They were up and down Tuesday, and afterwards coach Brock Moon said sometimes that happens in January. But Tipp relied on Jackson Smith and his season-high 22 points to finally put Stebbins away for their 13th win.
Tipp City, OH – Afterwards, Tippecanoe coach Brock Moon described his team as tired, a little sore, and banged up, following the Red Devils’ 49-35 win over 11-5 Stebbins Tuesday night in Miami Valley League play.
A game that was sloppy at times, lacked flow, and one that saw Stebbins missing two players…with another on the bench four minutes into the game with three fouls…Tipp (13-2) was a mirror-opposite of recent performances that saw them energized, aggressive, and deadly from the perimeter on offense. But thanks to center Jackson Smith, and his season-high 22 points from around the rim, they got by just fine in the end. Someone added, “They’ve got all spring to rest and feel better.”
Such is January basketball.
Despite a cold shooting night from the perimeter, Tipp jumped on Stebbins’ inability to score early, shooting out to a 17-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter, thanks to 10 points in the post from Smith and teammate Maddox Sivon.
But before anyone could get comfortable…Stebbins went on a 14-4 run in the second quarter to erase the big lead, feasting on back-to-back-to-back three-pointers from guard Adrien Carter, and trailed by just three points at halftime, 21-18.
“We had some breakdowns, defensively, in the second quarter,” Moon explained afterwards. “But we also missed a lot of bunnies.”
Point-blank shots at the rim…maybe a half dozen…that one, frustrate, and two, allow overmatched opponents to hang around and begin to gain confidence. Stebbins outplayed Tipp during that eight minutes, getting the 50-50 balls, rebounding better, and scoring in transition. Tipp could have used those bunnies, indeed.
They atoned, however, in the opening minutes of the third quarter, going on an 8-2 run out of the locker room, forcing Stebbins to call timeout and the Indians, in a rare case of irony, to circle the wagons.
“We were sloppy at times, but answered in the third quarter. I was happy about that, but it was not a second quarter I loved to have,” said Moon.
Such may be January basketball, but it’s no time for league lapses.
Struggling to score from the backcourt in the first half, guard CJ Bailey began to heat up in the second half, scoring on a lone bucket in the third, and then picking up three of them on drives to the rim in the fourth.
But apart from scoring, Bailey and company found 6’5″ Jackson Smith, who had scored 8 points by halftime…then added 6 in the third, and 8 more in the fourth quarter, 16 of those points at the rim. Stebbins simply couldn’t deny him the basketball, and couldn’t defend the rim once he had it.
“He did a good job posting up,” said Moon of Smith. “I think the biggest kid they had on him was 6 foot, and that’s a big size advantage for Jackson. He did a good job of demanding the ball tonight, and yes, he helped us out a ton.”
Smith and company outscored Stebbins 14-7 in the third, then gassed them in the fourth quarter as the combination of Bailey and Smith, alone, scored 14 of Tipp’s 16 points, and outscored Stebbins 14-10. Lead restored, win secured…and everyone suddenly feeling good.
Besides Smith’s 22, Maddox Sivon would finish with 10, Bailey with 11, Caden Turner and Larkin Thomas each had 3.
For Stebbins, Bryson Bishop, who spent most of the first half on the bench with three fouls, would finish with 10 points, and Adrien Carter had 12, accounting for 22 of the Indians’ total of 33 points.
Tipp improved, impressively, to 12-1 in the Miami Valley League conference play, and they do get a breather until the weekend, when they face West Carrollton on the road, Friday, followed by a home encounter with Bellbrook on Saturday.
Jackson Smith, on the other hand, was probably ready to play immediately after the final horn. When you’re hot, you’re hot.
“They just kept feeding me the ball,” he said with a smile. He looked anything but tired!