|Tipp Survives Scare From League Foe|
|Written by Jim Dabbelt|
|Friday, 14 March 2014 05:45|
It was just a game that neither team could pull away from the other. Tippecanoe came in as the favorites, and had a battle for the entire 32 minutes, and their boys basketball game against Kenton Ridge still wasn't settled.
As the teams headed to overtime, the Red Devils were clutch down the stretch, hitting seven of eight from the free throw line in the final minute, including four straight from Ben Stucke in the closing seconds, to give Tippecanoe a 61-55 victory over the Cougars. With the win, the Red Devils move to 8-1 on the season, and remain a half game behind Bellefontaine for the division lead in the Central Buckeye Conference.
"I thought the first 16 minutes was the best defense we have played since I have been here," said Tippecanoe coach Marcus Bixler. "We talked about it all week that if we want to take the next step as a team, we have to learn how to lock people down and I thought the first half we did that."
Kenton Ridge came out and developed a little momentum to start the game, as they built a 10-4 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Red Devils defense shut them down for the remainder of the quarter, not allowing the Cougars to score over the final 2:52.
Stucke and Michael Landwehr each scored to close out the quarter, cutting the Kenton Ridge lead to 10-8 after the opening eight minutes.
After both teams struggled to score in the opening part of the second period, Landwehr hit a short jumper, and Nathan Shirley buried a three, giving the Red Devils their first lead of the game at 13-10 with just under five minutes remaining in the half.
Tipp took the lead out to five as the two Red Devils players again came up big, and when Shirley connected from three-point range again before the half, Tipp went into the locker room with a 22-18 lead at the half.
The game was tight throughout, with neither team getting more than a six point lead the entire night until the closing seconds of overtime. The third quarter saw more of the same, as the Cougars controlled the first few minutes of the period, outscoring the Red Devils 8-4 to tie the game. Carter Mann and Stucke pushed the lead back out to four, which is how the third quarter ended.
"We didn't defend quite as well in the second half," said Bixler. "We gave them some looks in the paint, and some open three's we didn't give them in the first half. We weren't communicating as well as we needed to."
With three minutes left in regulation, Landwehr scored to give the Red Devils a 44-41 lead, but from that point on, they didn't score another field goal in regulation. Tipp was held to a Stucke free throw in the final minute, but still maintained a slim two point lead. The Cougars scored with 22 seconds left, and the game went to overtime.
Landwehr scored on a drive with 2:06 left in overtime, and Tipp took the lead for good. In the final 38.2 seconds, Landwehr was 2-2 and Stucke 4-4 from the free throw line to preserve the win.
Tipp was led in scoring by Stucke with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Landwehr added 18 and Shirley scord 10.
Tippecanoe 70 Bellbrook 47- After an even first quarter, the Red Devils exploded for a 22-6 second quarter advantage, taking a 31-15 halftime lead and rolled to the non conference win against Bellbrook on Saturday night.
Stucke and Sean Ford each scored 14 to lead Tipp, while Shirley had 13 and Zack Blair 11.
With the win, Tipp is now 8-1 overall, with a game at Stebbins on Friday night.