By David Fong
TIPP CITY — It was exactly one year ago today the Tippecanoe boys basketball program reached one of the lowest points in the program’s storied history.
All of which goes to show just how much difference 365 days can make, as the Red Devils are in the midst of one of the greatest comeback stories in area basketball history.
On this date one year ago, Tippecanoe was 2-11 and had just seen the abrupt resignation of hall of fame coach Jim Staley midway through his first season coaching the Red Devils. Things wouldn’t get much better the rest of the season, as Tippecanoe would finish the year 3-20 (0-10 in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division).
All of that quickly is becoming ancient history under first-year head coach Joel Visser, however, as the Red Devils now find themselves 10-4 and riding an eight-game winning streak that dates back to a 50-39 victory over Bellbrook on Dec. 22. Tippecanoe also is 4-2 in the CBC Kenton Trail and very much in the thick of the race for the division title, trailing only Tecumseh (13-3, 5-1 in the CBC Kenton Trail).
Tecumseh did defeat the Red Devils 59-51 on Dec. 18, but the two teams will meet again on Jan. 29.
The winning streak has seen the Red Devils gut out a number of tough games — during the streak, Tippecanoe’s average margin of victory has been just 7.0 points. One of those wins (52-47 against Piqua) went to overtime, while five have been by single digits.
Only one of those eight games — a 53-35 victory over Indian Lake Tuesday — could be considered a blowout.
Tippecanoe will look to keep its streak alive Friday as the Red Devils host Stebbins (5-8, 2-4 in the CBC Kenton Trail).
Vikings Rising: After opening at No. 10 in the first Associated Press Division III boys state basketball poll last week, the Vikings rose to No. 6 in this week’s rankings. In the past week since the first poll came out, the Vikings picked up victories over Bethel (63-47) and Covington (55-46).
Going into Friday’s game at Ansonia, the Vikings are 12-1. Their lone loss came Dec. 29 against Chaminade Julienne in the Versailles Holiday Tournament. The Eagles are ranked No. 12 in the Division II state poll.
Looming on the horizon for Miami East is a Jan. 26 showdown with defending Division IV state champion Tri-Village, currently ranked No. 2in the Division IV poll.
The five teams currently ranked ahead of Miami East in the Division III poll are Lima Central Catholic (206 poll points), Massillon Tuslaw (153 points), Cleveland Villa Anglea-St. Joseph (125 points), Berlin Hiland (113 points) and Beachwood (109 points).
Miami East has 79 poll points.
For the second week in a row, no Miami County girls basketball teams were ranked in any of the state polls.
State Duals: The Ohio High School Athletic Association Team State Wrestling Tournament (more commonly referred to as the “state duals”) will begin next week and run through mid-February, culminating with the state team tournament.
This will be the fourth year for the state duals. Unlike the more well-known individual state tournament, teams compete and advance in a series of dual matches, as opposed to the traditional bracket tournament format. The only way for a team to advance to to defeat the opposing team on team points in a dual match.
Tippecanoe is the No. 4 seed in Division II, Region 16 (sub-region B). In Division III, Miami East is seeded second in Region 23 (sub-region B), while Covington is seeded third in the same region.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong