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Triton Central building around quicker lineup to handle tougher schedule this season

If the 2023 season is going to be the last for head coach Bryan Graham, the veteran coach is not saying.

Now in his 15th year with the Tigers, Graham is 19 wins from career win No. 300. It would be a nice round mark to go out on but Graham is not envisioning a 19-win season. There could be several more wins on tap for an athletic Triton Central squad.

In addition to the win total, Graham’s daughter, Lizzie, is a senior and is committed to play college basketball at Indiana University South Bend.

Graham also serves as Triton Central’s athletic director. At some point in time he has to slow down, right?

“I’m not looking at it from my perspective,” said Graham of the 300-win milestone. “If I do get it then it means we won 19 games.”

The Tigers finished 19-5 last season after a run of five-straight seasons with more than 20 wins. Graduation pushed the versatile Olivia Faust (13.3 points, six rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.6 steals) on to Marian University.

Maia Harris (3.3 points, 4.1 rebounds) was the only other senior on the 2022 roster.

Starting guard Maddy Brown (9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists) opted not to play her senior season opening up a third spot in the rotation.

Graham will likely utilize a four-guard lineup much of the season with Lizzie Graham (12.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, team-high 50 made 3-pointers) being joined by seniors Jenna Cox and Hallie Schweitzer and freshman Maryrose Felling.

“It’s a pretty experienced group with Hallie, Lizzie and Jenna back,” said Bryan Graham. “Riley Ross has just as much varsity experience.”

Graham will turn to junior Brooklyn Bailey (8.2 points, 6.3 rebounds) as the starting center with Ross, a senior, one of the first players off the bench along with junior Kennedy Brown.

“Kennedy has been playing amazing,” said Graham.

Juniors Hailey Harris and Lucy Spall will round out the varsity rotation early in the season.

With Lizzie Graham’s college commitment complete, her father expects to see a more relaxed version of his team’s top shooter.

“She has more varsity experience than anyone,” said coach Graham. “We need a lot of her on-court and off-court leadership. She is already helping the younger girls out.

“She looks relaxed and relieved. She wants to finish off her LTB (Lady Tigers Basketball) and TC career with a good finale.”

Felling, as a freshman, has the pedigree to go right into the starting rotation. The younger sister of Samantha Felling, who had a successful TC career, is the youngest daughter of a pair of basketball coaches.

“She is a very humble player,” said Graham. “She makes things easy for Lizzie. Those two players are a lot alike. They are two shooters at the wings.”

That will give options to Cox and Schweitzer from the point guard position. And the low post presence of Bailey will open up more looks for the shooters.

“She is so big and strong,” said Graham of Bailey. “And she is lot better shooter than people think. She is a lot better shot faker and driver now. And I expect she will be a double-digit rebounder this season.”

Graham has worked to strengthen Triton Central’s schedule which includes Roncalli Saturday night in the season opener and a road trip to Kokomo on Jan. 12.

The Tigers also have scheduled contests with sectional-rival Eastern Hancock, New Palestine, Covenant Christian, Tri-West and Perry Meridian outside of its Indiana Crossroads Conference commitments.

“We need tested early, especially to get better,” said Graham. “Roncalli should be a good matchup.”

Graham is looking forward to the road trip to Kokomo, who went 15-7 last season.

“It’s another big school with an amazing gym and an amazing atmosphere,” he said.

Triton Central will again host an 8-team holiday tournament in late December that includes Heritage Christian, Salem, Lawrenceburg, Northeastern, Bloomington North, Southport and Jac-Cen-Del.

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