TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe entered Wednesday’s Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game against Sidney 30-0 in the North since joining the conference in the 2016-17 season. The Red Devils steps to show that they can handle that pressure, too, outscoring visiting Sidney 21-3 in the third quarter to pull away for good in a 50-27 Tippecanoe victory in both team’s GWOC American North opener.
Allison Mader, who is only a sophomore and one of the few players that saw regular varsity action on last year’s regional runner-up team, led the way with 18 points and five rebounds, scoring 13 of those in the first half — nine of those in the first quarter as the Devils (2-0, 1-0 GWOC American North) struggled to get going offensively, taking a 12-6 lead after one.
Sidney (0-3, 0-1 GWOC American North) continued to hang tough in the second quarter, though — even after senior and leading scorer Alina Kindle went down with an injury with 5:38 left in the half. Mader converted two steals around the perimeter into easy layups shortly after the injury to give the Devils a 20-7 lead, but Sam Reynolds scored a pair of buckets inside off the bench for Sidney to keep the Jackets alive, and Tippecanoe only led 22-13 at the break.
“At halftime, we had a little talk about staying focused, staying within ourselves and doing the things that we’re supposed to be doing offensively,” Tippecanoe coach Andy Holderman said. “Being a young team, there’s going to be some growing pains — and we’re going to continue to go through them. All we can do is put people in a position to take a high-quality shot, and it’s up to each individual to finish the deal. I think a lot of that will come with game-situation experience”.
One of those young players that stepped up was sophomore Katie Hemmelgarn. The 6-foot-2 center finished with 12 points and led the Devils with eight rebounds off the bench, scoring eight of those points in the first half to help the Devils maintain enough separation going into the second half.
And in the second half, the Devils put the game away.
Tippecanoe opened the third on a 10-0 run, with senior Brooke Aselage — the only returning starter from last year’s team — and Mader hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to start the quarter. Katie Salyer and Kendall Clodfelter then both scored on putbacks before Reynolds was finally able to score in transition for Sidney to make the score 32-15 … but the damage had already been done, and the Devils held an insurmountable 43-16 lead heading into the fourth and closed the win out from there.
Tippecanoe won the battle of the boards 32-19 and forced 21 turnovers while committing only 12.
For Sidney, Reynolds led the way with 11 points and eight rebounds and Keliyah Marcus added six points and five rebounds — all in the second half. Allie Herrick finished with four points, Peyton Wiley had three points, Emma Wiford scored two points and Marta Rodriguez chipped in one point.
“This first two games, I think we’ve showed some signs of some really good things, and we’ve showed some signs of inexperience,” Holderman said. “It’s a growing process, a learning process, and we’re going to make mistakes along the way. But as long as we learn from those mistakes, we’ll be fine.”
Inexperience or not, there’s a tradition of winning to maintain — and the Devils know it. Now they head into a two-game road trip next week, playing at Springboro on Monday before traveling to division foe Piqua on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” Mader said. “We’re just going to continue doing our best and, hopefully, stay undefeated.”
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.