BY TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — In order to get him prepared for the upcoming state tournament, Kokomo wrestling coach Ryan Wells has alternated 220-pounder Fletcher Miller between the 220 and heavyweight classes this to allow Miller to see the best competition possible.
The Indiana University recruit did battle in one of his more notable challenges of the season Wednesday night, bumping up to 285 and topping Tri-Central’s Darius Stanley 15-3 as the Wildkats rolled past the Trojans 70-9 on senior night. Miller improved to 35-0 on the season, with 31 of those wins coming by pin.
“Fletcher is planning to wrestle heavyweight at IU, and it’s good to see those bigger kids to see that size and strength,” Wells said. “He gets to go out and outmove those bigger guys who don’t know how to handle his movement. It’s good to see those big, strong guys. The [Gelen] Robinson kid who beat him [in the state finals] last year is a big, strong kid, so we’re trying to get him as many looks as we can, and that’s exactly what we did [Wednesday] night. Stanley is a good, tough kids, and I Fletcher has a good match against him.”
Szhantrayle Robinson won by pin at 132 for the Kats, as did Wyatt Lowe at 138, DaShawn Barbary at 145, Chad Gaddis at 152, Keair Ross at 182 and Evan Heim at 195. Gaddis improved to 32-3 on the year with the win, while Ross picked up his pin in 12 seconds to up his season record to 27-3.
Jadin Wright (106), Scotty Barbary (126), Jesse Johnson (160), Nick Fox (170) and Brenton Etherington (220) all accepted forfeits for Kokomo, as well.
“It was senior night and our last home match of the season, so it was good to get a big win and have a nice feeling in our last dual of the season,” Wells said. “I feel like we’re starting to peak at the right time, as well as we can get everyone healthy and continuing to fine-tune their technique. Peaking in the next couple weeks is our goal, that that what’s important when the state series starts.”
TIPTON 58, DELPHI 52
The Blue Devils shrugged off a slow start and played well enough down the stretch to come away with a 58-52 Hoosier Conference victory over the visiting Oracles
It was Tipton’s 38th straight conference victory and improved the Blue Devils record to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
“We were really focusing on a couple of fundamentals that we didn’t get right during the game and that was a little bit frustrating,” Tipton Coach Brad Dickey said. “But it’s footwork stuff and it’s hard to have good footwork when you haven’t played in a month, so that’s just the way that was. We’re happy to have held on and won another conference game. I thought Delphi did a really good job. They were well prepared and well coached and our kids were good enough.”
It was Tipton’s first action since an overtime loss to Westfield at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse on Dec. 21.
Sophomore Mason Degenkolb scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Devils. He knocked down 8 of 12 field goals and 8 of 9 free throws.
Junior Brody Dell chipped in a career-high 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field and 2 for 2 accuracy at the line.
Jon Ross added 7 points that included perfect 4 of 4 work at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. Nate Friend chipped in 5 points.
All that was needed to offset Delphi’s backcourt combo of Brent Hawn and Kolby Myer, who combined to knock down 9 of 16 3-point shots and score 44 points. Hawn led the way with 23 and was 8 of 17 from the field (5-12 from 3-point range). Myer finished with 21 points and was 4 for 4 from behind the arc.
Ross opened the game with a 3-pointer and Tipton raced out to a 7-2 lead. But Delphi responded by closing out the quarter on a 12-2 run with Myer’s bucket giving the Oracles a 14-9 lead.
Tipton outscored Delphi 16-6 over the first 7:20 of the second quarter with back-to-back baskets by Degenkolb putting Tipton up 25-20.
But a 3-pointer by Hawn had the Oracles within two, 25-23, at intermission.
The Blue Devils then prevailed in a low-scoring third quarter, outscoring their guests 9-4. Dell had six points in the period as Tipton extended its lead to 34-27 entering the fourth quarter.
Dell then drained a 3 early in the fourth to push Tipton’s lead to 37-27. The Devils still had a 10-point lead, 47-37, with 3:33 left to play.
But Delphi rallied behind their guards. Hawn and Myer each hit 3s to cut Tipton’s lead to 51-47 with 1:12 remaining. But the Devils went 7 of 8 at the line to keep the Oracles at bay.
— Michelle Garmon