Kiser, Cumberland help Valley beat Plymouth for 4th straight win
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
PLYMOUTH — The Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team was running out of time in
the third quarter against host Plymouth Saturday, but they had a fast break opportunity after a Plymouth turnover.
Senior guard Cooper Walls pushed the dribble into the frontcourt and threw the ball up for 6-5 junior Riley Shepherd, who tried to catch the ball on the fly and lay it off the backboard in one motion.
Except Shepherd put it too hard off the glass, and it missed the rim entirely. Oh well, time to get ready for the fourth quarter.
Except Dylan Neese, who was trailing the play, flew in and in one motion laid it in at the buzzer. Officials counted the basket, and Valley led 40-31.
From there, Valley relied on Tayde Kiser and Nolan Cumberland and the earlier efforts of Shepherd and 6-6 freshman Stephen Akase.
Kiser went nine for nine from the foul line in the fourth quarter and scored 18 points, and Cumberland added 16 to lead the Vikings to a 58-49 win.
“How about that!” Valley first-year coach Joe Luce said of Neese’s heroics. “It was huge. … Even with making a move and limiting his minutes a little bit, the minutes he got tonight were just gigantic minutes. He's an energy guy. He didn’t quit on the play. I already quit on the play. … Even though we got a shot, I was shocked, and for him to clean that up and make that play, what a huge play.”
Valley improved to 9-3 and beat Plymouth for the fourth straight year. Plymouth fell to 5-6.
Akase and Shepherd added 10 points each.
Davis Wray scored 26 points for Plymouth, including 14 in the fourth quarter. Michael Sheely added 10.
Valley made 16 of 18 free throws while Plymouth was 8 for 15.
After Neese’s third quarter buzzer beater, Plymouth got the deficit down to five points on three different occasions in the fourth quarter, the last time at 54-49 on Wray’s driving banker with 38.6 seconds left.
But Kiser answered with two free throws with 35.4 seconds left and two more with 24.0 seconds left.
Valley jumped out to an 11-4 lead after one quarter. Akase, who had not scored more than eight points in a varsity game, had six in the quarter.
Meanwhile, Valley relied on its “shell” defense to hold Plymouth to one field goal in the first quarter.
“Shell defense is how you teach man in a four-person game,” Luce said. “They practice in that, and we work on our ball screen defense, we work on down screen defense and our rotations for help side. We do it every day, and they’ve done a really good job of transitioning to what I think is a pretty good man-to-man defensive team. Now, we got into foul trouble, and we had a tough time stopping the ball, and we did some real questionable things as far as getting out on shooters that we’re going to learn from. The nice thing is we’ve got enough of a cushion. We did the hard-hat stuff tonight.”
Wray, Trey Hall and Coby Walters each hit a 3-pointer, and Sheely had five points in the second quarter, but Valley clung to a 28-22 halftime lead.
Cumberland, who has scored in double figures in every game this season and who has scored 20 or more four times, scored eight in the third quarter. He frequently used the dribble to get to his pullup jumper or to drive to the basket.
Cumberland is averaging 18.7 points per game this season and has 945 career points. Luce said he told Cumberland at halftime that he was going to have to make some plays in the second half and said that he did.
Cumberland said Luce has given him confidence.
Cumberland also said he knows he is approaching 1,000 points but said he tries not to think about it a lot. It’s the team’s record that has him enthused.
“The past two years, my records haven’t been great,” Cumberland said. “So I think it’s really fun to have a 9-3 record. And I think it’s going to get a lot better.”
Valley 58, Plymouth 49
VALLEY (58) (9-3)
Cooper Walls 0 0-0 0, Tayde Kiser 3 12-13 18, Nolan Cumberland 7 2-3 16, Stephen Akase 5 0-0 10, Kyler Johnson 0 2-2 2, Riley Shepherd 4 0-0 10, Ian Cooksey 0 0-0 0, Dylan Neese 1 0-0 2
TEAM: 20 16-18 58
PLYMOUTH (49) (5-6)
Trey Hall 1 0-0 3, Kadyn Ellery 1 0-1 2, Davis Wray 10 4-7 26, Easton Strain 0 0-0 0, Michael Sheely 4 2-5 10, Preston Wolfe 0 0-0 0, Coby Walters 2 2-2 8, Caleb Bowling 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 18 8-15 49
Three-point field goals:
Valley 2 (Shepherd 2),
Plymouth 3 (Wray 2, Walters 2, Hall)
Total fouls: Valley 18, Plymouth 18
Score by quarters
Valley 11 17 12 18 – 58
Plymouth 4 18 9 18 – 49