Tippecanoe Valley sophomore Sidney Wagner runs into some resistance on her way to the basket from Mackenzie Bergman of NorthWood. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Tippecanoe Valley sophomore Sidney Wagner runs into some resistance on her way to the basket from Mackenzie Bergman of NorthWood. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
AKRON – In regards to his team’s 63-48 loss to NorthWood Tuesday night, Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball coach Chris Kindig said it was a matter of picking your poison.

In a nonconference clash of teams that could meet in Class 3A Sectional 21 next month, the NorthWood Lady Panthers used a balanced attack that saw five players score at least nine points.

NorthWood was just too much for the Lady Vikings to handle.

Senior guards Neely Trenshaw and Mackenzie Bergman scored 13 points each, junior frontliners Maddy Payne and Kate Rulli scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, and junior backcourter Karlie Fielstra chipped in with nine.

“They’re a touch matchup for anyone, especially us,” said Kindig, whose team fell to 12-5. “The combination of their post players ... who are really good around the block, and Payne is long and very good, and Rulli is good around the basket, too.

“Then they’ve got three good perimeter shooters with Bergman, Fielstra and Trenshaw. Trenshaw played really well tonight just from the standpoint of handling the ball and doing what she needed to do to get them in their offense.

“In the second half we played them fairly even, but obviously they’re gonna win a lot of games this year.”

The hosts led 3-2 early, but a three-pointer by Fielstra gave NorthWood a 5-3 lead and the Lady Panthers never looked back.

NorthWood led 19-11 after one quarter of play, 37-20 at halftime and 48-32 heading into the final frame.

In what ended up being a 15-point margin, the difference was a 14-0 run the Lady Panthers went on in the second quarter.

NorthWood’s spurt pushed its advantage from 21-13 to 35-13 and allowed the visitors to cruise to the win and improve to 15-4.

“We shared the ball really well, and obviously we shot the ball really well, but I thought we took a lot of great shots,” said NorthWood coach Adam Yoder.

“Defensively, we were doing a nice job of holding Valley to one shot. (Sophie) Bussard’s gonna get her points, there’s no question about that, you’re talking about one of the best players in the area, if not the state. Our philosophy with Sophie, at least this year in this game, was try and defend her as best we could for one shot. If we could take our chances with that one shot and not let her get a second shot, we’ll take everything else that happens. But what a super player she is.

“I thought we did a great job offensively and defensively in the first half. Second half, it was kind of a weird situation. I don’t think anybody was expecting this game to get to that point, and it’s hard in those games. How fast do you play? Do you try and get the lead to 30? Do you try and just protect the lead? I?thought we struggled with that maybe a little in the second half, but I never felt like we lost control of the game by any stretch of the imagination. That’s a credit to our kids, especially the seniors.”

Bussard led Valley with a game-high 24 points, and the Southeast Missouri State University recruit upped her career total to 1,171 points, which is third in program history.

Junior Makenzie Woodcox scored 12 points in the loss, while sophomore Haley Backus chipped in with four points, junior Jillian Walls and sophomore Sidney Wagner tallied three each and junior Emma Craig rounded out the Lady Vikings’ scoring with two points.

The Lady Vikings are in action again Saturday when they host Three Rivers Conference rival Rochester.

Valley has five games remaining, and Kindig said the team would focus on winning at least a share of the TRC.

The Lady Vikings are among four teams that have just one loss in the league standings.


NW    19    18    11    15    –    63

TV    11    9    12    16    –    48

NorthWood – Neely Trenshaw 5 2-3 13, Kendal Miller 0 2-3 2, Alea Minich 1 0-0 2, Karlie Fielstra 3 1-2 9, Mackenzie Bergman 4 2-3 13, Reagan Hartman 0 0-0 0, Bre Wise 1 0-0 2, Maddy Payne 5 2-2 12, Kate Rulli 4 2-3 10. Totals 23 11-16 63.

Valley – Sidney Wagner 1 1-3 3, Emma Craig 0 2-2 2, Jillian Walls 1 0-0 3, Hayley Backus 0 4-4 4, Sophie Bussard 8 3-3 24, Ashley Butler 0 0-0 0, Makenzie Woodcox 4 4-4 12, Karina Young 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 14-16 48.

Three-pointers – NorthWood 6 (Bergman 3, Fielstra 2, Trenshaw), Valley 6 (Bussard 5, Walls); Turnovers – NorthWood 12, Valley 11; Fouls – NorthWood 13, Valley 16; Fouled out – none; Records: NorthWood 15-4, Valley 12-5

JV – NorthWood 33, Valley 16

Valley – Ashley Butler 8, Karina Young 6, Brianna Sheetz 2