CULVER — For Triton the third time is the charm as they took a sectional title on Saturday with a 59-43 win over Argos.
It was the third straight year the two have dueled for the sectional title. The Dragons took the last two.
The end would shock those who may have left after the opening 12 minutes as the Dragons had their way, especially in the first quarter. A Dragon onslaught after the tip led to a quick time out for the Trojans but a first-quarter ending three by Ashton Oviedo started to turn the tide.
The shot cut the lead to four at the break, but it was a steal and basket by Oviedo to tie and another quick bucket by Tyson Yates gave Triton the lead that Argos would chase furiously in the second half.
A big part was the Trojans learning a lesson from a regular-season loss at Argos.
“We knew we would have to be more physical inside and I thought we were,” said Triton coach Jason Groves. “It wasn’t just the guys on (Dylan) Kindig and (J.J.) Morris, it was everybody else. It was the guards digging in there helping take away the lob over the top.”
“We just got after it defensively and it led to a lot of transition,” he said.
Once they had the lead the Trojans were able to speed up Argos and force some crucial turnovers.
“They have a nice tandem of guards in Oviedo and Yates, we don’t have their quickness and they have a lot of skill,” said Argos Coach Gordon Mosson. “We tried to negate that with our big guys inside. When you get physically beat up inside and nothing is called it kind of negates all that.”
“I knew they were going to spread us out when they got the lead,” said Mosson. “We tried to compete the best we could defensively. I think that we got a little tired chasing them around, and it kind of snowballed. They were better than us tonight that is sure.”
The Dragons were able to keep it a two-possession game but out of the locker room, the Trojans turned up the heat on defense and found John Gardner.
Getting into transition out of a turnover the Trojans found Gardner for three easy buckets to stretch the lead further.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Groves. “They got after it the entire game. I was a little nervous about our legs and our energy but I felt it last night. I felt that we had a lot of energy. I felt that we had a lot of positive energy and it just carried over.”
The Dragons continued to plug away but in spite of getting 21 points in the final quarter, it was just too big a hill to climb.
Michael Richard led the way for Argos hitting 20 points and dishing out four assists. Richard hit for 10 of those points in the final quarter.
The Trojans were led by Yates with 17 points, Gardner had the big night with 15 points and six rebounds and Oviedo had 14 and a great floor game with six assists and five steals.
The Dragons end the year at 18-6. Triton is 19-5 and will host next week’s regional. The Trojans will take on Caston (10-15) winners of the Tri-County sectional in game one scheduled for 10 a.m.
at John R. Nelson Gymnasium, Culver
Triton 9 16 22 43
Argos 5 22 43 59
Argos (43) — M. Richard 8 1-2 20, Morris 2 0-3 4, Nifong 1 0-0 2, Stults 3 0-0 7, Brady 0 0-0 0, Redinger 2 0-0 6, S. Richard 0 0-0 0, Kindig 2 0-0 4, Heiman 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 1-5 43.
Triton (59) — McKinney 1 3-4 5, Oviedo 5 2-2 14, Gardner 7 1-3 15, Co. Shively 1 0-0 3, Johnson 2 0-0 5, Yates 6 5-5 17, K. Westafer 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 11-14 59.
3 Pt. Fg — Argos 6 (Richard 3), Triton 4 (Oviedo 2).
Rebounds — Argos 19 (S. Richard 3), Triton 19 (Gardner 6).
Assists — Argos 7 (M. Richard 4), Triton 14 (Oviedo 6).
Turnovers — Argos 17, Triton 9.
Fouls (Fouled out) — Argos 15, Triton 12.