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Triton Central keeps doing the little things right, continues winning ways
February 13, 2013VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By Paul Gable
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
In high school, the faces are constantly changing.
Coaches come and go.
Every four year years, a coach has a new group of talent to deal with.
But in the town of Fairland, in Shelby County, the one constant over the years has been the success of the Triton Central girls’ basketball team.
"We have a nice tradition here. It starts when the girls are in preschool and start coming to camp and games. They want to be a Lady Tiger and it gives them a goal for when they get older," said TCHS coach Bryan Graham, who is 94-20 in five years at the helm.
Last season, the Lady Tigers entered the season having graduated six seniors and with more questions than answers.
All they did was capture a sectional and regional title en route to a 24-2 campaign that ended with a 51-37 loss to Evansville Mater Dei in the Class 2A semistate.
This year, the Lady Tigers, who are ranked fifth in Class 2A, had to deal with the loss of Emily Alfrey and Heather Mink, both of whom graduated.
In addition, the best kept secret in the state of Indiana — point guard Sam Dewey — was no longer a secret, as everyone in the state knew the talents of the sophomore.
"It was tougher this year because we lost two seniors and a lot of leadership," said Graham. "We had some great players who have stepped up this year in Kaitlyn White, Sarah Rogian and Natalie Stephenson. The target is even bigger on us this year, and the attention to detail and the little things has to be there every time we step on the floor."
Consider it mission accomplished thus far, as Triton Central will put a 22-1 record on the line Saturday when they entertain Knightstown in the first round of the Speedway regional. The lone loss of the season came on Dec. 4, as the Lady Tigers fell 68-41 to Class 2A No. 2 Heritage Christian, who will take on Speedway in the first round of the Speedway regional.
All Triton Central has done since then is run off 18 straight wins, while averaging 62.8 points and allowing 31.3.
"I am not surprised with our season. I know how hard the girls work. I am blessed and happy to be in the position I am in with this team," said Graham.
It also helps when you have four players in double figures in Dewey, White, Rogian and Stephenson.
Dewey, the floor general of the team, is starting to generate attention from college coaches for basketball and soccer, as close to 50 schools have expressed interest in the two-sport star.
"We came together this season, and we've been prepared every time out because of the hard work we put into practice. Defenses key on me, but I get my teammates involved and, as a result, we've had the season we've had," said Dewey.
Graham said what sets Dewey, a sophomore, apart is her ability to be a leader.
"Sam is a wonderful young lady that brings a winning attitude and work ethic to the LTB program. She works extremely hard at making her teammates better and providing leadership both on and off the court. I am very proud to coach Sam because she is a great example of what hard work and dedication turns into," said Graham.
Dewey is not the only weapon the Lady Tigers have. Joining her in the backcourt this year has been White, a senior, who has the capability of driving to the basket every time she touches the ball, and Stephenson, who can be a lights out shooter from behind the arc. Factor in the play of Rogian, who is dominant in the paint, and the Lady Tigers have their sets set not only on returning to the semistate, but going further this year.
With that said, however, Triton Central will have to deal with a physical Knightstown team, and should they both advance, a Heritage Christian squad that has had the Lady Tigers' number in the postseason in recent years.
"We'll never overlook Knightstown. It will be a tough game. If we are lucky enough to get past them, and Heritage Christian wins, I would imagine it'll be hot and heavy. If we get there, it'll be a situation where we'll be prepared," Graham said.
In the first meeting with the Lady Eagles this year, Graham did not start Rogian, trying to go small against Heritage Christian. He acknowledged he learned his lesson and will start Rogian to try and force the Lady Eagles to counteract his lineup this time should both teams advance.
"We don't look past anyone, but we'd love to play Heritage Christian again. We weren't physically ready the first time, and now we know what to expect," Dewey said.
Regardless of what happens Saturday, Graham admits it has been another successful season for Triton Central.
"We're doing some good things here. There is a lot to be proud about," Graham said.