KNOX – The John Glenn Falcons broke a 24-24 halftime tie with a 20-7 third quarter run to send the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings home for the season in their Class 3A Sectional 18 quarterfinal opening loss 68-55 at Knox’s Harold Weinberg Gymnasium Tuesday night.

The Falcons and the Vikings exchanged leads seven times in the first half and were locked into five draws when John Glenn sixth man Carson Krueger, who contributed 11 points from the bench for the contest, nailed a bucket to open the third quarter, the eighth and final lead change of the evening.

Falcon 6’4” strongman Brycen Hannah added one of numerous inside buckets during his outing to push John Glenn ahead 28-24. Valley’s Tayde Kiser, who led all scorers in the contest with 25 points, drained the first of his three 3-point shots for the night.

The Falcons kicked into high gear confounding Valley’s ball-handlers forcing turnovers and converting them to layups on the fly and inside buckets in a 16-4 run to enter the final stanza with a 44-31 lead.

Hannah added six more points in the third frame eventually leading three other double-figure scorers with 21 points. Falcons’ guards Noah Dreibelbeis (14 points), and Chase Miller (11 points) along with Krueger’s aforementioned 11 tallies accounted for 57 of John Glenn’s 68 total points.

“Outstanding game plan,” Tippecanoe Valley head coach Joe Luce said about the Falcons. “They played us physically and made it hard for us to score. They deserve to win. I hope nothing but all the best in the world for that classy (John Glenn) coach (Travis Hannah) and that classy outfit.”

The game plan Luce mentioned put the Falcons ahead 14-4 with 2:03 in the first punctuated by Krueger’s first three-point bucket of the night. Viking 6’6” freshman Stephen Akase and Kiser closed the margin to 14-8, each hitting a pair of free throws as the first frame drew to a close.

John Glenn was a different team from the squad who lost to Valley 55-42 December 10. Running their Northern Indiana Conference gauntlet that included state ranked Mishawaka Marian and Penn prepared them for the post-season rigors.

Kiser led the Vikings’ feisty 16-10 second quarter with 8 points and two assists. 6’6” junior Kyler Johnson added three points and 3-point sharpshooter Riley Shepherd added a bucket beyond the arc to aid the Vikings’ early comeback.

John Glenn, who committed six fouls in the first quarter, was, ironically, the team who spent most of the game’s final four minutes at the free throw line when the Vikings, in an effort to climb out from a 52-37 deficit with 4:49 left in the fourth period, began fouling Falcons to stop the clock.

John Glenn scored 14 of its final 16 points from the charity stripe in a quarter where each team lit up the scoreboard with 24 points. John Glenn’s win advances them to a Friday quarterfinal nightcap versus the 2-20 Bremen Lions, who landed the bye and semifinal berth courtesy of the IHSAA’s traditional blind draw.

The Vikings, who finished 18-6 and clinched the Three Rivers Conference regular season title in a competitive tussle at the top of the ladder, had additional scoring from Shepherd (9 points), senior Noah Cumberland (8 points), Akase (5 points), Johnson (3 points), and seniors Cooper Walls (3 points), and Dylan Neese (2 points).

The prep basketball career efforts among Tippecanoe Valley seniors Cumberland, Kiser, Neese, and Walls were greatly appreciated by the Viking faithful. They’ll be greatly missed.