SIDNEY — Tippecanoe didn’t lose a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game last season and got off to a great to start in this season’s league play on Wednesday night at Sidney.
The Yellow Jackets could do nothing to contain Tippecanoe’s fast-break offense, which scored early and often in a 68-25 win.
Sidney has had a tough start to the season. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 0-4 with the loss, and their closest game was a 13-point defeat against Lehman Catholic on Nov. 25.
It was also the second consecutive game the Yellow Jackets allowed over 60 points. They lost 86-30 to Centerville last Thursday.
Sidney coach Lauren Stefancin said she was pleased with how the team played through the end of the game.
“Losing by 56 the first game and to be losing by 35 or so tonight is frustrating for them, but they started to learn that it is what it is, and they have to go out there and finish and play hard for the last four or five minutes,” Stefancin said. “I can trust anybody I put in there to play hard. They did everything I could ask; Tipp’s just a really good team. They have a lot of talent and a lot of height that we don’t have.”
Tippecanoe led 36-14 at halftime and outscored Sidney 17-4 in the third quarter to put the game away. Tipp’s bench players closed out the win in the fourth.
Sidney went nearly eight minutes without scoring between the first and second quarters, during which time Tippecanoe built its lead.
“Their man defense hurt us,” Stefancin said. “Man is a new thing for us. We’ve played 2-3 (zone) the last three or four games, and we’ve started to learn how to play man. We’re practicing man-to-man, but we’re going to have to practice it a little more.
“That’s a pretty developed team. We’re starting pretty much from ground zero, but we’ll get there.”
After Kyana Johnson scored on an inbounds play that caught Tippecanoe’s defense off guard in the first two minutes of the game, Sidney didn’t score a field goal again until the 6:00 minute mark in the second quarter.
Tippecanoe capitalized on over 10 early Sidney turnovers and finished the first quarter on an 18-1 run to put the game away early. Maddie Fredrick had eight points during the run to lead the Red Devils’ offense.
“That was our intent,” Tippecanoe coach Andy Holderman said. “After watching a little bit of film, we felt like that could be an area that we could exploit. We did a good job at the start, and then we decided to work on other things.”
Sidney found more life on offense in the second quarter, but Tippecanoe’s scoring didn’t slow down. The Yellow Jackets scored six of the quarter’s last nine points, but the Red Devils maintained a 22-point halftime lead.
Tippecanoe has four of its five starters back from last season and is off to a hot start. The Red Devils (3-0, 1-0 GWOC North) opened the season with a 10-point win over Miami East on Nov. 29 and beat Fairmont by six points last Saturday.
Tipp lost in a regional final last season, and Holderman said the team is focused on improving every game to prepare for making another deep tournament run next March.
“We’ve got a schedule that will challenge us,” Holderman said. “The whole idea is to prep for the end of the year. You can have a great season, but if you stumble in the first round of the tournament, that puts a damper on things. So that’s the big picture.”
Aside from the returning starters, Tipp has been bolstered by the addition of Frederick, who transferred from a school in Arizona. Frederick, who is a 6-foot-0 senior guard, signed with Iowa State last month.
“She’s a super kid,” Holderman said. “All of our kids have been very welcoming, and that’s just something we preach every day at practice. Share the ball, and do things together.
“We’ve got 22 games to get ready, and as long as we’re getting better each time, that’s all we can ask for.”
Frederick led Tippecanoe with 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Allison Mader added 14 for the Red Devils and Cali Stewart scored 13.
Tippecanoe made 24 field goals and 15-of-20 free-throw attempts, while Sidney made seven field goals and 9-of-18 free throws.
Alina Kindle led Sidney with seven points. Johnson finished with five points, all of which came in the first half.
Tippecanoe continues GWOC North play on Saturday at Piqua.
Sidney’s next game is Saturday at Troy, and Stefancin said she’s hopeful the return of guard Carrie Nuss will help the team. Nuss sprained a hamstring in Sidney’s final scrimmage and played sparingly in a season opener at Russia but hasn’t played since.
“We’re going to get there,” Stefancin said. “We have a lot of fast girls, but sometimes are just a half-step faster than we are.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.