NAPPANEE – It’s one down and two to go for the Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball team.
The Lady Vikings fought off a determined Fairfield team for the duration of their game in the quarterfinals of the IHSAA Class 3A NorthWood Sectional. The Falcons had to fly the coop and State Tournament following the 55-47 Valley victory.
The Lady Vikings started the game out solid. Behind Caylie Teel’s four points, Valley led 10-8 after the first quarter. Though Teel would quiet down in the second quarter, the Lady Vikings would not.
Valley and Fairfield played to an even 12 points apiece in the second quarter, keeping the Lady Vikings lead at two, 22-20 going into the break. While it was certainly no surprise that Valley led at the half, it was a surprise who the Lady Vikings leading scorer was.
Freshman Meredith Brouyette scorched the nets all night for Valley. She came off the bench in the first half and gave the Lady Vikings a big boost, scoring 10 points. Jenna Kieper led the Falcons at half with seven points. Brouyette would finish the game with 16 points, leading all scorers.
Valley head coach Chris Kindig said Brouyette’s play was obviously key to his team’s win, but there was more than just one contributor to the Lady Vikings win.
“Freshmen didn’t play like freshmen tonight,” said Kindig. “That was a huge part of our win, but our seniors also stepped up and played like seniors tonight. Meredith (Brouyette) hit big shots for us all game. She would come down after Fairfield hit a shot and she would sink a shot of her own. But, again, our seniors played so well tonight and that’s what we need to happen.”
After the two teams matched each other in points scored in the third quarter, 12, Valley had a 34-32 lead. With the season on the line, Kindig’s seniors did step up in a huge way.
Cara Hoffman was the one upperclassmen that truly stole the show in the game’s final quarter. Hoffman scored 15 points on the night, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. Eight of those points came in the final two and a half minutes. Hoffman’s patient and effective play was huge in a quarter full of fast-paced scoring.
After Alexis Zook put the Falcons up 40-38 with 4:22 left in the game, Brouyette knocked down a big three to put Valley back up, 41-40. Anne Secrest later dished in two more points to put the Lady Vikings up 43-40. With just over three minutes left, Alyssa Zook drained a threefor Fairfield to tie things up, 43-43. Then Hoffman took over.
The senior hit back-to-back shots to give Valley a 47-43 lead with just 2:29 left in the game. Secrest added two free throws, followed by a pair from Hoffman. Hoffman later added two more free throws as did Teel. Taylor Trippiedi also sank a shot from the charity stripe for the Lady Vikings. Teel finished with 12 points and Secrest was the fourth Lady Viking to have double-digits as she tallied 10.
When all was said and done, the Vikings were 10-14 from the free throw line in the game while Fairfield was just 4-13 and 1-8 in the fourth quarter. In a game played so tight, Kindig was thankful for the high-percentage shooting from the line and just to get to play another day.
“We beat a good team tonight,” said an proud Kindig. “There’s no question about that and we don’t want to minimize that. We’re going to celebrate that tonight then get back to work for whoever we have to play on Friday.”
In the second game of Wednesday’s double header, No. 11 NorthWood defeated Wawasee 68-38. Valley (13-6) will play NorthWood (17-5) at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Friday night. Whitko (15-6) will play Lakeland (9-11) in the evening’s first game at 6 p.m.