Cumberland, Kiser help in-shape Valley beat Argos in home opener
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON — Nolan Cumberland scored 19 points, Tayde Kiser had a season-high 17, and Kyler Johnson added 11 to lead the Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team to a 69-32 win over Argos on Nov. 29.
Already leading 27-20 at halftime, Valley opened the second half on an 11-0 run to get the lead to 18. They went on another 19-0 run covering the third and fourth quarters as the lead reached 64-29.
J.J. Morris led Argos with 17 points. He had eight of the Dragons’ 12 points in the second half.
Valley won first-year coach Joe Luce’s initial home game and improved to 2-1. Argos dropped to 1-1.
“I think it comes back to we got stops,” Luce said. “And when you get some multiple back-to-back stops, and we chart number of stops we get in a row, I bet we go back and look, we probably are at three to seven stops in a row during that run, and then once you get out and you’re running, you get some transition, you start feeling good.
We have some players. They finally were able to knock down a couple shots, and honestly were able to do a lot more with me having to call sets and me having to do things, and they really kind of came into their own, and I thought played an excellent second half.”
Riley Shepherd, who finished with eight points, scored on a post move off a Kiser assist to start the second half. A Cumberland hook in early offense after a spin in the lane got the lead to 11. Two Johnson free throws made it a 13-point lead.
Argos went to a halfcourt trap after Morris was called for a five-second closely-guarded violation, and Valley bespoke the trap with Cumberland driving and scoring and drawing Sean Richard’s fourth foul.
His free throw completed the 3-point play and pushed the lead to 16. A Cumberland bucket in transition got the lead to 38-20.
“He’s a smart basketball kid,” Luce said of Cumberland. “He’s playing really well. He should be confident. I’ve told Nolan before there should be no settling at any point on where he’s at as far as the number of shots he’s taken or the points that he’s got. He should be our threat, our guy that we’re going to go to, and then when it does, it opens up for everybody else.”
Kiser was also more aggressive offensively. He came in averaging eight points per game, but he more than doubled that total while also guarding the 6-6 Morris.
He said he loves the challenge of stopping great scorers like Morris, adding that it allows him to play with an “edge” throughout the game.
“Just face-guarding him,” Kiser said of his defensive plan against Morris. “He’s a tough player. He’s big. He’s a lot bigger than me. Went help side. Help side helps a lot. My goal was to keep him out of the paint, and I think I did a pretty good job of it.”
Kiser said Luce has brought “hard work” to the program.
“Before the season, we did a month of just straight conditioning,” Kiser said. “Didn’t touch a basketball. Just straight conditioning every day, and that’s helped us a lot.”
Argos was coming off a 46-30 win over a Bremen team that beat them twice last year. Though Nate Manikowski hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points in addition to Morris’ output, Argos otherwise struggled.
“After a loss like this, I try not to overanalyze,” Argos coach Jason Breden said. “We’ve got to find out what type of team we are. We won our first game by 16. We let it get off the rails in that second half. The scoreboard doesn’t show it, but it was a four-point game with a minute or two to go in that first half. If we can clean up some things in practice the next two days and have a solid game against West Central and pick up a solid win or we can see if we head in the other direction. I’m just challenging our guys to come to practice ready to work tomorrow, and we’ll see if we’re going to be a team that improves and wants to compete in games or if we’re just going to let games get away from us.”
Valley 69, Argos 32
ARGOS (32) (1-1)
Nate Manikowski 3 0-0 9, Sean Richard 2 2-2 6, J.J. Morris 6 4-7 17, Elijah Osborn 0 0-0 0, Luke Stults 0 0-1 0, A.J. Mills 0 0-0 0, Hayden Hensler 0 0-0 0, Gabe McMillen 0 0-0 0, Mack Calhoun 0 0-0 0, Dominic Burns 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 11 6-10 32
VALLEY (69) (2-1)
Cooper Walls 3 3-3 9, Tayde Kiser 6 3-4 17, Nolan Cumberland 8 2-6 19, Riley Shepherd 4 0-1 8, Kyler Johnson 4 3-5 11, Ian Cooksey 0 0-0 0, Trent Marshall 0 0-0 0, Blain Sheetz 0 0-0 0, Nate Parker 0 0-0 0, DeOndre Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Cameron Manuel 0 0-0 0, Stephen Akase 1 1-4 3, Dylan Neese 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 26 14-25 69
Three-point field goals:
Argos 4 (Manikowski 3, Morris),
Valley 3 (Kiser 2, Cumberland)
Total fouls: Argos 19, Valley 14
Score by quarters
Argos 9 11 9 3 – 32
Valley 14 13 29 13 – 69