Offensive Woes Doom Valley In Title Game Loss To Glenn

March 3, 2024 at 4:05 p.m.
A pair of defenders is no match for Tippecanoe Valley sophomore Stephen Akase as he lays in an easy two. Akase led Tippecanoe Valley with 12 points in the Vikings’ 35-30 loss to John Glenn. Photo by Stephanie Wilmore
A pair of defenders is no match for Tippecanoe Valley sophomore Stephen Akase as he lays in an easy two. Akase led Tippecanoe Valley with 12 points in the Vikings’ 35-30 loss to John Glenn. Photo by Stephanie Wilmore

By CONNOR MCCANN Sports Editor

Playing IHSAA 3A Sectional 18 on their home court, the Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team looked to avenge last season’s postseason loss to John Glenn in the title game on Saturday night. The Vikings started slow, mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, but were unable to come away victorious in a 35-30 loss.
Both offenses struggled to get going out of the gate, with the two teams combining for four turnovers on the first four possessions of the night. The rest of the first quarter wasn’t much kinder to Valley, as the Vikings wouldn’t get their first points of the night until the final minute of the opening period.
Early on, the storyline was the foul trouble that Valley was facing. Riley Shepherd picked up two fouls in the first eight minutes, in a period in which the Vikings committed seven fouls to Glenn’s one. After four minutes of play, no points had been put on the scoreboard.
Glenn would finally get onto the scoreboard four and a half minutes into the game at the free throw line, which would start a trend. With just 40 seconds to go in the opening quarter, the Vikings would finally get onto the scoreboard on a layup by Stephen Akase. Even after a nightmare of a first period, Valley was only down six at 8-2.
Points were still at a premium as the second quarter got going. The Valley defense continued to play hard, forcing more than a few Glenn turnovers as the period wore on. Unfortunately for the hosts, they were not able to convert the steals into points very often, struggling to get anything to fall.
Meanwhile, the Falcons were the beneficiaries of more than a few favorable whistles, and ended up scoring nine of their 15 first-half points at the foul line. Tempers flared briefly after Valley senior Kyler Johnson was thrown to the floor by a Glenn player, with Johnson being called for the foul moments later while getting up. Both Shepherd and Davis Cowan would both pick up three fouls in the first half, and the constant trips to the line allowed the Falcons to extend their lead without having to expend much energy at all.
At halftime, the Vikings were still struggling immensely at the offensive end, only managing seven points at the break. Four of them came from Akase layups, while the other three came from Shepherd at the line. Despite the poor shooting in the first half, the Vikings found themselves down only eight as the third period got set to begin.
It looked as if things might improve at the beginning of the third, as Johnson started the second half strong with a tough layup through contact. But the Falcons would respond in a big way, scoring the next five points to extend their lead to double figures for the first time. The Valley offense was still struggling to get anything going at all with the Glenn defense pressuring them at every turn.
Refereeing continued to be a relevant topic after a few more questionable calls against Valley sent the already raucous crowd into a frenzy. The atmosphere seemed to fire up the Vikings though, as the hosts began to find rhythm on the offensive end for the first time in the game. Shepherd came up big with his first three of the night, followed by a tough putback layup by Akase. However, Glenn was able to continue feasting at the charity stripe, keeping them in front. The Vikings were able to get a big momentum boost to close the quarter as Ian Cooksey beat the buzzer with a long jumper, but Valley was still down eight heading into the fourth.
Akase used another big putback on the first possession of the final period to get it within six. Glenn followed up the basket with a turnover, causing the place to erupt. But once again, the Falcons had an answer, getting a stop and a bucket of their own to get it right back up to eight.
With just under five minutes to play, Valley made a move once again, this time cutting the lead down to just four on a midrange jumper from Shepherd.
Not long after, an inside shot by Cooksey brought the Vikings to within two, the first time since the opening period that the game had a one-possession differential. At the under-two minute mark, the Vikings were down three, still in striking distance. DeOndre Hamilton came up huge for the Vikings during this stretch, wreaking havoc on defense and coming up with a series of crucial steals. But like earlier in the game, Valley was unable to make anything happen on offense following the turnovers.
With just over a minute to go, Glenn found some breathing room once again, and once again it came at the free throw line. Now up five, the Falcons were in prime position to close it out. Blain Sheetz got a very important shot to fall in the waning seconds, but not enough time remained. Glenn was able to finish the game shooting freebies to take home the sectional title.
Akase led Valley with 12 points and eight rebounds. Shepherd finished the game with eight points. Cooksey and Sheetz both ended the night with four.
The Vikings (16-9) will return next season.

