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  • Val T.

Rodgers scores 16, but Culver falls to Triton in sectional preview


Sports Editor, RTC

Jack Rodgers

CULVER — The first chapter of the Triton vs. Culver boys basketball book was written at John R. Nelson Gymnasium Wednesday.

And it left a cliffhanger ending for the final chapter, which gets written in a Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinal next Wednesday at the Trojan Trench.

Will Culver’s David Hite be healthier for the rematch?  Will Triton’s Jacob Pitney be healthy?

With Hite playing sparingly as he nurses a hip injury and with Pitney out with an ankle injury, Triton pulled out a 41-36 win.

Landon Patrick scored five of his team-high 11 points in the final 1:32, including a 3-pointer that gave Triton a 39-33 lead.

Jack Rodgers led Culver with 16, including seven in the fourth quarter. Adrian Guasp hit three 3-pointers and had nine, all in the second half.

Class 1A, No. 8 Triton improved to 15-6 overall and 6-0 in the Hoosier North. Culver dropped to 9-12 overall and finished 1-6 in the conference.

Triton clinched a share of the Hoosier North title with the win. They can clinch it outright with a home win over Knox Friday. If they lose Friday, they will share the title with LaVille.

Triton had a 40-24 rebounding advantage, and Culver made just two of 10 free throws.

Still, Culver forced 18 turnovers against a ranked team with its zone pressure.

“We were thrilled with our defensive effort,” Culver coach Kyle Evans said. “We scaled back into a three-quarter-court press rather than a full ‘100.’ That helped us recover better. I thought they really got sped up. I thought their guards early got sped up into travels and some throwaways they don’t typically do. It’d be nice to not play them a week before sectional because they’re going to go prepare for this now for the next week. But at the same time, credit our guys. I thought they were unbelievable defensively.”

Culver trailed by as many as 10 in the first half, and they still trailed 33-24 with 6:32 left when Tanner Witt-Hoyo found Dante’ Workman for a layup.

But Culver worked their way back thanks to a Guasp trey from the left corner and a Rodgers driving scoop layup.

Patrick found Tanner Witt-Hoyo for a five-footer in the lane, but Ethan Binion put back an air ball miss, and Rodgers would later score on a driving, spinning layup to cut it to 36-33, and Culver got another stop.

But Hite missed a runner in the lane, and Triton coach Jason Groves would call timeout with 1:56 left.

The possession would end with Patrick nailing a triple from just in front of his team’s bench.

A Patrick missed layup in transition would lead to a Rodgers 3 with 34.2 seconds left and make it 39-36.

Culver had to foul three times to get Triton in the bonus, and Patrick completed the scoring with two free throws with 11.9 seconds left.

While a team might not want to show a particular plan of attack against a team that they drew for the sectional, Triton, in pursuit of a conference title, could not play it vanilla.

“We had to play to win tonight,” Triton coach Jason Groves said. “We want to win the conference championship. That’s important to us, and we put a focus on that, so we had to play to win tonight. Give Culver credit. They’re scrappy, and they played well. It’s tough coming in without much time to prepare. We played Plymouth Saturday night and Bremen last night, so we had one day to prepare for two teams, so our guys were a little out-of-whack at times, but we’ve got to be better, I think – just play with more confidence.”

Culver was coming off back-to-back wins over Tri-Township and Granger Christian. They were playing their seventh game in 14 days.

“We feel a lot better about our draw now,” Evans said. “We competed with them once. I think we were kind of, like, ‘aw crap’ after the draw came out, but I think with this effort tonight, and we were limited. David couldn’t really play much. He’s dealing with a hip injury. Obviously, he’s our second leading scorer and wasn’t able to score any tonight, so the fact that we were able to defend the way we did and overcome that was definitely encouraging.”

Triton scored on the last possession of the first quarter on a tip-in from Caden Large to take an 8-6 lead, and they would open the second quarter on a 9-1 run to go up 17-7.

But Rodgers scored on a hesitation leaner and then banked in a 3-pointer to get the Cavaliers within 17-12 at halftime.

Triton 41, Culver 36

TRITON (41) (15-6, 6-0)

Landon Patrick 3 3-4 11, Dante’ Workman 3 1-2 7, Julian Swanson 1 3-3 6, Gage Riffle 2 0-0 5, Tanner Witt-Hoyo 3 0-1 6, Jayden Overmyer 1 0-0 2, Caden Large 1 0-0 2, Wayne Reichert 0 0-0 0, Isaac Quintana 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 15 7-10 41

CULVER (36) (9-12, 1-6)

David Hite 0 0-0 0, Jack Rodgers 6 1-5 16, Jonas McCuen 0 1-2 1, Adria Guasp 3 0-0 9, Logan Caudill 2 0-2 5, Brady Kindernay 0 0-0 0, Caleb McCuen 1 0-0 3, Ethan Binion 1 0-1 2

TEAM: 13 2-10 36

Three-point field goals:

Triton 4 (Patrick, Swanson, Riffle),

Culver 8 (Rodgers 3, Guasp 3, Caudill, C. McCuen)

Total fouls: Triton 13, Culver 9

Turnovers: Triton 18, Culver 13

Score by quarters

Triton 8 9 14 10 41

Culver 6 6 12 12 36

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