ELWOOD — Tipton’s girls basketball team cruised past Eastern 61-32 in Tuesday’s opening game of the Class 2A Elwood Sectional, advancing to play Sheridan (14-6) in Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal.
A big second quarter boosted the No. 5-ranked Blue Devils to a 34-15 halftime lead that never fell below double digits the rest of the way.
Tipton (14-4) held a 19-11 after Brook Haalck’s basket for Eastern made it an eight-point game a minute into the second quarter. The Devils strung together a 10-0 run over the next 5 1/2 minutes to go up 29-11 on the way to the big halftime advantage.
“If you don’t take care of the basketball, they can go on quick spurts like that in a hurry,” Eastern coach Justin Coomer said. “Their pressure is relentless. Even if they don’t turn you over, they speed you up. They make you play faster than what you’re used to. They dictated the pace and got us out of rhythm.”
Eastern (5-16) committed 11 first-half miscues and 21 for the game in a contest that had the makings of a thriller early as there were four lead changes and two ties over the first 2 1/2 minutes. Tipton took the game’s final lead on Kacie Juday’s hoop at 5:24, making it 7-6 in a game that was all Devils the rest of the way.
“It was rough early but we were able to battle through some things,” Tipton coach Nick Comer said. “We got some of the emotion of the day out of our system and were able to just play really well together and support one another throughout.”
Less than three hours before tipoff Tuesday night, Juday, along with fellow starter Molly Mahaney and reserve Morgan Earl, were in a car wreck. Two other members of the team who didn’t dress for the game Tuesday, Natalie Moses and Leah Powell, were also in the accident, but no serious injuries resulted for any of the girls.