The Tippecanoe Lady Red Devils got a career high performance from junior Allison Mader, and used its tenacious defense to wipe-out a double-digit deficit and hand West Liberty Salem its first loss.
Tipp City – Allison Mader kept her team in the game in the first half Tuesday night.
She won the game for her teammates in the second half.
The 5-9 junior for the Tippecanoe Lady Red Devils scored a career high 32 points, and the Red Devils turned a 12 point first half deficit into an impressive 52-45 win over previously unbeaten West Liberty-Salem at Pat Wampler Gymnasium.
Impressive for the fact that the Tigers, now 9-1, had impressive wins over Fort Loramie, Anna, Jonathan Alder, and perennial District qualifier Kenton Ridge.
Impressive also for the fact that West liberty -Salem started red hot, racing to a 27-15 lead midway through the second quarter. Over the final 20 minutes, Tipp out-scored West Liberty 37-18, holding the Tigers without a field goal for 11 minutes at one point.
And impressive for the fact that Mader, who entered the game averaging 13.5 points per game, made 3 treys in the first half to keep the Red Devils alive, then nailed down the victory by going 8 of 10 at the line down the stretch.
The Tigers, who start two sophomores and have just 2 seniors in the program, jumped ahead early by shooting 8 of 11 from the floor for a 17-8 lead after 1. Senior Lily Yoder scored five early points in the second as the lead swelled to 27-15.
“That was a punch to the face,” said Tippecanoe coach Andy Holderman of the Tigers hot start. “We were able to settle down and withstand that, and get the lead down a little bit in the second quarter. We talked at halftime about how we needed to defend things, and I thought we did a pretty good job of responding.”
“We shot the ball well early,” said Dennis McIntosh, in his 23rd year as coach of the Tigers. “Tipp is a good team, and they put a lot of pressure on us. We got behind, but came back and got the lead. Then, at the end, we had to foul and they made their free throws.”
With the Red Devils down 12, Mader began to assert herself. The junior hit back to back threes, and connected on four free-throws to complete a personnel 10-1 run that got the Red Devils back to within 28-25 at the break.
West Liberty-Salem went the final four minutes of the half without a field goal, then went the first 7 minutes of the second half without a basket. Taylor Prall, the Red Devils only senior, had a couple of baskets in the quarter as did Mader and the Red Devils led 38-35 after 3 quarters.
“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” Holderman acknowledged.” We were a little slow in the first quarter and they were knocking down shots. Give them all the credit. That’s a good team. We were able to withstand that first run, and I thought we played pretty well after that.”
The Tigers, who committed just five turnovers in the first half, had 7 miscues in the third quarter alone, and went just 1 of 5 from the field.
“Turnovers really hurt us in the second half, and we didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well in the second half,” McIntosh lamented. “We’ll be all right. This is a good group of kids. They will take this one hard, but they will keep working and they’ll bounce back.”
Gabby Hollar and Kelsey Day each had a couple of baskets in the fourth quarter as the Tigers regained the lead at 43-42. Mader stepped up again at that point, making five straight free throws to nail down the Red Devils’ 6th straight win after a season opening loss to Fairmont.
“This is a really good win for us,” Mader said with a big grin. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. They really attacked the basket well. We worked a lot on help defense in practice this week and it paid off.”
Prall joined Mader in double figures with 12. Yoder led the Tigers with 13, but had just 2 after halftime. Hollar added 11.
“I knew I had to step up and be there for my team,” Mader said about her career scoring night. “I knew I had to attack the basket as much as possible. Free throws were big and I was feeling it from the 3 too. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.
“They have played some of the same teams that we have played, and they were undefeated, so this is a special win for us. It just proved that our hard work is paying off. I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.”
“Allison does a nice job for us,” Holderman praised. “She is always positive and such a team player. The last game we played she had four points, but was getting players open and setting up her teammates. That’s what we want. We don’t have a selfish player on this team.”
The Red Devils shot 54% from the floor, were 4 of 7 from the arc, and connected on 17 of 24 from the line for 71%. The Tigers were 41% from the floor, just 3 of 12 from the arc, including 0-6 in the fourth quarter, and converted 7 of 9 from the line.
Holderman said that the Red Devils are in a good spot heading into the new year.
“I am happy with where we are. If you had told me we would be 6-1 after the Fairmont game (a 38-28 loss in the season opener) I would have definitely taken it. It’s still a learning process. We have two returning starters and we have different people in different roles. We are trying to build that whole team concept. This is a really good win to continue to do that. That team concept is very important to us and very true to the program.”