TROY — It was unquestionably a tale of two halves at the Trojan Activity Center Wednesday night as unbeaten Tippecanoe battled Troy in MVL action.
And while the Red Devils prevailed 53-41 to improve to 7-0, the 5-4 Trojans made their presence felt in the second half.
The Red Devils shot nearly 50 percent from the floor in the first half in opening a 34-16 halftime lead.
Kate Hemmelgarn, a 6-foot-2 post, got off to a fast start and Tipp did a great job sharing the ball, with few turnovers.
“I was really happy with first half,” Tippecanoe coach Christina Pentaudi said. “Not only did we hold a good Troy team to 16 points, we were able to put 34 points up.”
Four different players hit 3-pointers for the Red Devils in the opening half and they also took advantage of a number of Troy turnovers.
“It seemed like they always seemed to be able to score,” Troy coach Jeremy Hughes said. “It just seemed like they had a lot of different people scoring.”
Jovie Studebaker had nearly half of Troy’s points in the opening half, scoring seven in the second quarter with Tippecanoe focused on high-scoring guard Macie Taylor.
“We talked about that in the summer,” Hughes said. “It is great to have one of the best players in the state, but there are going to be times when other people have to step up. So, it was great to see Jovie (Studebaker) step up like that.”
Troy came out with a different energy in the second half, scoring eight straight points to open the half and cut the deficit to 34-24.
Morgan Kaiser had four points in the run, while Elise McCann and Taylor each added a basket.
“That was great to see,” Hughes said. “We could have given up after getting down and we didn’t do that. But, Tipp was able to open the lead back up again.”
Ashleigh Mader scored five points in the quarter, Hemmelgarn had four and Kenna Smith hit a three to make it 48-30 heading to the fourth quarter.
But, the Red Devils would not score in the final eight minutes until Mader hit a free throw with 2:28 remaining in the game. Tipp made just one field goal in the fourth quarter and Troy got as close as nine when Makenzee Maschino scored with 2:09 remaining to make it 49-40.
“We didn’t handle their pressure very well,” Pentaudi said. “Give Troy credit for stepping up their pressure. It seemed like we really weren’t looking to score (in the fourth quarter). We weren’t attacking the basket.”
Defense was a focus for the Trojans after losses to Butler and Sidney.
“We took a look at what was different,” Hughes said. “And we weren’t hanging our hats on our defense. So, that was good to see tonight.”
Mader had 17 points for the Red Devils, while Hemmelgarn had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Smith scored 11 points and Rachel Wildermuth pulled down six rebounds.
Taylor and Studebaker led Troy with nine points.
Kaiser scored eight points and Brynn Siler pulled down four rebounds.
Tipp was 20 of 39 from the floor for 51 percent and seven of nine from the line for 78 percent.
Troy was 18 of 36 from the floor for 50 percent and two of five from the line for 40 percent.
Tipp won the battle of the boards 24-17 and had 17 turnovers to Troy’s 20.
Both teams look forward to their next games Wednesday.
Tipp will host Sidney, looking for a sweep of the season series with the Jackets.
“We will look at the films of the second half, see what happened and give the kids a breakdown,” Pentaudi said. “We are going to have to learn quick. Because I am sure that is what Sidney is planing on doing, coming out and pressuring us.”
Troy will travel to Vandalia-Butler Wednesday.
“That is a game we feel like we should have won the first time,” Hughes said. “That (Vandalia) was always a tough place for me to play. We will see what happens. We haven’t put four full quarters together yet. I think if we can…”
Something both teams are looking to do after Wednesday night.