Braden Warren helped the Tigers keep pace in the first half with 13 points. He finished with a team-high 25, but scored nine of those in the final two minutes after Tipton had built a 59-44 lead.
The Blue Devils spent the final six minutes in the bonus as three Tigers fouled out, allowing the visitors to go 16 of 25 from the stripe in the fourth quarter. Degenkolb didn’t attempt a field goal in the final eight minutes, but was 10 of 10 at the line, making him 11 of 11 for the night. He finished 11 for 20 from the field for the game, but was 6 of 8 in that decisive third quarter.
“This was great because we’re a young team with a few sophomores and a freshman,” Degenkolb said. “So getting the jitters out was a big deal, because we plan on coming out and winning on Friday night and Saturday night. We just have to keep playing hard.”
Degenkolb is on a hot streak. He also had a 35-point game against Western in Tipton’s regular-season finale.
Brody Dell added 12 points in the win and Gutierrez finished with eight, while Nate Friend pulled down nine rebounds, which tied Warren for the game high.
Layton Carroll and Blaize Kelly each added 12 points for Alexandria. The Tigers were 24 of 50 from the field in the contest, but struggled to a 2-for-13 clip from beyond the arc.
Tipton faces Taylor (6-13) in Friday’s semifinal, where the Blue Devils will look to earn passage to their sixth straight sectional championship game.