Lady Comets overcome injuries, top Triton to improve to 2-0 in Hoosier North
Frosh guards Scales, Zimpleman combine for 25
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
FULTON –- The Caston girls basketball team is overcoming opponents and adversity.
Take Saturday afternoon’s home Hoosier North game against Triton for example.
Abby Williamson was already out with an ankle injury suffered against Northfield Thursday. And then Maddi Smith lied on the floor in agony with her own ankle injury after Taryn Yates’ buzzer-beating basket at the end of the third quarter. Smith had to watch the fourth quarter from the bench with an ice pack on her ankle.
And then Triton came back from a six-point deficit to tie the game at 33 on Kinsey Atkins’ 3-pointer with 4:37 left.
Open shots were becoming a rarity against Triton’s 2-3 zone.
Caston still found a way to overcome it all.
Isabel Scales scored 15 points, and fellow freshman guard Addison Zimpleman added 10 to lead Caston to a 41-36 win.
Caston improved to 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the Hoosier North.
Abbey Viers scored 10 points for Triton, who fell to 3-4, 1-2. Taren Yates added nine.
Girls basketball historical records are incomplete, but the win was Caston’s first over Triton in at least 20 years. Triton had won at least the last 15 meetings, including the previous five meetings since they became Hoosier North rivals in 2015.
“We don’t talk about it,” Caston coach Josh Douglass said. “After the game, we talk about and say hey, what are we? We’re 8-2. We’re 2-0 in the conference. We want to keep that going. So how do we keep that going? And immediately what we talked about was next week. We’re going to enjoy it, but these girls strive for that next game.”
Senior Layne Oliver’s lone point on senior day came on a free throw with 4:10 to go and put Caston ahead for good at 34-33. It came after Viers was called for her fifth foul.
Then, Zimpleman used her quick hands to step into a passing lane and glide in for a layup. Douglass called timeout to set up a press.
But the next basket came on a Yates pullup banker in the paint to make it 36-35 with 1:53 left.
Bailey Harness was fouled with 1:20 left. She made the first free throw but missed the second, but she hustled down the offensive rebound, and Douglass called another timeout with 1:18 left.
Then Caston played keep-away.
They melted 30 seconds off the clock before Scales hit two free throws with 48 seconds left. That made it a two-possession game.
Triton took 25 seconds off the clock but couldn’t find an open look and called timeout with 22.9 seconds left.
Triton freshman Addyson Viers was fouled on a post entry pass with 22.0 seconds left and split a pair of free throws to make it 39-36.
And then Scales displayed her dribbling skills for another 17 seconds before Emma Hepler fouled her with 5.0 seconds left.
Scales sunk two more free throws to complete the scoring. She scored 12 of her team’s 24 points in the second half.
But it was the variety of heroes that might have been the story, from Harness’ offensive
rebound to Zimpleman’s steals to the two honored seniors: Oliver, who Douglass praised and said had a great game, and post player Jordan Clingler, who scored six second-half points after a scoreless first half.
“I think that’s what makes us a very scary team at times,” Douglass said. “We have girls that can shoot a ball. They just haven’t shown it all the time this year. But defensively, I told them at day one of practice that’s what we’re going to pride ourselves at is on the defensive end, and if you’re playing hard, you’re going to be able to make those plays. And it is. It’s a different girl every time, and that’s what’s great. Because you don’t know what to expect as you’re starting to scout us.”
Defensively, Clingler had to deal with three capable post players in Abbey Viers, Addyson Viers and Lexia Hostrawser.
Clingler is communicating with her teammates on defense constantly, especially against a team with multiple post players like Triton. She is trying to front the post player, but she needs a teammate to come help if they try to lob it over her head.
“A lot,” Clingler said of Douglass’ defensive emphasis. “It’s something that we really didn’t have a great hold of last year, but now I feel like we’ve worked pretty hard on it. I feel like we’ve done pretty good so far. … As long as we talk to each other and let each other know what’s going on, the more aware we are of our surroundings.”
Offensively, she said coaches have worked with her in developing her jump shot out to 15 feet. Clingler often plays the high post when the opponent plays a 2-3 zone defense. The 15-footer is often available, especially if the opponent is trying to deny Scales or Zimpleman.
“I work on it a lot,” Clingler said. “It’s just sometimes I don’t have the confidence to step up and shoot it, but when I have to, I have to.”
Zimpleman and Smith combined for 14 first-half points as Caston led 17-14 at halftime. Hepler tied the game at 21 with a trey with 5:22 left in the third quarter, but Clingler scored in the post and Scales hit a 3 to put Caston back up by five.
Another Scales triple got the lead to 31-25 before Yates scored at the buzzer and Smith was in pain and the Lady Comets had to overcome adversity again.
“He’s got them playing great defense,” Heckaman said of Douglass. “They’re physical. … But the bottom line is that it’s on us. We’ve got to learn to stay more composed in situations like that and understand that you’re not going to get every single call. We’ve got to take care of the ball when that’s happening and execute what we want to do, and we didn't do that in the end.”
The JV game was abbreviated to two quarters.
Caston’s next two games are home games against Class 1A, No. 3 Pioneer Tuesday and undefeated Knox Thursday. Caston, Knox and North Judson are the three remaining unbeatens in conference play.
Pioneer beat Caston 49-32 in the Cass County Invitational on Dec. 2. Pioneer has beaten Caston seven straight times.
Caston 41, Triton 36
TRITON (36) (3-4, 1-2)
Taren Yates 4 0-1 9, Kinsey Atkins 1 0-0 3, Emma Hepler 2 0-0 6, Abbey Viers 4 2-2 10, Lexia Hostrawser 2 0-0 4, Jaelyn Bules 0 0-0 0, Addyson Viers 1 2-3 4
TEAM: 14 4-6 36
CASTON (41) (8-2, 2-0)
Isabel Scales 3 7-10 15, Addison Zimpleman 4 0-0 10, Bailey Harness 0 1-2 1, Maddi Smith 3 1-4 8, Jordan Clingler 3 0-0 6, Layne Oliver 0 1-4 1, Brianna Yarber 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 13 10-20 41
Three-point field goals:
Triton 4 (Hepler 2, Yates, Atkins),
Caston 5 (Scales 2, Zimpleman 2, Smith)
Total fouls: Triton 16, Caston 10
Fouled out: Abbey Viers (TRI), 4:10, fourth
Turnovers: Triton 15, Caston 12
Score by quarters
Triton 12 2 13 9 – 36
Caston 10 7 14 10 – 41