SYRACUSE — For the second time in the 2012-13 boys basketball season, Tippecanoe Valley used a trapping 1-3-1 zone defense to dig out of a hole and beat NorthWood.
The Vikings, who trailed by 11 in the fourth quarter before turning up the heat and besting the Panthers in the Tippecanoe Valley holiday tournament, trailed 13-2 Saturday, March 2, then came back for a 60-51 Class 3A Wawasee Sectional championship game victory and a berth in Blackford Regional on Saturday, March 9.
“We just didn’t match up with NorthWood in man-to-man,” said Vikings coach Bill Patrick after earning the 16th sectional title of his 44-year career and Tippy Valley’s first since 2006-07. “We were confused early.”
Three Vikings scored in double digits — senior Nick Kindig (20 points), sophomore Chainey Zolman (18) and junior Tanner Andrews (12) — in moving to 20-3. In the second half, Kindig netted 13, Andrews eight and Zolman seven. Andrews also had 11 rebounds and nine assists.
“It’s been awhile (since a Tippecanoe Valley sectional championship),” said Patrick, who earned the first of his career at Whitko back in 1974. “It feels good to be on top again. We told the kids we didn’t want this to be the second (senior) group to graduate without a title.”
Juniors Jonathan Wilkinson (21 points; nine in the first quarter) and Zach Zurcher (13; six in the third quarter) paced the Panthers (16-7), which were trying to win a second straight sectional.
“It was a combination of their defense and our inability to attack like we can,” said NorthWood coach Aaron Wolfe.
Kindig’s trey with 4:10 to go in the third quarter gave Tippy Valley a 32-29 lead and the Kosciusko County club stayed in front the rest of the way.
“I wish we would have played better,” said Wolfe. “They got a good lift from Zolman. He was 4 for 4 behind the (3-point) arc and that’s a difference maker.”
Patrick called Zolman his second-best shooter behind Kindig.
“He’s capable,” said Patrick of Zolman. “We thought he was the guy who had to step up.”
The Vikings started the game stone cold while the Panthers were white hot, especially Wilkinson. The lanky guard had a three-point play, two free throws and an inside basket in the game’s first three minutes and NorthWood went on to take a 13-7 lead into the second quarter.
Andrews made a pair of layups and Zolman a 3-pointer in the first quarter to keep Tippy Valley close.
While Wilkinson was scoreless in the second quarter, Zurcher canned five points for the Panthers with a layup and a 3-pointer.
For the Vikings in the second, Zolman produced a layup and two 3’s, including one just before halftime. Kindig had a layup, 17-footer and 3-pointer.
Wilkinson and Zurcher tallied six points each in the third quarter to account for all of NorthWood’s points in that period. Wilkinson sank a 3-pointer, a jumper from the lane and made a free throw. Zurcher had a rebound goal, layup and two free throws.
Wilkinson (two 3-pointers) scored six points and Farmwald five (two buckets including a 3-pointer) each for the Panthers in the fourth quarter.
Kindig tossed in a pair of 3-pointers during a six-point third quarter then netted seven points in the fourth period with a layup and five free throws for the champions.
Andrews made a layup and four free throws during his six-point fourth quarter.
The Vikings, which went into the double bonus late in the game, made 9 of 12 foul shots in the final stanza.
Graduation will take Tommy Klem, Spencer Culp and Nick Graber from NorthWood.
“We will lose some good seniors,” said Wolfe. “But we will have a foundation to build on for the coming years.”
Class 3A Wawasee Sectional
Tippecanoe Valley 60, NorthWood 51
NorthWood — Zach Zurcher 5-9 2-6 13, Tommy Klem 4-12 0-2 8, Jonathan Wilkinson 7-16 4-5 21, Tanner Farmwald 3-5 0-0 7, Kyle McCoy 0-1 2-2 2, Will Stueve 0-2 0-0 0, Braxton Linville 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-45 (.422) 8-15 (.533) 51.
Tippecanoe Valley — Tanner Andrews 4-9 4-6 12, Jacob Richey 1-1 0-0 2, Ben Shriver 0-1 0-0 0, Alex Thacker 3-7 1-4 8, Nick Kindig 6-15 5-6 20, Chainey Zolman 7-8 0-0 18, Jarred Littlejohn 0-0 0-0 0, Gavin Bussard 0-0 0-0 0, Aaron Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0, Chandler O’Conner 0-0 0-0 0, Derrick Cunningham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-41 (.512) 10-16 (.625) 60.
Scoring By Quarters
NorthWood 13 9 12 17 — 51
Tippecanoe Valley 7 17 16 20 — 60
3-point goals: NorthWood (5-15) — Wilkinson 3-10, Zurcher 1-1, Farmwald 1-1; Tippecanoe Valley (8-15) — Zolman 4-4, Kindig 3-9, Thacker 1-2.
Rebounds: NorthWood (27) — Zurcher 7, Wilkinson 6, Farmwald 5; Tippecanoe Valley (24) — Andrews 11, Zolman 5.
Assists: Tippecanoe Valley — Andrews 9.
Turnovers: NorthWood 13, Tippecanoe Valley 12.
Fouls: NorthWood 18, Tippecanoe Valley 10. Fouled out — Stueve (:57.6, fourth quarter).
Officials: Ron Day, Steve Godfroy, Bud Wolfe.
Records: Tippecanoe Valley 20-3, NorthWood 16-7.
Next: FW Concordia vs. Hamilton Heights/Muncie Central winner (ppd. to Monday, March 4), Tippecanoe Valley vs. Norwell, Saturday, March 9, in semifinals of Class 3A Blackford Regional, 10 a.m. and following; championship, 7:30 p.m.