Wagner scores 26 in loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON –- Sidney Wagner scored 26 points, and Kaydence Mellott added 17, but the Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball team lost to visiting Plymouth 71-61 on Rita Price Simpson Court Thursday.
Valley trailed 36-27 at halftime and by as many as 14 points in the second half before
rallying within six on two different occasions in the second half.
The last time they got within six came on a Wagner 3-pointer off the dribble to make 60-54 with just over four minutes left.
But Lindsay Janus found Tallulah Gault for a layup, and Gault scored again on a putback to restore a 10-point lead.
Gault, a 5-10 senior forward, led Plymouth with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Janus, a 5-7 senior point guard, added 18 points, and sophomore forward Taylor Delp had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Plymouth held a 45-28 rebounding advantage.
Valley coach Chris Kindig said his team lacked an “inside presence” with senior post player Hayley Backus missing her third straight game with a torn right knee ligament.
“The big part of that number was I think they had 16 offensive (rebounds),” Valley coach Chris Kindig said. “So we went through that period there in that late second quarter where they got their lead. So it was a nine-point lead going into the half, and obviously, it ended up being a 10-point game, so we played them fairly even, but there were times down the floor where they were getting two or three shots. We just couldn’t get a rebound. We’ve just got to really work over the next couple weeks … to shore up our rebounding situation. Obviously, if we can get Hayley Backus back, that would help us some. But you know what, rebounding is a want-to thing, and we’ve got to want-to a lot more than what we did tonight.”
Plymouth coach Dave Duncan called Wagner “tremendous.” But he said his team’s offense helped them pull through.
“This was a group that probably shared the ball as well as any game we’ve had this year,” Duncan said. “Obviously, 10 (Wagner) is very hard to guard. … So it was hard on the defensive end. They just shoot the ball so well. This was probably our best effort of sharing the ball on the offensive end.”
The 71 points were the most Valley has allowed in a game since a 72-47 loss to Heritage Christian in the 2016 regional final and the most Valley has allowed on their home floor since a 78-42 loss to Noblesville on Nov. 24, 2012, in the Valley Thanksgiving Classic.
Valley has relied primarily on a 2-3 zone through five games. That’s not Kindig’s preferred defense. But when Valley tried man-to-man, Kindig said Valley’s help-side defense was lacking whenever a Plymouth player like Janus penetrated off the dribble.
“This isn’t my first rodeo,” Kindig said. “We would like to be a team that can play man-to-man really well, and we’re not there yet. And a lot of that is having such fractured practices over the last two or three weeks, and I don’t think our conditioning is the best right now either. That affects you on defense at times, moving your feet. … I didn’t think we did a good job defensively down on the post either.”
The game was tied 16-16 after one quarter. Valley fell behind 6-0 but hit four 3-pointers in the quarter, including two by Wagner.
Both Wagner and Mellott were blanked in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Plymouth shooting guard Kaylee Dragani scored all nine of her points. Sophomore forward-post Corinna Stiles had six of Valley’s 11 points in the second quarter.
Plymouth also took the JV game 32-20. Molly Moriarty scored seven points, and Chesnee Miller added four for Valley.
Plymouth 71, Valley 61
PLYMOUTH (71) (3-3)
Emma Cook 0 0-0 0, Lindsay Janus 6 4-4 18, Kaylee Dragani 3 1-3 9, Tallulah Gault 10 1-4 23, Taylor Delp 7 3-5 17, Madie Mann 0 0-0 0, Kenzie DeJarnatt 1 0-0 2, Clare Sheedy 0 2-2 2
TEAM: 27 11-18 71
VALLEY (61) (3-2)
Sidney Wagner 9 4-4 26, Lily Ault 1 0-0 3, Kaydence Mellott 5 3-4 17, Ashley Butler 1 1-4 4, Corinna Stiles 3 0-2 6, Rily Holloway 0 1-2 1, Mercedes Snapp 2 0-0 4
TEAM: 21 9-16 61
Three-point field goals:
Plymouth 6 (Gault 2, Janus 2, Dragani 2),
Valley 10 (Wagner 4, Mellott 4, Butler, Ault)
Total fouls: Plymouth 16, Valley 16
Turnovers: Plymouth 18, Valley 9
Score by quarters
Plymouth 16 20 18 17 – 71
Valley 16 11 18 16 – 61
JV: Plymouth 32, Valley 20