INDIANAPOLIS – The super sweet season that was for the Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball team drew to a bitter end on the game’s biggest stage Saturday evening in the IHSAA Class 3A state championship game. The Lady Vikings put it all out on the court one last time but came up short as Princeton and its hoops phenom would win its first-ever girls state title, 72-44.
It was a classic battle between the unstoppable force and the immovable object. Valley came in with one of the better scoring defenses in the state, but the Lady Vikings had no answer for Princeton’s Jackie Young. Young set the state’s single season scoring record (967 points) in last week’s semi-state and continued her record-breaking trend against Valley.
The junior extended that record to 1,003 points as she led all scorers with 36 points. Though the game was well in control at the time, Young’s brightest moment came at the 5:04 mark in the fourth quarter.
Kiare Young pulled down a rebound off a Valley miss and got he ball to her sister, Jackie, who took it to the hoop for two. The shot put her team up 66-37 but the shot’s significance was much bigger than that. It was young’s 34th point of the night, which set a new record for points in a 3A title game and put the Notre Dame recruit’s season total at 1,001. Her 36th point eclipsed Oregon-Davis’ Ashley Campbell’s 34-point effort (2014) for the all-time finals scoring record.
Valley senior Caylie Teel spent most of her night trying to stop the scoring machine, and Teel had nothing but respect for her after the contest.
“Guarding Jackie Young was really an honor to me,” Teel remarked. “I did my best, I did what I could but, she’s just an amazing player. She’s going to continue to do great things.”
Young now has 2,290 career points, putting her well within striking distance of both the girls all-time scoring record held by Wawasee’s Shanna Zolman (3,085 points) and Damon Bailey’s (Bedford North Lawrence) state scoring record of 3,134 points.
“She’s only a junior, I really hate to think that she can get any better,” joked Valley head coach Chris Kindig of Young. “She’s a tough matchup. I don’t know that there’s been a team that has stopped her yet this year. We tried and just weren’t very successful.”
Princeton took advantage of a stiff Valley team in the second quarter and would go into the half with a 38-22 lead after closing the quarter on a 13-0 run. That momentum carried over into the third where the Lady Tigers would essentially put the game away with a 20-point frame behind a 16-point effort from Young.
Young also set a 3A record for most field goals made (15) while her team set new records for most field goals made (31), most points in a half (38), largest margin of victory (28) and tied for most total points (72).
While Young stole the show, the accomplishment’s that the Lady Vikings made this year could certainly not be overshadowed.
“When the tournament began, the consensus was that it would be great to see the girls win the sectional and experience the regional,” said Valley athletic director Duane Burkhart with a smirk. “Well, I think the girls had bigger plans in mind.”
Bigger plans was putting it lightly. The Lady Vikings won the program’s first-ever regional and semi-state titles, won a program-best 25 games and played in the school’s first state title game since the 1979 Viking football team. And though the ending was not what the girls had hoped for, they would not change the journey they went on together.
“Just to get to this point, we know we’re blessed. I wouldn’t want to do this with any other team, I know that. I’m proud of my team,” Valley senior Taylor Trippiedi stated.
“This was definitely the most memorable senior year I could have had and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Teel said. “I can’t imagine having any other team go through this with. We call each other a family because we are. We have our tiffs on the court, but we’re a family.”
That family appeal proved to go beyond the girls on the court as the support from the Valley community was seen in full force throughout this postseason run. Another inspiring Valley crowd packed its section at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“It’s just a great compliment to our community, they were really behind us. It was a great run,” Kindig said.
“It’s an amazing feeling knowing that we had so much support,” stated Teel. “I’m pretty sure the two towns in our community were pretty much ghost towns today. It’s amazing seeing that sea of green. I’m proud to be a part of this community.”
Teel and Trippiedi capped their careers with solid showings in the title tilt. Teel tallied seven points, three assists, two steals and a block. Trippiedi, meanwhile, scored 11 points and added five rebounds, tied for a game-high with four steals and had a pair of assists. Trippiedi also received the honor of being named the recipient of the Patricia L. Roy Mential Attitude Award.
Sophomore Anne Secrest led the Lady Vikings with 18 points and nine boards while also tallying three steals. Valley shot 43-percent from the field to Princeton’s 55-percent efficiency. The Lady Tigers won the battle on the boards 35-22. Valley closes the season with a 25-3 record.
For box scores and recaps from all of Saturday’s girls championship games, follow this link.