Snapp streak: Senior scores 13, including game-winning basket, in win over Rochester
Holloway scores 10, but Burkett’s injury mars loss
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball team trailed Rochester 40-39 with 2:10 left at the RHS gym Saturday, and Valley senior forward Mercedes Snapp knew this was not an ordinary moment in her career.
“I felt a lot of pressure to win this game,” Snapp said.
But in a history of Valley unsung stars against Rochester – from Karis Tucker in 2016 to Brynda Krueger in 2015 to Tori Keirn in 2010 – it was time for Snapp to have the game of her life.
She scored in the post off a Chesnee Miller assist with 1:48 left to cap a game-closing 6-0 run and lead Valley to a 45-40 win that ended a two-year losing streak to their rivals and moved them into a first-place tie in the Three Rivers Conference with Northfield.
Snapp’s 13 points were a career-high and the first time in her career she had ever scored in double figures in a game.
Seemingly as shocking as Snapp’s scoring was Corinna Stiles’ perimeter marksmanship: Stiles hit three 3-pointers among her 12 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds. Prior to Saturday, Stiles, a 6-0 junior in her third year on the varsity, had made three 3-pointers in her entire career.
While Stiles broke a streak of five straight games without hitting a 3-pointer, the opposite happened to Kaydence Mellott. Valley’s leading scorer at just over 18 ppg, Mellott saw her streak of 24 consecutive games with at least one made 3-pointer end. But Mellott did score 11 points, including two free throws with 37.2 seconds left to complete the scoring.
Valley made 9 of 14 free throws while Rochester made just 3 of 10.
Valley is 12-6 overall and 5-1 in the TRC with conference games against Peru, Southwood and Manchester left. They control their destiny to a share of the TRC title. Valley has not lost to Peru since 2010 and not to Southwood since 2013, and those are Valley’s two games next week.
“We had a couple timeouts in the fourth quarter, and each time, the theme was, ‘Hey, we’ve come this far, and we’ve played this well. We’ve got this far, and we’re not going to lose it now.’ … Sometimes in a game like this, you come out with too much energy or too much nervousness or whatever, but I thought from the start, we played our basketball game.”
Rily Holloway, who transferred from Valley to Rochester last summer, outscored the entire Valley team 10-9 in the third quarter and was the only Rochester player to reach double figures.
Lexy Thomas added nine, including the go-ahead putback that gave Rochester the lead. It turned out to be their only lead. Rochester led for 22 seconds before Valley took the lead back for good thanks to Snapp.
Rochester fell to 13-7, 4-3.
And if seeing Valley celebrate on their floor wasn’t bad enough news, Rochester senior point guard Kami Burkett suffered an apparent knee injury with 7:27 left in the first half. She was helped off the floor but returned to the game with 2:22 left. With 58.2 seconds left, a hobbling Burkett was substituted out and did not return.
Rochester trailed by 11 at halftime and still trailed 39-35 with 4:35 left on a Stiles free throw, but Lillith Eaton swished a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 3:40 left.
There was an exchange of turnovers. Then Snapp missed from five feet off a Miller bounce pass. Jackson tried a tough-angled banker from the left wing and missed, but Thomas rebounded and scored to give Rochester the lead.
Molly Moriarty then dribbled upcourt. She found Stiles on the right wing. Hawked by Thomas, Stiles gave up her dribble. Stiles then handed to Moriarty, who weaved behind Stiles and dribbled to the baseline before finding Miller in the across the lane in the left corner.
Miller caught the pass and sent a short pass to Snapp in the post. Snapp hurtled an eight-footer over Jackson to give Valley the lead.
“We have lost to Rochester the past two years, and it was good to get a win, especially it being my senior year,” Snapp said. “I feel like I had to step up as a leader and push my team to do better. I had to speak up more.”
Moriarty came from behind and tipped the ball away from Thomas in the frontcourt.
Valley called timeout with 1:32 left.
Again the go-to girl was Snapp, who set a screen to give Moriarty space to find Mellott along the baseline. When the defense flocked to Mellott, she fed Snapp for a short banker to make it 43-40.
“We’ve talked about this all year,” Kindig said. “Who’s going to step up for us? Who’s going to be that third or fourth scorer. Obviously, Sadie Snapp stepped up tonight. … It seems like in this game, it’s always somebody.”
And then Miller’s quick hands made their presence felt. Her backcourt steal allowed Valley to bleed nearly 30 seconds off the clock, and Mellott then capped the possession with two free throws.
Rochester finished with 28 turnovers.
“I think when Kami went down in this game, I think the rest of our players had more shock on our face then when Emma (Howdeshell) went down,” Rochester coach Brian Jennings said. “That junction there really took the air out of us. It’s not Kami’s fault. Injuries are going to happen. But then we had to move some different people around to different spots, and we didn’t attack the 1-3-1 like we wanted to. We couldn’t really execute. Once we did get it over and break, we stopped and tried to throw the ball back. That was the worst thing. Even at halftime, we told them, ‘If we get the ball over where we want, guards, you’ve got to run past the ball.’ But we picked up our dribble. … I thought Valley did a good job defensively. They really took away some of the things we wanted to do on offense, and we didn’t hit our counters very well.”
And perhaps even more frustratingly, they lost even though Sydney Haughs limited Mellott’s 3-point looks.
“I think we took away some things on Valley on our defensive end, but Valley hit their counter plays better than what we did,” Jennings said.
Valley also won the JV game 46-33. Carlee Snyder scored 17 points, Bailey Bussard had nine, DeLaney Siders had eight, Lydia Craig had four, Ava Smith had four, and Patricia Jimenez and Miller had two each.
Rylee Clevenger had 11 points for Rochester. Audrey Bolinger had nine, Darah Strasser had six, Mia Howdeshell had four, and Ella McCarter had three.
Valley 45, Rochester 40
VALLEY (45) (12-6, 5-1)
Lily Ault 0 0-0 0, Kaydence Mellott 4 3-4 11, Molly Moriarty 2 2-2 7, Corinna Stiles 4 1-2 12, Mercedes Snapp 5 3-4 13, Chesnee Miller 1 0-2 2
TEAM: 16 9-14 45
ROCHESTER (40) (13-7, 4-3)
Kami Burkett 0 0-0 0, Kallie Watson 1 0-0 3, Lexy Thomas 4 1-4 9, Sydney Haughs 2 1-2 6, Millie Scorsone 0 1-2 1, Rily Holloway 4 0-1 10, Lilith Eaton 1 0-0 3, Kennedy Jackson 4 0-1 8
TEAM: 16 3-10 40
Three-point field goals:
Valley 4 (Stiles 3, Moriarty),
Rochester 5 (Holloway 2, Haughs, Watson, Eaton)
Total fouls: Valley 12, Rochester 15
Turnovers: Valley 22, Rochester 28
Score by quarters
Valley 14 9 9 13 – 45
Rochester 6 6 17 11 – 40
JV: Valley 46, Rochester 33
Watch Full Game Here:
Rily Holloway Corinna Stiles