Playing IHSAA 3A Sectional 18 on their home court, the Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team looked to avenge last season’s postseason loss to John Glenn in the title game on Saturday night. The Vikings started slow, mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, but were unable to come away victorious in a 35-30 loss.
Both offenses struggled to get going out of the gate, with the two teams combining for four turnovers on the first four possessions of the night. The rest of the first quarter wasn’t much kinder to Valley, as the Vikings wouldn’t get their first points of the night until the final minute of the opening period.
Early on, the storyline was the foul trouble that Valley was facing. Riley Shepherd picked up two fouls in the first eight minutes, in a period in which the Vikings committed seven fouls to Glenn’s one. After four minutes of play, no points had been put on the scoreboard.
Glenn would finally get onto the scoreboard four and a half minutes into the game at the free throw line, which would start a trend. With just 40 seconds to go in the opening quarter, the Vikings would finally get onto the scoreboard on a layup by Stephen Akase. Even after a nightmare of a first period, Valley was only down six at 8-2.
Points were still at a premium as the second quarter got going. The Valley defense continued to play hard, forcing more than a few Glenn turnovers as the period wore on. Unfortunately for the hosts, they were not able to convert the steals into points very often, struggling to get anything to fall.
Meanwhile, the Falcons were the beneficiaries of more than a few favorable whistles, and ended up scoring nine of their 15 first-half points at the foul line. Tempers flared briefly after Valley senior Kyler Johnson was thrown to the floor by a Glenn player, with Johnson being called for the foul moments later while getting up. Both Shepherd and Davis Cowan would both pick up three fouls in the first half, and the constant trips to the line allowed the Falcons to extend their lead without having to expend much energy at all.
At halftime, the Vikings were still struggling immensely at the offensive end, only managing seven points at the break. Four of them came from Akase layups, while the other three came from Shepherd at the line. Despite the poor shooting in the first half, the Vikings found themselves down only eight as the third period got set to begin.
It looked as if things might improve at the beginning of the third, as Johnson started the second half strong with a tough layup through contact. But the Falcons would respond in a big way, scoring the next five points to extend their lead to double figures for the first time. The Valley offense was still struggling to get anything going at all with the Glenn defense pressuring them at every turn.
Refereeing continued to be a relevant topic after a few more questionable calls against Valley sent the already raucous crowd into a frenzy. The atmosphere seemed to fire up the Vikings though, as the hosts began to find rhythm on the offensive end for the first time in the game. Shepherd came up big with his first three of the night, followed by a tough putback layup by Akase. However, Glenn was able to continue feasting at the charity stripe, keeping them in front. The Vikings were able to get a big momentum boost to close the quarter as Ian Cooksey beat the buzzer with a long jumper, but Valley was still down eight heading into the fourth.
Akase used another big putback on the first possession of the final period to get it within six. Glenn followed up the basket with a turnover, causing the place to erupt. But once again, the Falcons had an answer, getting a stop and a bucket of their own to get it right back up to eight.
With just under five minutes to play, Valley made a move once again, this time cutting the lead down to just four on a midrange jumper from Shepherd.
Not long after, an inside shot by Cooksey brought the Vikings to within two, the first time since the opening period that the game had a one-possession differential. At the under-two minute mark, the Vikings were down three, still in striking distance. DeOndre Hamilton came up huge for the Vikings during this stretch, wreaking havoc on defense and coming up with a series of crucial steals. But like earlier in the game, Valley was unable to make anything happen on offense following the turnovers.
With just over a minute to go, Glenn found some breathing room once again, and once again it came at the free throw line. Now up five, the Falcons were in prime position to close it out. Blain Sheetz got a very important shot to fall in the waning seconds, but not enough time remained. Glenn was able to finish the game shooting freebies to take home the sectional title.
Akase led Valley with 12 points and eight rebounds. Shepherd finished the game with eight points. Cooksey and Sheetz both ended the night with four.
The Vikings (16-9) will return next season.

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