The Triton girls basketball team has had an up-and-down start to its season, trading wins and losses in its first three games. On Thursday night, the Lady Trojans were unable to continue the trend, dropping their second straight game in a 53-39 loss to Plymouth.
In front of a packed stadium of loud fans, the two sides wasted no time getting into the action, leading to a lightning-quick opening few minutes. Players for both sides zoomed down the court and were able to get anything they wanted in the paint with no defense able to provide any resistance. Midway through the first quarter, only one point separated the two teams, who had already hit three field goals apiece.
Following a timeout by Plymouth, the Pilgrims began to take control of the contest. Two main factors led to a massive, separation-creating run for the home side: rebounding and the press. Plymouth began dominating Triton on the glass, creating a ton of extra opportunities on the offensive end while holding the Lady Trojans to just one shot at most on the other end, if the visitors were able to get that far. The press put on by the Pilgrims was suffocating and created more than a few Triton turnovers in the backcourt, which would be converted into easy buckets for the home team.
Leading by nine going into the second quarter, Plymouth continued to keep its foot on the gas, blitzing the Lady Trojans with a 7-0 run over the course of the first two minutes to push the lead to double figures. Triton would not go away quietly though, as Addyson Viers and her younger sister Avery would begin to get it going in the pain once more, combining for 15 of the team’s 17 first-half points. They would get some help in the form of sophomore guard Sierra Hawley who, despite being one of the smaller players on the court, began getting it going on the offensive glass, creating much-needed extra chances for her team.
Defensively though, it was still a struggle for the Lady Trojans, who were having a hard time keeping the Pilgrims out of the paint. When they were able to do so, the home team was not afraid to knock down a shot from the perimeter. Plymouth led by 14 points going into halftime, leaving Triton in striking distance if the visitors could figure some things out in the second half.
Senior Jenna Bules of Triton maneuvers her way through traffic during Thursday night's game at Plymouth. Photo by Gary Nieter
Instead, the Plymouth defense continued to make life difficult for Triton, as the Trojans scored just two points in the first four minutes of the third on a layup by Jocelynn Faulkner. At the other end, the Lady Trojan defense looked much improved, and although shots continued to drop for the Pilgrims, the home side now had to work much harder to find those open looks.
While Plymouth was indeed working harder for its shots, it didn’t help Triton that the Pilgrims were continuing to make them. The three ball had hurt the visitors all night long in this game, but it was in the third where things got even more dire. It seemed as if every shot the home side took was from deep, and no matter how contested, the ball found its way in the basket. The long-distance barrage allowed Plymouth to extend its lead to 21 points heading into the fourth.
Despite this, the Lady Trojans began the fourth quarter playing perhaps their best ball of the night so far. Playing some tight defense, Triton scored the first six points of the quarter over the first three minutes before the Pilgrims were forced to call time. Faulkner continued to lead the Triton offense from the point guard position, finding open teammates while not being afraid to convert on looks of her own.
Even with Triton not giving up and playing hard until the final buzzer, the team simply lacked enough time to make a serious run at the Plymouth lead. In the end, the home side was able to pick up the buckets it needed and melt the clock away to clinch a victory.
Addyson Viers led Triton in scoring with 18 points to go along with six rebounds and a block. Faulkner finished the night with nine points and four rebounds. Avery Viers added six points, while Hawley scored two but led the team with nine boards.
Triton (1-3) will stay on the road for its next contest, a Saturday night game against Wawasee.