TC vs Taylor GBB 11.jpg

Tri-Central’s Gracie Grimes protects the ball as Taylor’s Katie Hogan, left, and Emma Good, right, apply defensive pressure during Friday’s game at Sharpsville. Grimes scored 13 points to help the Trojans take a 39-38 win.

Tri-Central’s girls basketball team forced Taylor to try and conjure up another dose of last-second magic Friday night but the Titans didn’t have another buzzer-beater in them.

The Trojans outlasted Taylor 39-38 in front of a spirited crowd at Sharpsville. The Trojans got up a dozen points early in the fourth quarter, leading 34-22, and built enough cushion to survive as Taylor made a run to close the game.

TC led 39-36 after Karley Leininger hit one of two free throws with :28 left. Taylor closed the deficit to a point on an off-balance post hoop by Kelsi Langley with :10 left, then forced a TC turnover in the press.

The Titans had 5.8 seconds left when they inbounded on their attacking side of the court. The ball moved to freshman Jallainah Harris, who missed a deep 3-pointer. Katie Hogan got an offensive rebound for Taylor and put up an instant shot from the baseline that didn’t drop as the buzzer sounded.

On that last possession, the Titans didn’t find either Emma Good — who hit a buzzer-beater to beat Kokomo on Nov. 10 — or Langley, their two scoring leaders who combined for 29 points.

“I’m all for all the kids taking shots, but we know who should be shooting the basketball [in that situation],” Taylor coach Tony Oliver said. “But you know what, that kid [Harris] is a freshman and I love that she wanted to take that shot.”

Oliver said the game “came down to all the 50-50 balls we lost, and we got crushed on the rebounds, that’s what it came down to. It wasn’t that last shot or that last possession. I’m proud of the girls for fighting back like that — they had a shot to win it.”

Tri-Central improved to 2-4 with the win in its Hoosier Heartland Conference opener. Taylor suffered its first loss and is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the HHC.

Forward Gracie Grimes led TC with 13 points and seven rebounds. Leininger added 12 points, and Megan Connor and Elaynna Young each grabbed six boards.

“They battled hard, they rebounded I thought really well,” TC coach Mathew Corn said. “We talked about before the game if we rebounded well and took care of the ball better than we have been, we’re going to give ourselves a chance and I thought we did that.”

Tri-Central edged Taylor 31-30 on the glass, but made hay on their own misses with 14 offensive rebounds, leading directly to a dozen points.

“Our first bucket, Allie Younce got that putback. It’s big for her confidence, but just good for us in general,” Corn said. “When we’re rebounding, we’re a much better team. We gave ourselves extra chances multiple times which is nice to see.”

The Trojans and Titans were tied at 12-all after a quarter and TC led 25-22 at halftime. TC then shut out the Titans in the third quarter, forcing 11 turnovers and taking a 32-22 lead into the final frame.

“We’ve had slow starts just about every game, and I thought we really came out and played well first quarter and that kind of catapulted us into the third where we kind of stretched it out a little bit,” Corn said.

Langley scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Good scored 13. The Titans were held to 14 of 42 from the floor and had 19 turnovers.

“We were playing zone the whole night but we were kind of matching up with those two out of the zone,” Corn said. “That is the engine for them — those two. We wanted to try to take them away as much as possible. I thought we did a really good job in that.”

Taylor fought back in the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run with a 3-point play by Alexandra Collins and 3-pointers by Good and Langley. The Titans were never able to tie however.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Oliver said. “They battled, they hung in there, and I told them we were going to go on a run. I looked them right in the face and told them we would go on a run and we did. It just comes down to the 50-50 balls and rebounding.”

Pedro Velazco, Kokomo Tribune

TIPTON 57, WESTERN 50

Class 2A No. 1 Tipton beat visiting Western 57-50 in a Hoosier Conference East Division game.

The win was coach Chad Wetz’s 100th at Tipton.

“That’s all about the fact we’ve had some great players come through here in my seven years,” Wetz said. “From [Macie] Lively to [Cassidy] Crawford to this batch right now that have taken us to some special places. It’s pretty special to count all those when you’ve got great kids.”

Tipton led wire to wire, but had to hold off Western’s late charge. Ashlee Schram went 4 of 4 at the free-throw line in the final :31 to help preserve Tipton’s victory. The 6-foot-3 junior was a perfect 6 for 6 at the charity stripe. The rest of the team was 4 of 14 from the line. Schram finished with team-highs of 15 points and eight rebounds.

Also for the Blue Devils (3-1, 1-1 HC), Ella Wolfe scored 10 points and dished five assists. Abigal Parker and Olivia Spidel chipped in eight points apiece.

For Western (3-3, 0-1 HC), Caroline Long scored 10 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. She also had eight rebounds. Karson Lechner added 13 points and nine boards and Mackenzie York scored 10 points.

“We competed for basically three quarters,” Western coach Lisa Pflueger said. “It’s getting that fast start and matching the intensity from the get go. We’re playing a great Tipton team, lot of talent, lot of intensity. We had to play our best game.

“Very proud of our kids, we don’t quit. Half of our team is sophomores and we’re growing up fast.”

Michelle Garmon, Tipton Tribune

EASTERN 39, ROSSVILLE 34

Eastern traveled to Rossville for an HHC game and came away with its first win of the season, and new coach Jake Fleenor’s first career win.

Eastern led at all four stops including 11-10 after the first quarter, 20-17 at halftime and 31-27 after the third quarter.

“The girls really wanted this one and it showed out there on the floor,” Fleenor said. “Defensively we played one of our best games playing team defense. We also had scoring from different places. I am proud of the way that we have improved each practice and the want-to-get-better attitude as a team.”

Kara Otto led the Comets (1-4, 1-1 HHC) with 14 points, Macy Coan backed her with 12 points and Maggie Johnson had nine. Kenzie Degraaff cleared 10 rebounds, Coan had seven boards and Otto had six.

CARROLL 65, CL. CENTRAL 49

Alli Harness scored 29 points, Madison Wagner scored 25 and the Cougars pulled away from the Bulldogs for a 65-49 win in HHC play.

Also for the Cougars (4-2, 2-0 HHC), Laney Johnson had seven points and 11 rebounds. Wagner had eight boards and Harness had six boards and three assists.

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