Tippecanoe Valley senior Corinna Stiles takes the ball up the court during Tippecanoe Valley’s home game against Plymouth Thursday night.
Tippecanoe Valley senior Corinna Stiles takes the ball up the court during Tippecanoe Valley’s home game against Plymouth Thursday night.
The Tippecanoe Valley Lady Vikings began their season with a 3-0 mark before falling 72-36 to Warsaw in early November. The loss began a short two game slide but since then, Tippecanoe Valley has won four straight games, three by double digits. The most recent win came on Thursday night, a 62-36 victory over the visiting Plymouth Lady Pilgrims.

“I thought last year we got off to a really slow start, and in that Northwestern game, I believe that’s one we should have won,” Tippy Valley head coach Chris Kindig said. “We’ve put a huge emphasis the last week and a half on taking care of the basketball, making good passes. There are things we do in practice to make our players more aware of that, and we’re starting to figure it out.”

Though Kindig was honored pregame for reaching 200 wins with the Valley program, his team’s start to the game was one he’ll likely want to forget. Tippecanoe Valley struggled to get anything going offensively to begin the game, with turnovers playing a huge part in the struggle. Whether it was a lane violation, an errant pass or a lack of situational awareness, the Lady Vikings piled up nine turnovers in the opening eight minutes.

“I thought we got off to a great start against Maconaquah last weekend, and I really wanted us to have one tonight,” Kindig said. “But we worked through it and got it going in the second quarter.”

On the other end, Plymouth began the contest with purpose and imposed its will in the early going. The visitors scored the first seven points of the night, all either coming from in the paint or at the charity stripe. The run would come to an end after five straight points from Valley senior Molly Moriarty. Tippecanoe Valley would find some success defensively in the second half of the quarter, allowing the team to stick around and head into the second period down by three.

After not attempting a shot in the opening eight minutes, Tippecanoe Valley star Kaydence Mellott would leave her mark on the second eight. Mellott would open the period by converting an and-one to tie the game at 12 and giving her team the lead on the next possession. While Mellott would carry the scoring burden by putting up 18 points in the period, her teammates would step up in other ways. The home team committed just one turnover in the second quarter and started playing with more aggression as a result. Valley forced the Lady Pilgrims into the double bonus early in the quarter and made the visitors pay, getting to the line easily and converting the freebies.

Plymouth would not go away easily however. The visitors would convert on a plethora of three-point shots to keep the game close. Eventually, the Lady Viking pressure would cause some problems for Plymouth. Tippecanoe Valley would take the first double-digit lead of the game into the halftime locker room.

The Lady Vikings continue to add on to their lead for the entirety of the second half. The defense that had started the game shakily rounded into form, making Tippecanoe Valley a force to be reckoned with. The lead was 15 just three minutes into the third, with Mellott continuing to put the ball into the basket, scoring 10 more points in the third. The Lady Vikings gave up just 13 points in the second half.

“Our pressure was great for two and a half, three quarters,” Kindig said. “I was really happy with how the last three quarters played out for us, it was a big key to the game.”

With the result all but decided with the fourth quarter beginning, both teams spent the period going through the motions. It was a good quarter for junior center Kelsey Cox, who scored all six of her points in the final eight minutes. Fellow junior Macy Peterson capped off a solid evening with her final basket of the night to end her evening with eight points and six rebounds. Mellott would make two free throws in the quarter to finish her night with an even 30 points. Corinna Stiles finished her night with nine points and seven rebounds.

Tippecanoe Valley hosts Wabash Saturday in their second Three Rivers Conference game of the year.

“We’re going to have to play four quarters of quality basketball instead of the two or three we played tonight,” Kindig said. “We’re going to have to play well.”