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BOYS BB: Unbeaten Blue Devils clobber Tigers with 52-point half

Jan. 13—TIPTON — After a brief back-and-forth period of even play on the scoreboard, the Tipton feeding frenzy began.

The Blue Devils' boys basketball hit Northwestern with driving buckets, and caused turnovers, and got offensive rebounds that led to more buckets, and then the 3-pointers started flowing in. After Northwestern took an early 4-2 lead, Tipton got on an 11-0 run and kept coming after Northwestern broke that run.

Tipton led 25-11 after a quarter and opened up a 30-point lead by halftime, 52-22. There was no path back for Northwestern as the unbeaten Class 2A No. 2 Blue Devils cruised to an 84-54 victory.

"I thought we showed who was the hungrier team," Tipton coach Cliff Hawkins said. "I thought we were very hungry and I thought we played with a tremendous enthusiasm. We really enjoy playing. And I thought we aggressively attacked. Rebounding-wise was good. Our traps at times were very good, not always.

"Then I thought we moved the ball pretty well in the half court most of the time. And then we really wanted to run hard and I thought we did that, so we met most of our check points that we had for this game and [I'm] really, really proud of what our guys did."

The game was settled early with the Blue Devil big three doing a lot of damage from guard spots. Tipton point guard Grady Carpenter scored 24 of his game-high 32 points in the first half. Nolan Swan had 15 points in the first half and finished with 29. Jackson Money had eight of his eventual 13 in the opening half.

Additionally, the Blue Devils' role players accounted for meaningful play. Landon Spidell did not score, but he had six rebounds in the first half including five offensive caroms. Ryan Tracy scored five points and had four boards at halftime. Carpenter had five boards at the half.

And every bit as important, Tipton's fullcourt and halfcourt defense flustered Northwestern into 15 turnovers by halftime. Tipton went into the break with no miscues.

"We came out and played all man Tuesday night [against Wabash] and [Friday] night we brought the traps again with our man because of their legitimate size advantage," Hawkins said. "They have great size and coach [Jim] Gish does a great job of how he positions those guys for rebounds in their offense.

"By spreading them out and making them have to make decisions with the ball, we thought that could be to our advantage. It worked out that way and we definitely executed what we wanted to have happen, because we'd watched them play some other games and we'd been really impressed with their rebounding and their ability to work at it so hard. So it was a great start and that's what we want."

Northwestern's Gish said a key factor in the game getting away quickly was "we didn't take care of the ball early and once you allow an offensive team like that to get rolling, it's hard to get them stopped. We had a lot of turnovers early that then resulted in easy points.

"I felt like we could get back into the game, we just had to get stops, but once that train's moving and it's moving downhill pretty hard — they just have a lot of weapons. They're a good basketball team and they have guys who live in the gym. They have guys who take hundreds of shots, weekly, daily, whatever it is. They put a lot of time into the gym and that pays off. So it's hard to get that train stopped once you get it moving."

The Blue Devils hit 13 3-pointers, with Carpenter hitting six, Swan four, and one each for Tracy, Money and Peyton Auler. A 3-ball from Carpenter early in the third quarter pushed the Tipton lead to 35 points at 59-24 and go the running clock going for the rest of the game. The Tipton lead was never smaller than 27 after that.

Tracy finished with seven points for Tipton (14-0) and he and Spidel each took seven rebounds.

Hawkins was glad to get another win in the Hoosier Conference. The Blue Devils and Hamilton Heights are each 2-0 in the HC East Division. They play at Heights on Jan. 26 in the last division game for both. Northwestern fell to 6-5 overall and finishes 0-3 in the HC East.

Brock Shank led Northwestern with 12 points. Preston Sims and Hayden Cook each had 10, Quentin Yeakel nine and Blake Wise eight.

"For us, we have to understand what allowed them to get off to the start that they got," Gish said. "And then we have to understand what we can do differently in situations like that so it doesn't snowball.

"Moving forward, we have a lot of good teams on our schedule. With that being said, we're going to be put into some tough situations with adversity where we have to figure out what we can do differently defensively to stop some of that."

Tipton visits Kokomo next Saturday for an intriguing matchup.