Tippecanoe Valley junior Chesnee Miller attempts to drive past Winamac’s Kandace Kroft during the Lady Vikings' 56-38 home win Thursday night.
Tippecanoe Valley junior Chesnee Miller attempts to drive past Winamac’s Kandace Kroft during the Lady Vikings' 56-38 home win Thursday night.
One could take a look at both team’s records and the final score and assume Tippecanoe Valley didn’t struggle much in beating Winamac 56-38 at Rita Price Simpson Court Thursday night. But the game was a hard fought battle that didn’t get lopsided until the final minutes. In the end, it was the defense and timely scoring of Tippy Valley that extended the team’s winning streak to eight games.

“We didn’t turn the ball over, we played good defense and we had girls shooting with confidence,” Tippy Valley head coach Chris Kindig said. “Sometimes you have those games where it doesn’t start well but we fought hard.”

The Lady Vikings avoided the slow start that has plagued them in some of their recent games, but were not helped by the fact that the visitors would start hot as well. Early offense was plentiful, with a lot of the action coming from the three-point line. Valley senior Kaydence Mellott would get the party started by hitting her first long range shot of the game, but she would not be the only one. Winamac senior Chloe Rausch would make all three of her shots from behind the line in the first eight minutes of play.

Despite the strong shooting by the Warriors, Tippecanoe Valley was able to generate a ton of pressure with its full court press and cause more than a few turnovers. Corinna Stiles had three steals in the backcourt for the Lady Vikings in the first half alone. Using its defensive prowess, Tippy Valley was able to withstand the hot shooting start and found itself trailing by five going into the second quarter.

The deficit did not last long. Using some of the positives from the first period of action, Kindig’s team began the second by going on a 10-0 run. Offensive rebounding by Macy Petersen (nine rebounds) and Chesnee Miller (four rebounds) created extra possessions for the team, leading to open shots that would find the bottom of the net. The visitors, despite putting up 15 points in the first eight minutes, were held scoreless for the first half of the quarter as Tippy Valley fought back to tie the game and eventually take the lead.

“We tried to take away their three-point opportunities and see if they could shoot twos,” Kindig said. “Our defense is predicated on pressure and after a while it starts to wear on you. That’s what you saw in the second half.”

Once again, the strong shooting of Winamac would show up at the end of the quarter, turning an eight-point Valley lead with a minute left in the half into a two-point lead as both teams went into their locker rooms for halftime.

The third quarter went by quickly and without much change to the pace of the game. The Lady Vikings would hit a few shots and look like they were separating, but the Warriors would answer with a few big threes to trim the lead back down once again. Eventually, the strong defense would return for the home team, and with Tippy Valley turning the ball over a season-low eight times, the shot opportunities became scarce for the visitors. In the final minutes of the third, Valley would go up by nine points, its largest lead up to that point.

Kindig’s squad put the final nail in the coffin early on in the fourth. Stiles would hit a three-point shot to begin the quarter to extend the Lady Vikings lead to double digits, where it would stay for the rest of the night. Similar to the second period, Tippecanoe Valley had everything clicking in the final quarter, putting up the points in a hurry while forcing turnovers at the other end.

Winamac would score just five points in the fourth quarter, none in the first five minutes, while turning the ball over seven times. Depsite being hounded all night, Mellott would get a large chunk of her points in the second half. She’d finish with a game-high 21 points.

Tippecanoe Valley is now 11-2 this season and will look to remain perfect in Three Rivers Conference play Saturday when the team travels to South Whitley to take on Whitko.

“We’ve played good stretches but we still have things to work on. Whitko can shoot the ball really well similar to Winamac so that’s a game we’ll have to be ready for. We want to keep this momentum going.” Kindig said.