The girls basketball season didn’t end the way Triton Central head coach Bryan Graham wanted. The fifth-ranked Tigers were eliminated Saturday in the Southmont Regional semifinal by University, 54-50.
Back to the beginning, the season didn’t start the way Coach Graham would have wanted, either. Knowing that leading returning scorer and rebounder Tenleigh Phelps’ serious knee injury would sideline her for the season was a tough one to take.
In-between, it was the TC girls basketball season that fans have come to expect. The Lady Tigers scored their fifth consecutive 20-win season and a fourth straight regional appearance.
Triton Central (20-5) battled with University in a first half rarely separated by more than a two-possession lead. The game was tied at 15 at the end of one quarter. In the second, senior center Bailey Stamper scored eight of her game-high 21 points to send the Tigers to the locker room with a 29-26 advantage.
Graham was proud of how Stamper performed against University center Kelsay DuBois.
Stamper finished her TC career with a near triple-double adding 10 rebounds and 7 blocked shots.
Triton Central had trouble throughout the game defending the dribble drive to the basket. Much of the damage provided by University’s Payton Seay. Seay scored a team-high 20 points by putting the ball on the floor and taking it to the hole.
Turnovers hampered the TC offense. While the Tigers only totaled 13, nine came in the second half.
Senior point guard Taylor Heath scored 13 points to go with five assists and three rebounds.
With the graduation of Maya Chandler, Rylie Stephens and Grace Cryst from last year’s semistate team and the loss of Phelps to injury this was a much different TC team than a year ago. But a bigger re-set is on the way now for the varsity team with the graduation of Heath and Stamper.
University (12-3) defeated South Putnam, 51-43, in the regional championship. South Putnam reached the title game with an overtime victory over Shenandoah.
TC 15 14 13 8 50
Univ 15 11 16 12 54
Stamper 21, Heath 13, Ryle 6, Cox 3, Brown 3, Schweitzer 2, Harris 0
FG 20-48 (42%); 3-pt FG 4-10 (40%); FT 6-9 (67%); Rebounds 24 (Stamper 10);
Assists 9 (Heath 5); Turnovers 13
Seay 20, DuBois 12, Hinds 9, Washington 8, Patterson 5, Sherpherd 5
FG 40%; Rebounds 26; Assists 9; Turnover 9