NAPPANEE – It wasn’t the prettiest game for Chris Kindig and the Tippecanoe Lady Vikings, but after a slow offensive start in the first quarter, the team was able to do just enough to escape “The Pit” at NorthWood high school with a 46-33 nonconference victory over the Lady Panthers. Tippy Valley improves its record to 11-6 this season, and has won eight of its last nine games.

The Lady Vikings certainly didn’t get the start they were hoping for in this one. In a first quarter that featured both teams playing some sloppy basketball, Valley struggled to find its footing against a suffocating NorthWood defense. The Lady Vikings managed just one field goal in the first eight minutes of play, and trailed the Lady Panthers 8-4 going into the second quarter.

Tippy Valley would show a defensive change in the 2nd, switching to a 2-3 zone, with a press sprinkled in. The change would pay dividends, as the Lady Vikings would begin forcing turnovers that would lead to easy offense. Leading the first half defensive charge was junior Molly Moriarty, who would go into the halftime locker room with a game-high eight points and four rebounds. She would finish with 18 points and six steals.

A big focus for NorthWood was slowing down Valley’s leading scorer, Kaydence Mellott. The Lady Panthers were able to contain the sharpshooter in spurts of the game, but the junior was still able to get hers. Her first points came on an and-one layup in the second quarter, which gave Valley its first lead since 2-0, which would end up being the last lead change of the game. Using a strong defensive unit and some transition baskets, Tippecanoe Valley would take a 19-16 lead into halftime.

The Lady Vikings were offered little resistance in the second half, as the team’s lead would balloon to double digits in the third quarter. Mellott would finally get some open looks from three, and she would convert. She would finish with 15. Taking a 15 point lead into the final period, the Lady Vikings fought off one last NorthWood run to close out the game.

Tippy Valley suffered a rare defeat in the junior varsity game prior to the main event. A last second shot by the Lady Panthers forced an overtime period, where the home team emerged victorious 39-35. The JV Lady Vikings are now 13-2 this winter.

Next up for Tippecanoe Valley is road conference matchup with Rochester Saturday.