They were former rivals in the Central Buckeye Conference until they went their own separate ways into the Greater Western Ohio Conference. On Friday night, it was as if they never left their rivalry.
Tippecanoe built a nine-point lead at the half, and held on for a thrilling 57-56 win over Stebbins on OHSAA Military Appreciation Night.
Both teams came out firing in the opening period, to the extent of nine lead changes in the opening eight minutes. The Red Devils built an early 5-3 lead on solid play from Zach Bonifas and Quenten Williams, but the Indians rode the hot arm of Chris Davis, as he hit two three’s to tie the game at eight.
It was never more than a four-point margin in the opening period, even when Stebbins took a 15-12 lead with 3:28 left in the period. Tipp fought back and used six straight points to give Tipp an 18-15 lead. Even when Sauls buried a three to end the opening period, Tipp held onto a 21-17 lead after one quarter.
The Red Devils took their lead out to eight points early in the second period before the Indians went on an 8-0 run over a span of 1:38 on the clock as four different players scored, tying the game at 27 with 3:01 left in the half.
Tipp’s defense then shut down the Indians over the final three minutes of the half, holding them scoreless while the Red Devils scored nine straight. A short runner by Grieshop led things off, followed by four points from Zach Bonifas and a buzzer-beating three by Sauls to send Tippecanoe into the locker room with a 36-27 lead at the half.
The Red Devils maintained their lead for the second half, increasing it into double figures for most of the third quarter. A three from Cage Gingerich with 4:32 left in the third gave Tipp a 41-28 lead, and with 2:00 left in the quarter, Tipp still led by ten as Bonifas hit a pair of free throws.
Stebbins made a run over the final two minutes when Michael Mayo scored on a layup, then a big three at the buzzer from Mark Perkins sent the game into the final period with Tipp leading 45-40.
Bonifas led Tipp with 19 points in the win, while Grieshop and Sauls each scored 11.
Also on Saturday, Tipp defeated Bellbrook 46-39 to push their record to 7-8 on the season. They also remain in third place in the GWOC North five games behind division leading Sidney.
Tipp played at Trotwood last night, then hosts West Carrollton on Friday at 7:30.