BOURBON — From Clay Yeo, to Seth Glingle, to the scorekeeper to the massive Triton faithful. As the horn sounded signifying Triton’s 44-41 victory over Fort Wayne Canterbury in the 1-A boys basketball regional semifinal contest at Triton, everyone exhaled a collective sigh of relief.
“The thing I liked is that the kids seemed like they refused to lose down the stretch,” an even-keeled Triton head coach Jason Groves stated. “We talked about the Canterbury team that we feel like they are that way too. They are really gutty and think they are going to win every game and really refused to lose. And I think down the stretch our kids showed that too. It was nice to see them make plays when the needed to.”
The high drama was only heightened after No. 10 Triton missed five consecutive free throws in the final minute of the game. After Canterbury’s Chase Moyle hit his second three-pointer of the game to pin the score at 44-41, the combination of Drew Mosson, Joey Corder and Tanner Shepherd all had their shots at icing the game. But as all five tries clanked off the iron, the Cavaliers stayed alive. The final sequence, which had Trent VanHorn miss his fourteenth shot attempt from deep of the arc, ended when Seth Glingle rebounded the carom and hand the ball to Yeo.
After showing pointed emotion during portions of the fourth, the direct walk to the bench without much fanfare told the tale of survival.
“Our kids are gutty, they do whatever it takes to win,” Groves said. “Hopefully they still have the energy left to get one more. I know this is going to be a tall task. Pioneer are probably the favorite coming into this. So we are going to have to play extremely well to be in the game. Hopefully we can pull some rabbits out of our hats.”
Much as it did in the win against Culver in the sectional semis, Triton had to navigate a bulk of the third quarter with a foul-ridden Yeo on the bench. And again, a host of Trojans stepped forward to chip in.
Skyler Reichert came off the bench to drill a huge three, and Corder zipped the length of the court after a steal to convert a layup to put Triton back up 37-36. Shepherd had a big first half, scoring 12 of his 14 points.
“That’s what this team is all about,” Groves said. “They know that Clay is the main man, but they know their role. When he isn’t doing things, they know they have to step up. Our kids are unselfish, they don’t care who gets the credit. They recognized the situation and saw Clay was in foul trouble, and they all stepped up.”
Yeo again set himself apart in the fourth quarter, scoring Triton’s last five points and coming up with a pair of big blocks. His 17 points were stacked with just a 3-of-10 conversion from the floor, but Yeo hit all 11 of his free throws. Toss in nine rebounds, five assists and six huge blocks and it was another Yeo-man’s effort.
The defensive work Yeo did on VanHorn may have decided the game, holding the Canterbury star to just 11 points on 3-of-17 shooting while committing six turnovers. Moyle finished his night with 16 points.
Fort Wayne Canterbury, which knocked Triton from the regional round last season, conclude its season 15-9.
Triton (18-5) will look to regroup for the regional championship game at 7:30 p.m. tonight against Pioneer (21-3), which were efficient in its 63-49 win over Gary 21st Century (15-8) in the morning’s first game.
Pioneer were led by Carter Skaggs’ 24 points and a huge effort from Brandon Scruggs, who turned in a 19-points, 16-rebound, five-assist semi-final against the Cougars. Louis Brown led Gary with 15 points, five rebounds and four rebounds.