The unranked Pumas won their first state title in any sport in just their third year of state tournamenht eligibility and they never played a home game all this season. Coach Nick Reich’s team finished 22-6.
Metropolitan committed four straight turnovers to open the game and needed four minutes to score its first field goal. But a half-court shot at the first-quarter buzzer by Jerrbryon Graves tied the score at 12-all and added to the Pumas’ momentum. A 12-0 run in the third quarter helped them take a lead they would never relinquish.
Triton closed to within two, 52-50, with 1:12 left in the game, but Metropolitan clinched the victory with nine free throws down the stretch.
The Pumas held Triton to 36.7 percent shooting (18-of-49). They also outscored the Trojans 11-0 on fast-break points and 24-10 in the paint. Metropolitan put four players in double-digit scoring, led by Graves with 15. Anthony Jackson collected 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Coach Jason Groves’ Triton team, ranked No. 2 by the Associated Press, finished 23-3. The loss in the state championship game snapped a 17-game winning streak. The Titans won the Class A title in 2008 and finished as runner-up to Jac-Cen-Del in 2009.
Clay Yeo led Triton with 19 points. Griffyn Carpenter had 15 and Jordan Everett added 12.
TRITON’S JORDAN EVERETT NAMED TRESTER AWARD WINNER
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Jordan Everett of Triton High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class A Boys Basketball.
Everett has participated in the Triton basketball program all four years, serves as team captain, has started in all but one game and leads the team in field goal percentage (46%).
He recently was named Academic All-State Honorable Mention and was named to the All-Conference team in the Northern State Conference.
Everett has been involved in the Spanish Club, Science Club, serves as Treasurer for the Key Club, is the historian for the National Honor Society and is a class representative for the Student Council.
He intends to study Engineering at the University of Louisville beginning in the fall.
He is the son of Bryan and Jill Everett of Tippecanoe, Ind. Brother Jacob Everett was also the 2008 winner of the Trester Award.
The award is named after the IHSAA’s first commissioner who served the Association from 1929 to 1944. The award is annually presented to a senior participant in the state finals who best demonstrates mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Triton High School in the name of Everett.
Indianapolis Metropolitan’s Head Coach Nick Reich
“I’m not the perfect coach, but I might have been the perfect coach for this team.”
“It was all heart and fight for us. These kids come every day and overcome adversity. They stuck together as a team and a family and they got it done together”
“Triton has been here before and they have done it [win a state title]. This is our 28th road or neutral court game of the season. This stage, this crowd, the fact Triton made a run didn’t faze us. We stayed together as a team.”
“We’re all about second chances. We didn’t get here without getting second chances. This is my first head coaching job. It’s not about X’s and O’s for us. My job as head coach isn’t going to be finished until all of our seniors go to college.”
“We have been playing really well in the state tournament in the third quarter. We didn’t change anything at halftime. We stayed in our man-to-man defense and continued to attack the basket. Good things happened in the second half for us.”
“Anthony [Jackson] is a rebounding monster. He came up with a couple of huge ones at the end. But it does not surprise me because he has been averaging a double-double the last two years.”
“These kids have sacrificed and overcome adversity to get here. The support we have gotten along the way has been amazing. These players deserve all the credit.”
Triton’s Head Coach Jason Grove
“I definitely think they [Metropolitan] deserved to win today – they played extremely well. Knocked down some shots, did great on the boards, and did a nice job on us defensively. In all aspects of the game they played very well.”
“I was proud of the way our kids battled and competed.”
(On the offensive boards late by Metro) “Those were huge. We talked about it this week that on the free throw end you need to drive these guys back and not just step into the lane. That’s what their athleticism will do. They made some plays using their athleticism. I think that’s what got them over the top against us. Give them credit for making a big play when they needed to.”
“Seems like every time we made a run, they came down and answered offensively. I was impressed with their shooting ability.”
(On the last timeout) “There was no other way to stop the clock. Maybe if they missed both free throws we would only be down two, we could deny the ball get it back and get a shot. It was better than letting the clock run out.”
Senior Jordan Everett on winning Mental Attitude Award
“That’s a very prestigious award. It’s an honor to have your brother win it then follow up in his footsteps – it’s pretty cool.”