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Tiger girls top Raiders for Sectional 42 crown

Shenandoah’s Erikka Hill (44) gets ready to battle for the opening tip against a Triton Central player to start Saturday night’s championship game of girls basketball Class 2A Sectional 42 at Shenandoah. Unfortunately for the tourney host Raiders, the Tigers jumped out to a 12-2 lead by the end of the first quarter and won the championship with a 60-34 victory.

By DAN HARNEY - For The Courier-Times

MIDDLETOWN—The Shenandoah High School girls basketball team, winners of 20 games this year, saw their season come to an end Saturday night at the hands of Class 2A No. 2 Triton Central 60-34 in the championship game of Class 2A Sectional 42.

The Lady Tigers looked like the state-title contender they are, easily defeating the Raiders on Shenandoah’s home floor.

A large and enthusiastic home crowd did little to fuel the Raiders, who got off to a poor shooting start. The Tigers made them pay. Three Tiger “Bigs” —Bailey Stamper, Rylie Stephens and Tenleigh Phelps — combined to control the boards and score 11 points to propel the Tigers to a 12-2 lead after one period.

Triton Central continued to use a balanced attack in the second quarter. The Lady Raiders, desperate to score, turned to sophomore Erikka Hill. Hill delivered nine second-quarter points, Rachel Soden buried a three-pointer, and Jenna Stewart scored inside, but the Tigers got a three-pointer from Grace Christ, six more points from Phelps, and 10 from lightning-quick guard Maya Chandler to expand their halftime lead to 31-16.

It is difficult to play from behind against a quality team holding a big lead, but the Lady Raiders tried to get back on the game in the third period. Triton Central, however, was able to determine the tempo of play.

The Tigers were content to trade points. Kathryn Perry and Hill combined for 13 third-quarter points for the Lady Raiders, but they were able to slice only one point off their deficit and Shenandoah went to the final period of play trailing 43-29.

Sensing the opportunity to close out the game, Triton Central dialed up its intensity, opening the fourth quarter on a 9-3 run to take its first 20-point lead at 52-32, with 2:47 remaining in the contest, and later expanded it to 58-33 with 56 seconds remaining before clearing the bench.

The Tigers, who won Sectional 42 for the second consecutive year, have not lost since November. Erikka Hill led the Lady Raiders and all game scorers with 20 points. Hill was also the leading rebounder in the game with 15 rebounds.

Triton Central countered with three double figure scorers. Tenleigh Phelps scored 17, Maya Chandler 14 and Rylie Stephens added 13 and pulled down 10 rebounds. With the win, a rematch of last year’s regional final game between Winchester and Triton Central is set for Saturday’s second semifinal game at Speedway.

Shenandoah Head Coach Dameon Wyatt tried to put the loss in perspective.

“I thought we had some good looks early,” Wyatt said. “But our shots did not fall. When you don’t make baskets against a top-ranked team with their talent level, you find yourself in a hole. We could never generate enough offense to get out of that hole. We have struggled to shoot all year. People forget that several of our players are young. They gained experience from this game. Triton Central was the better team tonight, but hopefully the sting of this loss will motivate our kids to work in the offseason to improve.”

Lady Tiger Head Coach Bryan Graham complimented the Lady Raiders.

“I thought the Raiders had a good game plan to try to slow us down.” Graham said. “But when their shots did not fall early we capitalized. We are physical, quick and strong and we were able to get out to a nice lead. I give all the credit to my assistant coaches and my players. We gave them a game plan and they went out and executed it. I am very proud of them. We will celebrate tonight and then go back to work to prepare for Winchester.”

Triton Central 60, Shenandoah 34

TRITON CENTRAL (60)

Chandler 3-7 6-6 14, Heath 0-3 3-4 3, Bass 0-0 0-0 0, Stephens 5-9 3-4 13, Stamper 3-7 0-0 7, Phelps 7-11 3-3 17, Crist 1-1 1-2 4, Mukka 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-40 16-19 60.

SHENANDOAH (34)

Perry 3-13 0-0 7, Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0, Soden 1-6 0-0 3, Johnson 0-0 1-2 1, Fitch 0-0 0-1 0, Shepherd 0-1 0-0 0, Stewart 1-3 0-0 2, Cole 0-1 0-0 0, Muterspaugh 0-5 1-2 1, Zody 0-0 0-2 0, Campbell 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 8-21 4-8 20. Totals 13-57 6-15 34.

Triton Central`12`19`12`17`-60

Shenandoah`2`14`13`5`-34

3-point goals – Triton Central 4 (Chandler 2, Crist, Stamper), Shenandoah 2 (Perry, Soden). Rebounds – Triton Central 29 (Stephens 10), Shenandoah 22 (Hill 15). Totals fouls – Triton Central 15, Shenandoah 14. Turnovers – Triton Central 16, Shenandoah 17. Records – Triton Central 23-1, Shenandoah 20-5.