The trip to Mason this coming week is almost becoming second nature for the Tippecanoe girls’ basketball team. It runs like clockwork…they draw a good seed, run through the sectionals then show up at Mason for their part in the annual triple-header of Division Two district finals.
This year, they advanced to the sectional finals last Saturday, where again they had to hang on for a fourth quarter thriller as the Red Devils defeated Trotwood 50-43 to capture another sectional championship. Junior Cali Stewart led the Red Devils with a game high 19 points.
Tippecanoe travels to Mason on Friday night in the districts, where they will meet Bellbrook for a trip to regionals. Gametime is tentatively set for 5 p.m.
Trotwood was quick to remember their last meeting, another close game where Tippecanoe survived in the final minute. This time, the Rams jumped out on the Red Devils early.
It was 6-1 just two minutes into the game, as Tippecanoe didn’t get their first basket until the 5:22 mark of the first quarter, when Taylor Prall scored to cut their early deficit to 6-3.
The Rams continued to put the pressure on the Red Devils, as they led 10-7 after one period of play with Stewart and Brooke Aselage both contributing late for the Red Devils.
Tippecanoe finally settled in to start the second period, as they ran off eight consecutive points to open the quarter to grab a 15-12 lead. The Rams then closed out the half with a 6-2 run including a free throw in the closing seconds to take a slim 18-17 lead at the break.
Trotwood had one more run in the third period, a 6-0 advantage to turn a 21-18 deficit into a 24-21 lead with 5:30 left in the third period. At that point, a three from Prall tied the game at 24, and Stewart literally took things into her own hands.
The junior scored the next eight points for the Red Devils, all in the paint as she gave Tipp a 32-25 lead with 1:43 left in the third. When Allison Mader drove to the rim, and Prall hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left, Tipp enjoyed their largest lead to date at 36-26 heading to the fourth.
Trotwood reeled off five straight points to open the final quarter to cut their deficit in half before a play that most thought was one of the two plays that preserved the momentum. Isabell Crow took a pass and scored on a layup to stop the Rams momentum and allowed the Red Devils to regain their composure and lead 38-31.
Again, Trotwood fought back to cut the Tipp lead to five and both teams battled until Stewart hit a backbreaking three from the left corner with three minutes left, giving Tipp a 46-35 lead.
Four free throws from Aselage gave Tipp their biggest lead of the game at 14 points with 1:45 left and the game looked secure, until Trotwood had one last run in them.
An 8-0 run cut the Tipp lead down to 49-43 with 49 seconds left, but the Red Devils held on.
Stewart led the Red Devils with 19 points, while Prall added 10.