Wagner scores 27, but Valley drops regular season finale to John Glenn
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON –- As the Tippecanoe Valley girls basketball team works to get ready for the postseason, senior point guard Sidney Wagner is in a race against team to achieve a milestone.
Wagner hit five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points, and Kaydence Mellott knocked down four treys and scored 14, but the Lady Vikings (13-8) lost their regular season finale to John Glenn 58-52 at the TVHS gym Saturday.
Jessica Yelaska led John Glenn (12-10) with 17 points. Mia Hooten, a 6-0 post player, added 12, and Emma Romer had 11.
Wagner scored 13 of Valley’s 14 points in the fourth quarter. Wagner, who averages 19.3 points per game, now has 980 for her career. Valley is assured one more game when they play NorthWood in a Class 3A, Sectional 20 semifinal at Wawasee at 8 p.m. Friday.
The last Valley player to reach 1,000 career points was 2019 grad Sophie Bussard, who scored 1,243.
“Just a great player,” Valley coach Chris Kindig said of Wagner. “I can’t say enough about where she’s come from in terms of where she was at when we got her as a freshman and where she’s at now. Just leaps and bounds, she’s improved. That’s all on her and what she’s done over the summer and the offseason. It’s going to be tough to replace her next year.”
Valley trailed 51-43 at one point in the fourth quarter, but Wagner nailed three straight 3-pointers in less than a two-minute span. Her last trey got Valley within 53-52 with 1:08 left.
But Yelaska, a 5-10 junior forward, responded by making five of six free throws in the final 55.3 seconds to complete the scoring.
“Circumstances dictate you just foul whoever you can, and they did a good job of finishing the game,” Valley coach Chris Kindig said. “But they shot the ball really well, especially in the first half I thought they did.”
Both John Glenn and Valley received sectional byes in the Class 3A tournament. (They could conceivably meet again in the regional final at Jimtown on Feb. 13.) Given that both had room for an extra game due to previous coronavirus-related cancellations, adding a game on the final Saturday of the regular season with each other made sense.
Senior post player Hayley Backus, who suffered a torn ACL in a game against Northwestern on Nov. 14 but who has continued on playing after missing a month and then hurting the knee again against Rochester on Jan. 16, did not play against John Glenn.
Kindig said Backus “is not a fish to fry right now” when it came to deciding whether to play Backus against John Glenn.
Her absence was noticed on the boards.
“I really was happy with our effort,” Kindig said. “This is the type of game where you’re going to see that type of team in our sectional. I think that bodes well for us if we can just get two or three more defensive rebounds. ... They really hurt us on the boards big time. … She would have made a big difference.”
Meanwhile, Valley committed six turnovers in the fourth quarter and 20 for the game.
“A little bit of both,” Kindig answered when asked if the turnovers were because of their sloppiness or John Glenn’s defense. “I thought we had some careless stuff out top. … I always say this, but there’s a difference in turnovers. There’s a difference between turning the ball over down behind your basket, a travel call or whatever. But when you turn the ball out at the top where they get opportunities for transition baskets where you can't set your defense up, I thought we had several of those where it led to a transition basket. Those are the things you really have to avoid, but that’s a good team we played today.
“This was a good tune-up game for us today. It really was. I’m glad we played it.”
John Glenn 58, Valley 52
JOHN GLENN (58) (12-10)
Seja Lang 1 3-4 5, Lauren Fansler 2 0-1 5, Emma Romer 4 2-2 11, Kennedy Hayden 4 0-1 8, Jessica Yelaska 5 5-6 17, Mia Hooten 4 4-6 12, Eli Lang 0 0-0 0
TEAM: 20 14-20 58
VALLEY (52) (13-8)
Sidney Wagner 10 2-2 27, Lily Ault 2 0-0 6, Kaydence Mellott 5 0-0 14, Ashley Butler 0 0-0 0, Corinna Stiles 1 0-0 2, Mercedes Snapp 1 1-2 3
TEAM: 19 3-4 52
Three-point field goals:
John Glenn 4 (Yelaska 2, Romer, Fansler),
Valley 11 (Wagner 5, Mellott 4, Ault 2)
Total fouls: John Glenn 10, Valley 15
Fouled out: Stiles (TV), :9.2, fourth
Turnovers: John Glenn 12, Valley 20
Score by quarters
John Glenn 18 11 13 16 – 58
Valley 12 15 11 14 – 52