GREENTOWN — Tipton’s girls basketball team reached its 10th win of the season Tuesday night with a 50-38 win over the Eastern Comets, improving to 10-7 on the year, while Eastern fell to 12-6.
“This one was one we wanted pretty bad, because it got us to our 10th win,” said Tipton coach Chad Wetz.
Eastern came out on top after the first eight minutes, 12-8, following a strong start from sophomore Kara Otto, who scored four of her six points in the first period and was a defensive staple in the paint.
After trailing by four after one, the Blue Devils came out in the second period with a renewed sense of urgency.
“The biggest thing wasn’t a basketball adjustment,” said Wetz, “it was an intensity adjustment. We came out flat and were acting like we were just going through the motions, so I hollered at them a little in a timeout and we started playing like we were supposed to.”
Tipton allowed just two Eastern field goals early in the second quarter before shutting the Comets out for over five minutes.
The combination of sophomore Abigail Parker and freshman Ashley Schram helped Tipton take a six-point lead to the half, 23-18. Eastern really struggled against a hard-nosed Tipton defense that altered shots in the paint, forced turnovers, and made any ball movement a struggle.
“They are a really solid team with a lot of upperclassmen,” Wetz said of his team’s defensive strategy against Eastern. “Keying in on the senior leadership of 34 [Jeanie Crabtree] at the point, and not letting, especially 10 [McKenzie Cooper], get shots on the perimeter was the key. And I thought we did that pretty well.”
The Blue Devils’ offensive intensity picked up as well in the second period, as the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Ella Wolfe, controlled the tempo by driving the lane and either dishing to Schram for the layup or finding her teammates open on the perimeter. Parker scored eight of her game-high 19 in the second period.
Perhaps the Blue Devils’ best play came after the half when they continued their defensive lockdown of the Comets, only allowing three points in the third quarter. Tipton got its first double-figure lead of the night, 30-20, as sophomore Olivia Spidel scored a field goal midway through the period.
The Comets’ offensive struggles continued through the third period, with senior Lexi James scoring all three of the team’s points in the quarter. James finished the game with five points.
The largest lead of the night came on a Schram field goal early in the final quarter, to give the Blue Devils a 42-22 advantage.
Eastern put together its best run of the game, scoring the game’s next six field goals. However trips to the foul line for Tipton hindered the Comets’ ability to make a serious run for the game, as the Blue Devils shot 6 of 12 from the stripe in the fourth quarter.
Eastern’s Addison Budde scored the last two points of the game, but it was settled — Tipton 50, Eastern 38.
“We definitely didn’t play a pretty game,” Eastern coach Andy Steele said. “I thought our defense was pretty good throughout the game. There were times were we let our defense lapse and Tipton took advantage. Offensively, we struggled to knock down shots. We have to learn to run our offense more efficiently when we are struggling.
“Tipton simply outplayed us. This is not an excuse for losing, but I’m proud of the fight our girls had. We are fighting sickness and injury — and the girls are doing what they can to compete in every game.”