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Tigers fall just short at regional

Triton Central junior guard Maya Chandler soars towards the basket for two points on Saturday at the Speedway Regional.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Triton Central had a chance to win it at the end of the game. There is not much else you can ask for in the postseason.

With just over five seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter Saturday at Speedway, TC sophomore point guard Taylor Heath did her best to give the Tigers a shot at the regional title. Leaving a running lay up just short on the left side of the basket, Heath and No. 2 Triton Central would fall in a 52-51 loss to No. 4 Winchester.

Heath, after grabbing an inbounds pass at the other end of the court, raced across half court to the basket and nearly knocked in a game-winning shot. The shot, however, bounced on the left side of the rim before falling to the ground.

It was a tough loss for the Tigers, who spent the entire season ranked among the best teams in Class 2A. After a 56-32 loss to the Lady Falcons last season at the regional, TC understandably had the rematch on its mind. Winchester, featuring size, length and shooting ability, made enough plays down the stretch, though, in the one-point, nail-biting win. 

Junior wing Rylie Stephens led the Tigers with 19 points. She finished with three 3-pointers and hit clutch shots in the both halves to keep her team in the game. TC sophomore Tenleigh Phelps added 10 points and junior Maya Chandler had 9. Heath finished with seven points.

Triton Central, which was on a 16-game win streak prior to the loss, finished its season with a 23-2 record.

Winchester (25-3), which was led by junior guard Madeline Lawrence with 17 points Saturday afternoon, advances to the Jeffersonville Semistate for a meeting with Evansville Mater Dei (17-10). Oak Hill (23-4) and Central Noble (27-0), two other top four teams in 2A, still remain in the tournament and will meet at the Logansport Semistate.

At Speedway Saturday, the Tigers led 15-7 after the first quarter thanks to four points from Chandler and a 3-pointer from junior shooting guard Grace Crist at the end of the frame. A 13-0 run in the second quarter by Winchester flipped momentum and gave the team a 23-20 lead over TC with two minutes to play in the first half.

Triton Central, despite the slow second quarter, still managed to lead 26-24 at the break. An and-1 by Phelps ended a back-and-forth third quarter with the Falcons holding a 46-44 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, TC was called for a travel with 20 seconds to play. Trailing 52-51, the Tigers fouled on the enuining play to send a WC player to the foul line. Both shots were missed at the line, which allowed Triton Central head coach Bryan Graham to call a timeout.

Heath, on the last play of the game, did what she could with the clock winding down. Graham, after the final horn, walked over to Heath and gave her a high five. 

The effort was there. Sometimes, you just fall short. 

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.

Triton Central vs. Winchester

Speedway Regional

Final Score: Winchester 52, Triton Central 51

Player of Game: TC junior forward Rylie Stephens