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  • Val T.

Caston girls hold off Peru for 3rd straight Miami County Invite title

Zimpleman, Scales combine for 30, make all-tournament team


Sports Editor, RTC

BUNKER HILL — The Peru girls basketball team has figured out a way to score on Caston, but they have not yet figured out a way to beat them.

Caston’s Macee Hinderlider and Addison Zimpleman (13) double-team Peru’s Addison Robbins during the Miami County Invitational final at Maconaquah Thursday. Caston won 51-47 to win the tournament for the third straight year and improve to 15-0. Zimpleman and teammate Isabel Scales were named to the all-tournament team. (photo provided by Dee Brown)

Addison Zimpleman scored a game-high 16 points, including two free throws with 22.5 seconds left that pushed the lead to four, and Isabel Scales scored seven of her 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lady Comets to a 51-47 win over Peru in the Miami County Invitational final at Maconaquah Thursday.

Scales also had 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Bailey Harness added 11 points, but her biggest contribution might have been a steal of a Peru pass with just under 30 seconds left right after a Peru timeout and the Lady Comets clinging to a two-point lead. Caston made the defensive play without Scales, who had fouled out with 38.6 seconds left.

Caston, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A, won the tournament for the third straight year and improved to 15-0. Both Scales and Zimpleman made the all-tournament team.

“We’re going to fight,” Caston coach Josh Douglass said. “We’re going to finish. We’re going to find a way.”

Caston also beat Peru for the second time this season and their fifth straight meeting overall.

But stopping the Lady Tigers is a different issue. Peru averaged 49 ppg in two meetings against Caston this season. The penurious Lady Comets came in allowing only 29 ppg.

Only one opponent has scored at least 40 points in a game against Caston, and Peru has now done it twice.

Caston’s Addison Zimpleman, left, and Isabel Scales were named to the all-Miami County Invitational team after the Lady Comets’ 51-47 win over Peru Thursday. Zimpleman led Caston with 16 points, and Scales had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“I don’t know,” Douglass said when asked why Peru has been so successful at scoring on his team’s defense. “That’s what we were just trying to figure out. They’ve got five girls that all can handle the ball fairly decent. You know, they got there.”

Emma Eldridge, who also made the all-tournament team, scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Peru (4-9). Brianna Bennett chipped in with 12.

Caston did not have a two-point field goal in the fourth quarter, but Scales and Zimpleman each hit 3-pointers, and the Lady Comets scored their final 11 points on free throws.

Caston went 23 for 32 from the line while Peru went 4 for 8.

“It shows a lot of our team if we can grit that out,” Zimpleman said. “Then I think that shows how deep we can go. And you’re not going to make every single shot, and sometimes, things aren’t going to fall, but you’ve got to make do. You’ve got to put that extra time in. You’ve got to be more aggressive but be more smart at the same time.”

But it was two missed free throws from Zimpleman with 37.2 seconds left that might have given Peru their best chance.

First-year Peru coach Jenna Hayes called timeout with 31.3 seconds left and Caston leading 47-45. They tried to penetrate the lane on the ensuing possession, but Harness stepped in front of the pass, and Zimpleman atoned by hitting two from the line.

“We ran the play exactly like we wanted,” Hayes said. “We didn’t get a shot. … They ran it exactly how we wanted. We didn’t get the second action off it, and I think we panicked, and Caston played great defense, stepped up and got the steal when they needed to.”

Peru called their final timeout with 19.1 seconds left, but Addison Robbins’ drive along the left baseline hit the underside of the backboard, and Kinzie Mollenkopf hit two more free throws to make it 51-45 with 10.2 seconds left.

Asked if Caston is the most physical team that her team has faced this season, Hayes, a former Pioneer assistant coach, later replied “absolutely.”

Caston travels to Class 1A, No. 11 Clinton Central on Tuesday before their final two Hoosier North games against Culver at home Thursday and LaVille on the road Saturday afternoon.

Caston 51, Peru 47

CASTON (51) (15-0)

Macee Hinderlider 1 0-0 3, Isabel Scales 2 9-12 14, Addison Zimpleman 4 7-12 16, Kinzie Mollenkopf 1 5-6 7, Bailey Harness 4 2-2 11, Annie Harsh 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 12 23-32 51

PERU (47) (4-9)

Brianna Bennett 4 3-6 12, Emma Eldridge 5 1-2 13, Cameryn Raber 3 0-0 9, Addison Robbins 4 0-0 9, Brooklyn Garner 1 0-0 2, Kaylene Kirk 1 0-0 2, Maddie Nordman 0 0-0 0

TEAM: 18 4-8 47

Three-point field goals:

Caston 4 (Scales, Zimpleman, Hinderlider, Harness),

Peru 7 (Raber 3, Eldridge 2, Bennett, Robbins)

Total fouls: Caston 13, Peru 21

Fouled out: Scales (CAS), :38.6, fourth; Kirk (PERU), :10.2, fourth

Turnovers: Caston 9, Peru 10

Score by quarters

Caston 13 13 7 18 – 51

Peru 11 8 13 15 – 47

The Class 1A, No. 3 Caston girls basketball team beat Peru 51-47 Thursday to win the Miami County Invitational for the third straight year. Caston won their second tournament of the season, also having taken the Cass County Invitational on Dec. 3. Caston (15-0) will travel to Class 1A, No. 11 Clinton Central on Tuesday.

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