TIPTON — Size, speed and pressure were keys to victory for Tipton’s boys basketball team on Tuesday night against Tri-Central. The Blue Devils’ 98-70 victory in the Pilgrim Cup was led by seniors Ben Humrichous and Dalton Money, Tipton’s 13th straight.
Humrichous scored 27 points, going 11 of 14 from the field, and led the team with 11 rebounds. Money finished with 24 points, going 9 of 13 from the field. Both finished 4 of 6 from behind the arc.
Tipton not only scored quickly, jumping out to a 26-8 lead over the Trojans nearing the end of the first quarter, but pressure on the defense reigned supreme for the Blue Devils. The Trojans turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter alone.
“The most important thing to me is that our players play with energy, effort, and enthusiasm regardless of what the score is,” said Tipton coach Cliff Hawkins, who opened his tenure at the helm of Tipton with a victory.
“And the other thing is, we aggressively attack with attitude. Our game plan wasn’t about anything but energy, effort, and enthusiasm. ...That was our goal [Tuesday].”
Money was the early Blue Devil catalyst, scoring nine and going 4-5 from the field in the first quarter. Humrichous used his size to prevent second-chance opportunities for the Trojans by grabbing four defensive rebounds and a block.
Despite the Trojans’ slow start, Hawkins was quick to give credit to Tri-Central.
“I want to give credit to Tri-Central,” said Hawkins. “I thought their team showed a lot of resilience [and] hanging in there when things got to [going] a little haywire there. I thought they came back nicely.”
He specifically pointed out Jake Chapman, who transferred to Tri-Central over the summer. Chapman led the way for Tri-Central with 20 points.
Tipton was also generous with each other, with the core varsity group all scoring at least four points.
Tri-Central coach Bill Bowen acknowledged that the start of the game set the tone.
“It was frantic,” Bowen said. “They just got us sped up. We just made errors, which led to easy baskets [and] runouts for them.
“Their pressure and their speed forced us to play faster than what we are accustomed to playing, and we didn’t do very well with that.”
Bowen did point out the positives. The team won the third quarter and scored 70 points, coming off a season where the Trojans averaged just over 47 points and scored more than 50 points only nine times.
“We didn’t get out to a good start, but after that I thought we battled pretty well.”
More positives for Tri-Central was that they had three players in double figures. Chapman led with his 20 points and Michael Carr and Braxton Young contributed 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Tri-Central plays two games on Saturday in the North Miami Tournament while Tipton has to wait until next Tuesday at home against Monroe Central.