and beating his defenders in the paint or Dante Workman getting it going on the offensive glass for easy putback chances.
The Cougars were able to stop the bleeding in the final seconds of the first quarter on a great play by Josiah Rice. The junior forward made a nice play to get a steal before going the length of the court himself to lay it up at the buzzer. The shot would make it a 13-7 game and put LCA in striking distance heading into the second.

    Lakeland Christian junior Josiah Rice goes up for a shot during the first quarter as Triton's Jacob Pitney trails the play. Photo by Gary Nieter


The Cougars didn’t know it yet, but that would be the visitors last points of the first half. The second period was one dominated by Triton, as the Trojans scored all 21 points in the eight minute timeframe. The hot hand in this quarter belonged to Gage Riffle, who added onto his made shots in the first with three three-pointers here.
“When we shoot the ball we;; we’re going to be a successful team, and we have plenty of guys that can do that,” Groves said. [Gage and Tanner] kind of got us started and their teammates picked it up from there.”
It wasn’t just the offensive end that the home side was finding success. On defense, Triton was able to suffocate the Cougars with some of the most well-timed double teams and traps a coach can dream of. The lights-out defense led to more turnovers than LCA could survive, as the lead ballooned to nearly 30 at halftime. Leading the charge defensively was senior Jacob Pitney. While the forward didn’t score any points in the first half, he led his team with three steals and four boards.
“We wanted our traps to be solid, fundamental,” Groves said. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t bailing them out with fouls. We did a great job of playing team defense, making great plays and letting teammates come up with steals instead of trying to do much ourselves.”
The status quo didn’t change much in the third quarter, as the Trojans kept it rolling offensively and soon got their lead over 30 points. Midway through the quarter, Rice was finally able to get another layup to fall to end a drought that lasted nearly 12 minutes for LCA. The usual suspects continued to keep it rolling for the home side, with Witt-Hoyo, Riffle and Workman all continuing to hit big shots.
The Triton lead soon grew over 35 points, inducing the running clock. This also led Groves to commit to a platoon swap, allowing some underclassmen to get some ever-valuable varsity minutes. After trailing 5-2 in the game’s opening minutes, the home side entered the fourth quarter on a 45-4 run.
The threes continued to rain down in the fourth quarter, as Pitney and Ben McFarland each got onto the scoreboard courtesy of the long ball. LCA’s Martin, who had been quiet since the first quarter due to foul trouble, got it going as well, hitting two shots from deep to add to his total.
Triton’s Julian Swanson was one of the few starters for both sides still in the game at this point, and he took advantage of his extended run, scoring four of his nine points in the fourth. Even with the game already long decided, the contest had a fun moment at the end when Triton junior Isaiah Vaca entered the game. Every time Vaca touched the ball, the entire arena yelled for him to shoot. When he finally did, he splashed a three and made the crowd erupt.
Riffle led all scorers in the game with 19 points. Witt-Hoyo added 16 points, four rebounds, three steals and a block. Workman ended his night with eight. For LCA, Martin led the charge with eleven points, while Rice scored the remainder of the Cougars’ points with six.
Triton (3-0) begins Hoosier North Athletic Conference play on Friday against Pioneer. Lakeland Christian (0-4) will take on Bluffton on Friday evening.
“They’re a very good team, it’ll be a tough test. Our conference is going to have a lot of good teams in it this year so it’ll be crucial to start off strong with a win,” Groves said.

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