Tippecanoe Valley junior Nolan Cumberland puts up two points during the first quarter as Braden Burns of North Miami attempts to defend.
Tippecanoe Valley junior Nolan Cumberland puts up two points during the first quarter as Braden Burns of North Miami attempts to defend.
AKRON - The Tippecanoe Valley Vikings benefitted from the virtue of patience in their return to Three Rivers Conference (TRC) action last night with a 63-48 win over the North Miami Warriors on Rita Price Simpson Court. Patrick noted his squad made a marked improvement from Tuesday’s non-conference 43-40 win over LaVille.

Valley ended the first frame with a 21-15 lead, then used an effective, aggressive man-to-man defense to lead 35-19 at halftime. The hosts held on to their lead ending the third frame on top 47-34.

The trio of Nolan Cumberland (25 points), Tayde Kiser and Braden Shepherd (16 points each) tag-teamed the Warriors with each Viking lighting up the scoreboard at different stages of the game, and in different fashion.

Cumberland played post at the elbow, and rattled 6’5” Warrior center Keagan Donaldson with 9 first period points before settling down to wear down the big junior with 10 points in the fourth.

“We started getting it on the short baseline,” Valley head coach Chad Patrick said of Cumberland’s scoring success. “Then the slant was open was open from the free throw line. Nolan, for a little bit, was trying too hard. I told him quit trying to take it between two guys. ‘Take the shot or wait ‘til you get the one on one.’”

Tayde Kiser stepped up ripping the cords with four 3-point baskets between the second and third quarters, scoring 14 of his 16 points in those two frames.

Braden Shepherd, a 6’0” senior guard used an additional weapon to vanquish the Warriors. Pressure defense and two straight coast-to-coast layups off a rebound and a steal gave Tippecanoe Valley a 61-42 lead, its largest lead of the contest, late in the final quarter. The late game burst was just a small tranche of the fits he gave North Miami.

“We’ve got some pretty good players,” Patrick remarked. “Nolan and Tayde are our go-to guys, and they play really good defense. Braden had a good night, and that helped because Dawson (Perkins) only had four points, but Dawson just changes the game on defense. Those four kids, some who come off the bench are pretty good role players. They give us great minutes.”

Perkins, Valley’s athletic 6’7” wing and post player, used his 2021 state-qualifying high jump hops to swat three shots in the paint, and change the direction of Warriors who dared to drive the lane.

The role players Patrick mentioned were Landon Walters, who spent the evening connecting on pinpoint passes leading to basket among the top three scorers, and Cooper Walls’ who displayed defensive hustle and helped the guards get their required rest. The Vikings also had help from 6’4” junior Dominick Welk and 6’2” physical power forward Dylan Neese, each spelling Perkins when he encountered foul trouble.

Tippecanoe Valley (11-6, 6-2 in the TRC) plays their final conference game in Wabash tonight. The Apaches (10-5, 4-1) are riding a six-game win streak. It’s the first of their toughest stretch of games to end the prepare for the rigors of postseason play.

The Class 3A top-ranked NorthWood Panthers (Feb 15) are the first hurdle of an ensuing three-game home stretch accompanied by Triton (Feb 18) and Warsaw (Feb 22).

“Wabash is really good with young kids who are quick and can shoot,” Patrick said. “Then we have… pretty good teams to end the year. If we are going to win that sectional (at Wawasee) we gotta play NorthWood and teams like that… We’re going to find out just how good we are.”

The junior varsity Vikings defeated the Warriors 43-34. Nate Parker’s 15 points paced the hosts, along with help from Dylan Neese (9 points), Kyler Johnson (8 points), and Ian Cooksey (6 points).