Tuesday, November 22, 2022 11:13 PM
It wasn’t pretty at times, especially down the stretch, but the Triton Trojans women’s basketball team held their ground and performed when it mattered most to escape a non-conference game against NorthWood with a 41-40 victory at the Trojan Trench.
While it was another great night for junior Addyson Viers, it was other players such as Jocelynn Faulkner (seven points, five assists) and Jenna Bules (eight points, six rebounds) who made the big plays in the streak. who led the Trojans to a win that extended their winning streak to three and their record to 5-1.
“I’m really proud of the girls who played tonight because without them it could have gotten really bad,” Triton head coach Kennedy Krull said. “I think they did a good job of holding on to the lead at the end, but to be honest we managed.”
The defense dominated early on as both teams dove into their trick bags in the early stages of the game. Triton stuck to an area that kept Addyson Viers tied to fellow center Claire Payne, while also having guards Kinsey Atkins and Faulkner playing some sort of free safety role at the top of the key. NorthWood threw a full-court press after his first shot of the night and kept it after every field goal for the team. Once the Trojans entered the half court, two and sometimes even three Panther players would invade Viers in the paint for an attempted denial.
Despite the early trickery, Triton would start strong, scoring the game’s first five points on a Viers and Atkins layup three. NorthWood would get back to it quickly, scoring the next five points to tie the game. The points would start coming in as a bonus towards the end of the first quarter, which the Trojans won by a score of 9-6.
Early fouls would appear in the second period. The Panthers’ heavy offense focused on getting the ball in the paint and getting it to the net no matter what. Often the result of the game was a foul and Triton accumulated eight in the first nine minutes of the game. Using good free throws and a timely offense, NorthWood took their first lead of the night at 12-9. The home team would respond in a big way. Triton would go on a 9-0 run fueled by the offensive rebound of Viers, who always found ways to get noticed despite double and triple teams. Despite the good effort, Viers would be forced to miss the last two minutes of halftime with three faults. Others would step in for him as the Trojans did a pretty good job of bouncing the ball and limiting the Panthers to one shot per possession. The race would put the Trojans back on top, where they would stay at halftime.
“We focused on rebounding the whole game with how Claire Payne can jump and get there. For the most part, we did a really good job,” Krull said.
A strong start to the third quarter would push Triton’s lead to double digits as the team entered the second half on a 10-0 run. The lead grew to 15 as the visitors struggled to knock anything down. NorthWood was shut out for the first six minutes of the third and things seemed to go the Trojans trend as both teams prepared for the final eight minutes.
“We did a great job the last two games after coming out of halftime with fire,” Krull said. “We know how to pass it to people who can score and if they’re not open the girls know when it’s their turn to go to work.”
The script flipped in the fourth quarter. With Triton at fault and playing conservatively, NorthWood was able to take advantage. The pressure from the inside team continued, forcing Viers to commit a foul with four minutes remaining. Viers finished his night with 10 points and 14 rebounds. With the opposing center offside, Payne began to take over. Dominating the other players on the field, Payne grabbed two or three offensive rebounds if needed to land a shot in the basket. NorthWood’s second finished with 21 points and 21 rebounds.
With the lead quickly evaporating and the team’s best two-way player out for the remainder of the competition, it was time for the other Triton players to step in. Field goals weren’t there for the Trojans, but the team was able to hold on to their lead by making free throws, including three big ones from Kinsey Atkins, and playing solid defense. In perhaps the most important play of the match, Faulkner would tie Payne to the post and force a ball jump with 10 seconds left, handing the ball and the game to the home side.
Triton takes on Trinity on the road Saturday morning.
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