Viking senior Tayde Kiser goes up for one of his many made baskets in Tippecanoe Valley’s 62-50 win over Wabash Thursday. Kiser finished with 38 points, including 17 in the third quarter. Photos by Gary Nieter
Viking senior Tayde Kiser goes up for one of his many made baskets in Tippecanoe Valley’s 62-50 win over Wabash Thursday. Kiser finished with 38 points, including 17 in the third quarter. Photos by Gary Nieter
Tippecanoe Valley senior Tayde Kiser can certainly score in bunches with the best of them.

The guard used a personal 9-0 run in the second quarter as well as a 17-point third quarter on his way to compiling 38 points, willing his team to a 62-50 victory, their ninth straight win, over the visiting Wabash Apaches in the process on Thursday night.

“He is a super talented kid,” Tippy Valley head coach Joe Luce said. “He defers to Nolan [Cumberland] a lot to do the scoring for us because that’s what’s been best for the team. They guarded Nolan really well tonight so Tayde had to take over and he did. I’m really proud of him and so are his teammates.”

Coach Luce made it clear not long into the game that he was displeased with his team’s energy in the game’s opening minutes. After Valley’s opening possession resulted in a turnover as a wide open player was hit in the face by a pass, Luce shouted the simple phrase “Wake up!” When the team gave up a layup on the other end, he would use his first timeout less than a minute and a half into the game.

“I didn’t think we were at our best at all tonight. Something was off,” Luce remarked. “We weren’t focused; we weren’t matching physicality. Some guys didn’t wake up until the second and some of them didn’t wake up at all. We’re going to have to be better as a unit.”

The Vikings would have to wait the first five minutes of the game to get onto the scoreboard, finally scoring their first point of the game when senior Nolan Cumberland split a pair of free throws with 2:54 left in the opening quarter. Cumberland was honored pregame for becoming just the sixth player in Valley history to reach the 1,000-point club last Saturday.

Despite the slow start, Tippy Valley was able to use some tough defense to stay into the game. The Apaches had plenty of opportunities to extend their lead and put the home side into some real trouble, but the Vikings came up with a big defensive stop whenever it looked like the floodgates may open. Once the first shot fell, things started coming a little easier offensively for Valley and the team ended the quarter on a 7-2 run to go into the second period trailing by just two.

Wabash would answer with a 5-0 run to begin the second to separate once again. With things starting to look ugly once again, Kiser would take matters into his own hands. The 6’2” senior would erupt for nine straight points, including a heavily contested three that hit nothing but the bottom of the net to give the Vikings their first lead of the night. The lead would not last long however, as the Apaches would finish the quarter on a high note and send both teams to the locker room with a 20-20 tie at the half.

The third quarter began with pandemonium at Rita Price Simpson Court. Kiser continued his white hot stretch and scored the first seven points of the quarter for his team. On the other end however, Wabash was hanging around by hitting a barrage of three pointers. Not to be outdone, Kiser began letting it fly as well. The senior simply could not miss, hitting shot after shot and sending the crowd into a frenzy after each one. Even with the one-man show taking place on the offensive end, the Apaches were not phased on the other side of the court, continuing to hit shots to stick around.

“We wanted them to dribble first and shoot second and that’s definitely not what happened. We gave them a few too many looks they should have knocked down and they made us pay for it. They’re a good team,” Luce said.

When the dust finally cleared, Kiser had scored 17 points in the third quarter to give him an even 30 heading into the final period of play. The fourth and final quarter wasn’t as exciting as the one previous, with fouls starting to rack up on both sides and the pace of play steadily declining. It didn’t matter for the Vikings however, as Luce’s team simply took care of business for the final eight minutes, going up by double figures multiple times and finishing the game with Kiser at the free throw line and adding to his total.

Some other notable Valley performers included Cumberland (eight points), Kyler Johnson (seven points, 10 rebounds) and Steven Akase (five points, eight rebounds).

3A No. 11 Tippecanoe Valley (14-3, 5-1 Three Rivers Conference) is back in action Saturday against 10-5 Maconaquah. After traveling to North Miami next Friday the Vikings will head to Nappanee next weekend for a date with 3A No. 1 NorthWood.

“We’ve got some stuff to take care of. We’ve got to be more complete,” Luce admitted. “We won the Manchester game last week on Nolan’s back, we won tonight on Tayde’s back. We have to have a better team effort, get some more balance in our scoring. It’s nice for these guys to have these huge games but I’d love to see these guys all put it together at once.”