By Justin Whitaker
LIZTON — Saturday was a special night for two Tri-West Bruins.
One continued to embrace his new role with success and the second celebrated his 18th birthday.
Sophomore Trevor Waite scored a game-high 22 points and junior Austin Lynn, the birthday boy, added 20 points off the bench to lead the Bruins to a 67-44 over South Putnam. Defensively, the Bruins (6-6) limited the Eagles to 28 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers. Tri-West mixed up its full court and half court defense to keep South Putnam (5-7) off balance.
“One of our strengths as a team is we are extremely deep,” Tri-West coach Adam Bontreger said. “We have a lot of guys we can throw in. We’ve really been working as a coaching staff of developing some roles for our players. With South Putnam coming into our place we really wanted to set the tone with our pressure and, really, our guys got after it with a lot of effort.”
Offensively, Tri-West shot 45 percent from the field and turned the ball over only nine times.
Waite paced the Bruins on both ends of the floor. He played tough defense, rebounded, got to the foul line, and scored as well.
The Tri-West coaching staff decided against Speedway last Friday to play Waite off the ball more and have him not handle the point guard duties. That change resulted in a career-high 30 points in a 74-52 win over Speedway and 22 points in Saturday’s victory.
“Instead of taking it up and passing it off the top, I’ve been able to drive more off the wings,” Waite said.
Waite has played point guard his entire life but the switch to shooting guard has been a smooth transition through two games.
“He’s the type of player that every coach would like to coach because he always works hard, he always has a good attitude, and when he makes a mistake he tries to do the right thing,” he said. “I’m real proud of him for tonight’s effort and last night’s as well.”
Lynn provided a jumpstart off the bench for the Bruins as he scored 12 points on 5 of 5 shooting in the first half.
“Really excited for Austin Lynn, he’s had a couple really big games for us this year,” Bontreger said. “One of the things we’ve talked about with him is when he gets in, he’s a scorer. I want him to be basically looking to score the ball.”
He scored six straight Tri-West points between the first and second quarters to take an early 18-11 lead. The junior then added a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 10 at 25-15, the Bruins’ largest lead of the first half.
In the fourth quarter, he added eight points on four consecutive makes. He missed his final shot of the game.
For the night, Lynn shot 8-for-10 from the field and 3-for-6 from the charity stripe for his 20 points.
“It was a great experience to play like this on my birthday,” Lynn said. Tri-West led 28-21 at halftime but stretched the lead out in the third quarter. South Putnam turned the ball over nine times in the quarter,
as many as the Bruins did in the entire game, and made 2 of 10 field goals.
The free throw line was advantageous for Tri-West in the second half as they made 17 of 23 free throws.
The Bruins next host Sagamore Conference and county rival Danville at 8 p.m. this Friday. Tri-West will be looking for redemption after the teams met in the Hendricks County Tournament and the
Warriors won 58-49.