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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Val T.

Akase, Shepherd each score 20 as Valley overpowers Rochester

Reinartz leads Zebras with 11


Sports Editor, RTC

Stephen Akase

AKRON — Tippecanoe Valley senior Riley Shepherd said he has broken his foot four times since May 2022.

So the word he received from his doctor Tuesday was an early Christmas present.

He can play basketball again.

Shepherd, a 6-5 wing, hit five 3-pointers and tied teammate Stephen Akase for game-high scoring honors with 20 points as the host Vikings overpowered Rochester 70-30 at the Rita Price Simpson Court Friday.

Akase also added 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Ian Cooksey also scored in double figures with 10 points, and Kyler Johnson had eight points and six rebounds for Valley, who improved to 5-3.

Riley Shepherd

It would appear that Shepherd’s presence will make things easier for Akase and Cooksey, who had combined for 32 points per game prior to Friday.

“The ability for him to knock down shots makes us a different team,” Valley coach Joe Luce said. “It gives Ian more of just a one-on-one. It allows Stephen in the post to have one-on-one stuff, and anytime, you can add 20 points to your team, it’s nice. The thing Riley did tonight is he also offensive-rebounded. I thought he guarded. I thought he was in the right positions.”

Tanner Reinartz scored 11 points to lead Rochester, who dropped to 3-3.

“It just goes to show how far we’ve got to go,” Rochester coach Rob Malchow said. “We tried probably eight different defenses, and their size and their strength were something at times we had no answer for. We would get it down, and we just couldn’t score the basketball. … That’s the first time we’ve played this year a team with that kind of size where you go 6-5, 6-6, 6-6, and they held their ground and made it really difficult for us to shoot over them or under them, and then when we did some looks on the perimeter and there were some, we just never had any rhythm.”

Rochester has not beaten Valley on Valley’s home floor since a holiday tournament game in December 2006. They have not won a regular season game at Valley since January 1994.

They were not about to lose this game either after Shepherd ripped cord on a 3-pointer from the left corner and a 23-footer from the right wing on his first two shots to give Valley a 6-2 lead.

“It felt amazing,” Shepherd said of his first two 3-pointers. “I’ve been wanting to hit those since the beginning of the season, since May. Because I’ve been sitting about four or five months, and it’s just been devastating sitting there. I wished I could be out there helping my team.”

Shepherd hit another trey in the second quarter as part of a 10-0 run that gave the Vikings a 20-7 lead.

Shepherd had eight more points in a three-possession span in the third quarter on a 3 from the right wing, a 3-point play in which he outraced the Zebras to the hoop and a putback. He added a 3-pointer for good measure in the fourth quarter.

He had been practicing with the team, but he went from “limited contact” to “full contact” earlier in the week.

“It started out as a fractured metatarsal in May of last year,” Shepherd said. “So then here we go, we go about a year again, and then we come to this past May and I fractured it again. We go into June, and I fractured it again, and then I started playing in August, and it was here at school that I actually broke it again, so then I had to have surgery, so it’s been quite a journey.”

Valley buried Rochester with a 13-0 run in the third quarter as the lead reached 48-18.

Once it got to 58-23 in the fourth quarter, a running clock went into effect per the IHSAA mercy rule.

If Shepherd, Akase and Cooksey are Valley’s marquee players, sophomore Davis Cowan might be the unsung hero. Cowan did not score on Friday – in fact, he did not even attempt a shot – but he helped hold Rochester’s Drew Bowers to nine points.

“Davis played good defense the whole game,” Luce said. “I thought in the first half, Davis was below average as far as what he was capable of, and we held a 15-point lead. I felt like it could have been more than that. Second half, he was fantastic. He got the ball everywhere it needed to be. I don’t think he took a shot all night, but he absolutely distributed it and ran the floor. After the game, I said to our team, ‘Anybody disagrees with me, tell me,’ but we go to the beat of Davis Cowan, and tonight in the second half, that was a big reason. And his defense was spectacular.”

Malchow said the players need to work better as a team to help Bowers get open.

“They did a really good job of taking Drew out by basically face-guarding him much of the game, and that’s something we’ve got to build on with Drew, so hopefully, if it happens again, Drew will have a better grasp on how to handle that,” Malchow said.

Rochester won the JV game 44-34.

Tippecanoe Valley 70, Rochester 30

ROCHESTER (30) (3-3)

Drew Bowers 3 3-4 9, Owen Prater 2 3-4 7, Bryce Baugher 0 0-2 0, Carson Paulik 0 0-0 0, Tanner Reinartz 4 1-2 11, Dylan Hook 0 1-2 1, Luke Malchow 0 0-0 0, Robert Bozzo 0 0-0 0, Jonas Kiser 0 0-0 0, Grant Clark 1 0-0 2

TEAM: 10 8-14 30

VALLEY (70) (5-3)

Davis Cowan 0 0-0 0, Ian Cooksey 4 0-0 10, Riley Shepherd 7 1-1 20, Stephen Akase 8 4-6 20, Kyler Johnson 3 2-2 8, Blain Sheetz 2 1-2 5, Wes Parker 1 2-2 5, DeOndre Hamilton 1 0-0 2, Owen Omondi 0 0-0 0, William Mellott 0 0-0 0, Aidan Shepherd 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 26 10-13 70

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 2 (Reinartz 2),

Valley 8 (R. Shepherd 5, Cooksey 2, Parker)

Total fouls: Rochester 14, Valley 16

Turnovers: Rochester 13, Valley 16

Score by quarters

Rochester 5 8 10 7 30

Valley 13 15 26 16 70

JV: Rochester 44, Valley 34

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