NAPPANEE – When it comes to high school basketball, especially come playoff time, the phrase “anything can happen” will be said until the end of time.

Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball was on the wrong end of an upset Saturday night in the IHSAA 3A sectional 20 championship, falling 56-51 to a now 6-17 West Noble squad. The Lady Vikings end their season with a 17-8 record and a Three Rivers Conference championship.

“We started off 0-4, didn’t have a lot of time over the summer to work together and I thought it would be a rough start,” head coach Chris Kindig said. “But the girls kept believing and we went on a run. Our culture and chemistry were really good this year. We would have liked to win the sectional, but it was still a great year.”

Coming off of an emotional 18-point comeback win over Wawasee Friday night, Tippy Valley picked up where it left off, scoring 15 points in the first quarter. The team started the game red hot from three, with juniors Molly Moriarty and Lily Ault both making two in the first quarter. Valley’s only problem was that it gave up 15 points to the Chargers as well, allowing the underdogs to go into the second quarter tied after a first period that featured four lead changes. Defense would remain a problem for the Lady Vikings throughout the contest.

“You look up on the scoreboard and we scored 51 points. Most nights defensively that’s a 10 or 15-point win for us. We had lapses, it seemed like we were maybe a step slow tonight. We might of run out of luck and energy, we used up a lot of that last night,” Kindig said.

The physical game remained close in the second quarter, with both teams continuing to trade baskets. With the Lady Vikings leading scorer Kaydence Mellot doubled and denied for most of the game, Valley had to find points in other areas. Junior Corinna Stiles had a good first half, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds. She wouldn’t score in the second half, but added three more rebounds to secure a double-double.

After making six threes in the first eleven minutes of the game, Tippy Valley would only make one for the remainder of the contest. The Lady Vikings shot just 22% from deep in the game and 32%.

“You’re not going to win a lot of games shooting like that. We had a couple of days this week with no practice because of the snow, and even a couple of days you don’t do anything can mess with conditioning,” Kindig said. “I think we ran out of gas a little bit there.”

West Noble would take advantage in the third quarter, and make its move. Led by senior Jazmyn Smith, who would finish with 22, the Chargers took advantage of every open look the Lady Vikings would give them. West Noble would jump out to its biggest lead of the game, 10, before Valley’s lone senior Mercedes Snapp converted an and-1 at the end of the quarter to shrink the lead to seven.

With a comeback needed to keep its season alive, Valley would fight in the final quarter, and shrink the lead down to a one-possession game multiple times. But the Chargers would take every punch and not budge. A few open looks that might have changed the outcome would miss by inches.

“When Kaydence only scores eleven, who is going to pick up that slack? We had some opportunities to do that tonight but as a team we just didn’t get it done. We need to be able to rely on more than just two shooters,” Kindig said. “If we can get some girls to be more balanced players, work on their offensive game, we’ll be in good shape.”

Moriarty and Ault would both finish with eleven points as well as Mellott. Chesnee Miller would score four points and grab six rebounds. West Noble advances to play Griffith at the Jimtown regional Saturday.