Local Sports

Triton Central season ends in triple OT sectional semifinal loss to Eastern Hancock

32 minutes wasn’t enough to decide a winner between Eastern Hancock and Triton Central Saturday.


Neither was 36.


Or even 40


It took every bit of 44 minutes in a triple overtime instant classic in the 2A girls basketball sectional semifinal at Heritage Christian.  As Olivia Faust’s half-court heave missed as time expired 12th-ranked Eastern Hancock began to celebrate its marathon win over #7 Triton Central, 66-65.


The Royals will play in Tuesday’s sectional championship against the host school, Heritage Christian, a 59-10 winner over Irvington in the other semifinal.


Triton Central (19-5) has played much of the season without starting point guard Jenna Cox following an ACL injury.  Then, the Tigers ended the regular season and went into postseason play without starting guard Maddy Brown (illness).  The Tigers utilized an outstanding performance by senior Olivia Faust and pieced together contributions by going deeper into the bench than normal. 


Faust scored nine of her game-high 30 points in a high scoring first quarter to stake the Tigers to a five-point lead after the first eight minutes, 20-15.


In the second quarter, the Tigers offense was limited to just two made field goals.  Eastern Hancock junior Grace Stapleton paced the Royals comeback with eight of her team-high 23 in the period.  The game was tied at 29 at the half.


Triton Central’s offense bounced back coming out of the locker room led by Faust.  The TC senior scored 12 points in the third quarter as the Tigers briefly built a double-digit lead.  Stapleton brought the Royals back to within eight, 48-40, with a three-pointer just inside the volleyball line at the third quarter buzzer.


The fourth quarter brought another drought for the Tigers offense.  Propelled by three-pointers by Sammie Bolding and Caroline Stapleton the Royals captured the lead.  Up 56-54, TC’s Hallie Schweitzer grabbed an offensive rebound and threaded a bounce pass to a cutting Faust for what proved to be the tying lay-up at 56-all.  Eastern missed a final three-point shot and the game continued into overtime.


After a scoreless first overtime session, Eastern Hancock held a 60-58 lead when the Tigers Maia Harris was fouled with 17 seconds remaining.  Following an Eastern Hancock timeout, Harris knocked down both free throws for two of her seven points and the game went to a third and deciding overtime, tied at 60.


Eastern Hancock (17-6) looked to be in solid position to advance with seconds to go in the third overtime.  But, up by four after a made free throw, the Royals missed the second free throw and Faust advanced the ball up the floor setting up the final dramatic moments.



Triton Central head coach Bryan Graham said he couldn't have asked for more from his team.



Caroline Stapleton scored 14 points for the Royals with teammate Sammie Bolding adding 12.


Triton Central's Hallie Schweitzer scored nine points.  Lizzie Graham added 7.  Kennedy Brown also had seven coming off the bench.


The win snapped a seven game losing streak in the series for the Royals that dated back to a win over Triton Central in the 2017 sectional championship at Knightstown, 57-50.