By Josh Brown
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe girls basketball coach Andy Holderman knows that it takes an entire team to win.
“That’s what we’re preaching,” he said. “At this point, we can’t be one or two dimensional. We’ve got to have other girls step up.”
Wednesday night, the Red Devils showed just how dangerous being a one-dimensional team can be.
Tippecanoe had three players score nine or more points, got contributions from everyone in the lineup and, most importantly, played stifling team defense in holding Sidney to only six field goals, routing the two-time defending Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division champion Yellow Jackets 58-26 in the Red Devils’ first game as a member of the division Wednesday night at Tippecanoe.
The Devils improved to 2-1 with the win, 1-0 in the GWOC American North, while Sidney — which entered the season having won 25 consecutive division games — fell to 1-3 and 0-1 in the North.
“It felt good,” Holderman said. “We watched a little video on them and saw areas of weakness that they had, and we were able to do a good job of exploiting those. To come up with a GWOC win, it feels good.”
Things remained tight throughout the early part of the game as the teams felt each other out. Tippecanoe took a 9-4 lead after a 3 by Brooke Aselage, but the Jackets’ toughest weapon, Celena Taborn, got her first basket of the game to end the quarter, and the Devil lead was only 9-8 after one. A pair of Taborn free throws to start the second quarter even gave Sidney a 10-9 lead … briefly.
Tippecanoe forced 10 of its 34 turnovers on the night and didn’t allow a field goal in the second quarter, firmly taking control with a 17-1 run that made the score 26-11. A three-point play by Cali Stewart started the run and gave the Devils the lead for good, then Stewart found Allison Mader open for 3 to make it a 15-10 game. A Mader steal led to a a Kendall Clodfelter putback in transition, then Mader hit a 3 around a screen before a free throw by Sidney’s Kiara Miller stopped the first part of the run at 11-0.
Chloe Schretzman scored a third-chance putback after another turnover, though, Mader cashed in a steal for a layup and then Mader stole it again and kicked to Schretzman for a jumper to give the Devils a 15-point lead before Taborn hit a pair of free throws to finally end the run. By halftime, though, the Tippecanoe lead was already 32-14 and the game was well out of reach.
The Devils forced 18 first-half and 16 second-half turnovers, most of those being live-ball situations that they turned into easy fast break points going the other way.
“That was an emphasis this week, to put some pressure on the ball,” Holderman said. “Once they got the ball into the post, we were in some trouble there. (Taborn) is a nice player, and our goal was to stop the ball from getting in to her. We emphasized that, and the kids did a nice job of stepping up to the plate. And the next person coming off the bench was able to put pressure on the ball, as well. We didn’t lose much, and it was a great team effort.
“Giving up 26 points tonight, we’ve been giving up about 30 per game this year. We stayed true to that. Defensively, that’s where we’re going to have to make things happen to create our offense.”
Sidney was held to only one field goal apiece the third and fourth quarters, a bucket inside by Taborn to start the second half and a 3 by Taborn to start the fourth, but by then the Devils were already up by 30, and most of their starters didn’t see the floor in the final eight minutes.
Taborn finished with a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds, but only three other Jackets scored, and none of them had more than three points.
Tippecanoe, meanwhile, shared the basketball throughout the game. Mader had 16 points and three assists, Stewart had 15 points, hitting three of the Devils’ six 3-pointers on the night and Aselage added nine points. Schretzman had six points and five rebounds, Varvel had four points and four rebounds, Clodfelter had two points, five rebounds and three assists, Taylor Prall had two points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots and Claire Hinkle had two points.
“I thought our effort was really good tonight,” Holderman said. “The girls played hard, we found each other when we were open and we gave ourselves opportunities to be successful by finding the open player.
“That was a focus of the past few days. We have to do things together, and it’s going to take every single one of the girls for us to get where we need to be. That’s what I told them tonight — this is the best we’ve seen them play together. Hopefully we just keep improving from this and sharing the wealth. As the girls gain varsity experience, I think it’s only going to get better for us.”
The Red Devils travel to Piqua Saturday to continue GWOC American North play.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.