Tippecanoe Valley senior Braden Shepherd weaves his way through the NorthWood defense during the second quarter.
Tippecanoe Valley senior Braden Shepherd weaves his way through the NorthWood defense during the second quarter.
AKRON – Tippecanoe Valley’s Tayde Kiser scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, but the hosts couldn’t get within fewer than seven points from their guests, Class 3A’s top-ranked NorthWood Panthers, who captured a 55-45 win over the Vikings last night.

The opening quarter was close with Valley trailing 11-7 when the buzzer sounded. The Panthers’ 9-0 run in the first 2:40 of the second quarter stretched their lead to 20-7 when Valley held the Black Swish scoreless for the ensuing 3 ½ minutes and responded with seven consecutive points to cut the Panther lead to 20-14.

While they controlled NorthWood’s perimeter shooting attack, the inside game of the top-ranked Panthers posed a problem for Valley. The Vikings, additionally, despite the second period comeback effort, got in their own way in the first half from missed open shots and free throws.

“We just didn’t knock down some shots,” Viking head coach Chad Patrick noted. “We were 0 for 5 from the 3-point line. We missed four free throws… against a team like (NorthWood) you can’t give them stuff like that.

“In the first half we changed the way we played a bit because it was the number one team, NorthWood. We didn’t take some wide-open shots because it’s NorthWood. In the second half we settled down and we didn’t do that so much.”

The Panthers used balanced scoring to widen their lead in the third quarter via inside moves, offensive rebounding and good ball movement, though, ending the third period head 38-25. Valley’s 6’7” Dawson Perkins handled the Panthers’ inside game very well, but he picked up his fourth foul nine seconds into the third period and did not return to action until the final stanza.

Tippecanoe Valley hit four 3-point shots in a 20-point fourth frame, but NorthWood maintained their lead the entire period. NorthWood closed out the evening with six straight free throws to end the contest victorious 55-45.

“They’re really good driving to the basket, and really good passing,” Patrick said. “I thought we played them well, we fought back in the second half… I thought our players off the bench played well. I think we played well against a really good team.”

Cade Brenner’s 17 points, and 6’7” Ian Raasch’s 15 points led the way for Northwood, who moves to 20-1 with their twelfth straight win. The victors outrebounded valley 22-14 including 8 boards on the offensive glass.

“I think we are as good as teams like this,” Patrick commented, reflecting on the evening’s takeaways. “We’re very long, we’re very strong, we’re physical, we can shoot it, we can handle the ball, we have a big guy inside who can block shots. We have all the ingredients of a really good team. I think we came a long way tonight in believing we can play teams like this.”

The two teams are part of the five-team field in Class 3A Sectional 21.

Kiser’s game-high scoring effort was aided by fellow Vikings Nolan Cumberland (10 points), Perkins (7 points), and Braden Shepherd (5 points). Landon Walters and Dominick Welk chipped in with 2 points apiece.

The Vikings (12-7) host Triton (14-5) Friday 7:30 p.m. The Trojans beat the Vikings’ archrival, the Rochester Zebras, 55-43 last night.

Valley’s junior varsity squad led 30-20 entering the final period, but the Panthers’ 14-2 final frame comeback resulted in a 34-32 Viking loss. Cooper Walls Led Tippecanoe Valley’s scoring with 12 points. Cameron Manuel added 6 points.