The winter storm that dumped more than 6 inches of snow in Central Indiana Monday into Tuesday kept Tipton’s girls basketball team out of the gym for one day.
The Blue Devils’ focus did not waver, which is understandable. They are in the Class 2A Final Four, after all.
“The days that we’ve had the opportunity to get into the gym, the mood has been fantastic, the work ethic hasn’t slowed down at all,” coach Chad Wetz said Thursday afternoon. “We know we have an opportunity to do something that no basketball team in our school’s history, boys or girls, has done and that’s win a semistate. So we really feel this is a great opportunity to do something special. We’re very excited about that.”
Tipton (19-7) faces North Judson (20-5) in the Class 2A North Semistate at 4 p.m. Saturday at Logansport’s Berry Bowl. The winner will advance to play the South Semistate winner in the State Finals on Feb. 27.
North Judson is led by Indiana All-Star candidate and Indiana Wesleyan recruit Lillian Frasure. The 5-foot-10 senior guard averages 24.1 points, 10 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.3 steals per game. Career-wise, she has more than 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 steals.
“She’s like a high school female version of Charles Barkley,” Wetz said. “She does it all. She’ll run the point, she’ll post, she’ll back you down and she’ll drain 3-pointers. She has an uncanny knack for always being in the right place at the right time.”
The Bluejays’ other top players include 5-8 sophomore guard Sophia Frasure (11.3 points), 5-7 sophomore guard Olivia Burkett (7.8 points) and 5-10 senior guard Abby Chambers (7.1 points, 6.5 rebounds). The Bluejays score 55.9 points and hold opponents to 37.2.
“We obviously know that Lillian Frasure is an All-Star-caliber player so she’ll draw a lot of our attention, but her sister is really good too and they have a complement of nice players,” Wetz said. “We’ll need to draw from that strong defense that we played in regional against solid players and put a good game plan together.”
Tipton’s defense in the regional was outstanding. The Blue Devils beat Frankton 57-44 and beat Clinton Prairie 48-35, holding both well under their season offensive averages.
Wetz said the Blue Devils’ defense started to lock in late in the regular season.
“We went through a stretch in the middle part of January where we weren’t playing well on either end of the floor,” he said. “We felt like our defense was letting down our offense. We weren’t playing well offensively, but it was because we were letting other teams do whatever they wanted. That stretch of January was when we as a team decided to up our game defensively.
“We’ve been stressing defense probably more than offense — we said if our defense gets better, our offense will come around. We’ve seen that happen.”
Tipton scores 57.4 points and holds opponents to 43.2.
The Blue Devils’ top players include 6-2 sophomore post Ashlee Schram (14.3 points, 12.4 rebounds), 5-7 junior guard Ella Wolfe (14.2 points, 2.8 assists), junior guard Abigail Parker (11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds), 5-8 freshman forward Kaiya Money (6.7 points) and 5-8 junior forward Olivia Spidel (6.2 points).
Tipton is making its first semistate appearance since 2014. North Judson is making its first since 2005 when it beat Taylor to reach the state finals where it lost to Shenandoah.