By Josh Brown
and Rob Kiser
VANDALIA — The Tippecanoe boys basketball team followed up a disappointing last-season loss to county rival Troy the best way possible.
By knocking off the undefeated division leader.
The Red Devils (4-2, 3-2 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) handed the Butler Aviators their first loss of the season Friday night, holding on late to claim victory in a back-and-forth battle 58-55 on the road.
Tippecanoe jumped out in front of Butler (6-1, 4-1 GWOC American North) 15-10 after one quarter, but the Aviators trimmed the lead to 25-22 at the half and took a 34-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter. But the Devils outscored them 25-21 in the final eight minutes to win the game.
Even with the loss, Butler maintains the division lead by a half game over 4-2 Sidney, with Tippecanoe now only one game back of the lead. The Red Devils, who traveled to Versailles Saturday night, will take on Tecumseh Dec. 29.
Miami East 46,
TC North 40
CASSTOWN — After dropping back-to-back games, things looked bleak for Miami East early Friday night, as well.
But despite trailing by eight at halftime, the Vikings rallied in the second half at home against Tri-County North to come away with a 46-40 victory in Cross County Conference play to improve to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the league while handing the Panthers their first CCC loss on the year.
“It was definitely a good turnaround,” Miami East coach Allen Mack said. “We shot well from the free throw line tonight, going 8 for 11 — and we needed every point we could get from there. It was an exciting win for us.”
Tri-County North (4-2, 2-1 CCC) took a 12-6 lead after one quarter and held a 22-14 advantage at the break. But Miami East came roaring back in the third, doubling its first-half total to cut the deficit to one at 29-28 and then outscoring the Panthers 18-11 in the final quarter to earn the win.
Austin Kearns led a trio of Vikings in double figures with 11 points and four rebounds. Austin Rutledge added 10 points, going 3 for 4 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to help seal the win, Dylan Hahn hit a pair of 3s and added 10 points off the bench, Brenden Bertsch had five points — all in the fourth — and Justin Brown added four points, five assists and three rebounds.
Miami East travels to Versailles on Dec. 29.
Miss. Valley 49,
PLEASANT HILL — Newton was outscored 16-6 in the decisive second quarter Friday night, and an Indian rally fell short in a 49-44 Cross County Conference loss to Mississinawa Valley at home.
Three Indians were in double figures on the night, led by Kleyson Wehrley’s 14 points. Treg Jackson and Ryan Mollette both added 10 and Chet Jamison chipped in six.
Newton (2-7, 1-3 CCC) is off until Jan. 5, 2018, when it hosts Franklin Monroe.
BOTKINS — The Russia boys basketball team defeated Botkins 53-39 Friday night in SCAL action.
Jack Dapore led Russia with 19 points.
Russia will host Minster Wednesday.
Fort Loramie 80,
FORT LORAMIE — The Houston boys basketball team lost to Fort Loramie 80-41 in SCAL action Friday night.
Jarion Douglas led Houston with 14 points.
Houston will play at Minster Friday.
Other scores: Ansonia 67, Bradford (1-7, 0-4 CCC) 44.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter. Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.