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By MICHELLE GARMON
Tribune Sports Editor
A strong start and a strong finish propelled Tipton’s Class 2A No. 5 Lady Devils to a 60-52 victory over Class 3A No. 10 Twin Lakes in Tuesday night’s Hoosier Conference fifth-place game.
The Lady Devils stormed out to a 20-7, and after the Indians came back to take 46-44 lead, ended the game on a 16-6 run.
“We needed another big win as a team, and the girls really delivered,” Tipton coach Chad Wetz said. “I think our last two games have been the best two ‘all-around’ games of our season to defeat Kokomo at Memorial Gym and then a highly-ranked 3A team in Twin Lakes.
“The team was mentally sharp, executed well, and finished off the win in convincing fashion in the last few minutes.”
Abbi Parker scored six points and Olivia Spidel added a 3-pointer as Tipton led 15-7 after the first quarter. Ella Wolfe opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and then came up with a steal that turned into a Parker layup to extend the lead to 20-7 less than a minute into the second quarter
Twin Lakes’ Olivia Nickerson got hot, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and came up with a steal and layup as the Indians went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 22-19 at the 3:50 mark of the second period. But the Lady Devils ended the half on a 13-3 run with Wolfe’s 3-pointer sending Tipton into halftime with a 35-23 lead.
Macy Earl’s 15-footer upped the lead to 37-23 at the start of the third quarter. But Twin Lakes outscored Tipton 16-5 the rest of the quarter to trim the lead to 42-39.
Nickerson’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter deadlocked the score at 42-all. Addie Bowsman’s 3 then gave TL it only lead of the game, 46-44, with 6:14 remaining in the game. But Ashlee Schram netted two free throws and Parker drove in for a layup to put Tipton back on top, 48-46.
Bowsman knotted the score at 48-all. Schram sank two more free throws but Nickerson countered with a layup and the score was deadlocked at 50-all with 2:25 remaining in the game.
Twenty-three seconds later, senior guard Ella Wolfe countered with her own layup to put the Lady Devils (18-3) up for good. Wolfe followed her layup by netting 1 of 2 free throws. Schram 1 of 2 free throws to extend Tipton’s lead to 54-50 with 1:24 remaining in the game. Schram then meshed two more free throws with :39 left to play and Ella Wolfe found younger sister Hallie Wolfe with a baseball pass that led to a layup and upped Tipton’s lead to 58-50 with :19 left.
Bowsman scored with :12.7 remaining and the Indians (16-5) used their final timeout. Ella Wolfe’s two free throws with :09.5 left to play clinched the victory.
“Every good team will make a run if they get behind early,” Wetz said. “We have done the same in some of our other wins and Twin Lakes made a come-back run on us. They have some great shooters and athletes that were not going to go away easily. The poise we showed to not panic and answer their run was what I was most proud of.
“We obviously have a tough remaining schedule and the toughest 2A sectional in the state, so to be playing like this at this juncture is really important.”
Ella Wolfe finished with 22 points to lead Tipton. She also had eight rebounds, two assists and seven steals. Schram added 13 points that included a 9 for 10 performance at the charity stripe and grabbed seven rebounds, while adding three assists and two steals. Parker also finished in double figures with 12 points and was 5 of 7 from the field. She had four boards and two assists.
Olivia Spidel chipped in six points on 2-of-5 firing from 3-point range. Kaiya Money added three points, while Earl and Hallie Wolfe rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Tipton 50% from the field (19-38) and 3-point range (6-12) and hit 16 of 24 free throws.
Bowsman led all scorers with 24 points and had six rebounds. Nickerson added 16 points for the Indians, who shot 17 for 43 from the field, including 6 of 24 from beyond the arc. They were 12 of 15 at the line.
Tipton hosted Heritage Christian on Thursday and plays at 2A No. 5 University on Saturday.