Tippecanoe Valley senior Nolan Cumberland drives past Argos’ JJ Morris in Tippecanoe Valley’s Tuesday night game against Argos.
Tippecanoe Valley senior Nolan Cumberland drives past Argos’ JJ Morris in Tippecanoe Valley’s Tuesday night game against Argos.
The Tippecanoe Valley Vikings boys basketball team played in their first home game of the season Tuesday night at Rita Price Simpson Court, facing off against the Argos Dragons. The teams traded blows for a quarter and a half before the home side used a monstrous 29-9 advantage in the third quarter to pull away for a 69-32 victory.

The Vikings are now 2-1 this season.

“It’s really nice to be home,” Tippy Valley head coach Joe Luce said regarding his first home game as coach of the team. “I’ve been really blessed in my coaching career to be around some serious basketball communities, and tonight watching from afar I could tell how much this place cares.”

Once the action got going, it kept going at full steam. The Vikings began the game with a blistering pace that did not let up over the course of the first half. The visitors would score the first two points of the night but Tippecanoe Valley would answer with the next seven. The ball movement was crisp as no one player touched the ball for more than a couple of seconds at a time. Luce’s designed offensive plays worked to perfection as cutters found easy looks at the rim. Every rebound grabbed by the home team, and there were many, was quickly turned into an outlet pass that got the offense going. Senior Nolan Cumberland did a little bit of everything, finishing his first quarter with a made shot, an assist, a rebound, a block and a steal.

“We were aggressive all night. Not only were we aggressive but we were intelligent,” Luce said. “We had players in the right places making the right plays, I had fun tonight.”

The second quarter was started off by a great play made by guard Cooper Walls, who stole a pass at the top of the key and turned it into a layup on the other end. Walls was fouled on the play and added the extra point at the charity stripe. A good start to the quarter would extend the Viking lead to eight points. However, Argos would get back into the game rather quickly using a barrage of three-point shots. The visitors would use an especially hot stretch from deep to shrink the lead to one in the matter of moments. The home team would answer by going on an 8-2 run to close out the quarter and go into halftime with a seven-point lead.

The third quarter mauling by Tippy Valley started on the first possession of the period as Tayde Kiser got an easy layup to go down. The Vikings would score the first eleven points of the second half to balloon the lead to 18 just two minutes into the quarter. The white-hot Vikings would keep the pressure on for the remainder of the game, limiting Argos to just 12 points in the second half.

“They got better all night long. We started stringing stops together, we started running freely and getting it going,” Luce said. “We started getting a lot more to fall without me having to call plays to set things up and they really came into their own.”

It was a collective effort for the Valley scorers. Cumberland led the team with 19, followed by Kiser, who finished with 17 points in the game after scoring just 16 in the team’s first two games. Junior Kyler Johnson also finished in double figures with eleven. Walls and Riley Shepherd, the two other Viking starters, finished with nine and eight.

“Nolan is playing really well, should be full of confidence. He shouldn’t be settling at any point. Riley didn’t have the points tonight but I think he played the best game I’ve ever seen him play,” Luce said. “Tayde is learning how to get everybody involved while still being a scoring threat. He’ll be figuring that out over the course of the season but he’s a special talent and he’ll get it done.

Leading by 35 with four minutes left, the Vikings emptied the bench, allowing some of the more inexperienced players on the roster to get some run. Freshman Stephen Akase had three points and two rebounds in the limited minutes.

Tippecanoe Valley is back on the road Friday, when the team will take on Knox.