Night trap at Tippecanoe High School on Friday night when they edged
those sneaky Red Devils 63-60. Senior guard Josh McKee led the Arrows with 28 points and Jordan Kimmey added 26 to help offset a career-high 37-point performance by Tipp senior Kyle Corbin.
Senior guard Josh McKee led the Arrows with 28 points (4 rebounds, 1 assist), and Jordan Kimmey added 26 (8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block). Between them they scored 86-percent of their team’s total points, but the when this game was truly on the line the ball was in the hands of Tipp’s Kyle Corbin.
This observer thought Erik Smith fouled Corbin (career high 37 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block) when he put up a desperation jumper from mid-court at the buzzer. The senior could have sent the game into overtime if he had made his free throws – but the shot just missed, no foul was called, and the contest ended with him sprawled on the floor.
To be fair, the officials consistently let the teams play. It was a very physical contest.
“I give Tipp a lot of credit for making the comeback,” Tecumseh head coach Roger Culbertson said. “They’re that kind of team. In the middle of the game we lost our focus. We really needed to do a better job on defense because Corbin was absolutely dominating. He’s a hard kid to guard and he did a great job of keeping them in the game.
“They executed a little better against our defense in the second half. Give our kids credit, too. They battled. They’ve battled all year and found ways to win games. Tonight was just another example.”
From the start it was easy to see how the Arrows had won so many games. They were efficient. They were smart. They were intense, and they were ahead 34-22 on the strength of a dynamic 6:20, 21-6 run to end the first half.
Tecumseh challenged ball handlers baseline-to-baseline with a trapping man-to-man press and the home team often elected to try passing over it. That frequent mistake and Tecumseh’s ability to score in transition proved to be the difference.
Corbin continued to score at will out of Tipp’s motion offense in the second half, and as a team the Red Devils shot a much-improved 15 of 27 from the floor.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Red Devils had narrowed the deficit and this was now a two-possession game. Kimmey converted back-to-back three-point plays for the Arrows, but Corbin answered with 9 points in the next four minutes. Dunkin hit a jumper in the lane and Corbin drained a three and with 5.1 seconds left it was just 61-60.
It only took the efficient Red Devils (12-7, 10-5 CBC-Kenton) .6 seconds to send the Arrows to the line—but Justin Apple (7 timely points, all on free throws) made both shots, and the final score was Tecumseh 63, Tippecanoe 60.
In winning their fourth game in a row, the Arrows secured their first outright Central Buckeye Conference (Kenton Division) championship in a long time.
“Tipp City’s always a great opponent,” McKee said after the game, “but I think we let down defensively and let them come back on us. I matched up on (Andrew) Dunkin (4 points) in the second half, but I was supposed to give him his shot and help everyone else. In the end, we were able to pull the game out. We just made it happen.”
Jarod Weaver scored 7 for the home team. Promising sophomores–Alex Davis (4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists), David Moore (2 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds), and Mac Malarkey (3 points)–also double as members of Tipp’s JV squad. Senior Luke Gyetvai scored three points in his last home game.
Junior wing, Jordan Jones (2 points), rounded out the Arrow’s scoring.
“Josh (McKee) has been there for us all year in the big games,” Culbertson said. “He carried us at Bellefontaine and he wanted the ball again tonight. When he’s driving to the basket he is a hard kid to defend. He’s athletic, has good quickness, and good jumping ability just like Corbin. He’s a very competitive kid and Josh really stepped up for us.
“It was a special night for our kids after having lost so many games like this when they were underclassmen to (teams like Tipp).”
Afterwards, Kyle Corbin was disappointed.
“Our season isn’t defined by one game, so we’ll move on from here,” he said. “It’s a tough way to go out but at the same time our group of seniors (Marcus Mays, Jarod Weaver, Wes Hawk, Andrew Dunkin, and Luke Gyetvai) have worked really hard.
“It is tough following the last two senior classes (both undefeated during the regular season), but we never gave up. I think people will remember us as the team no one thought would make any noise but did.”
Tippecanoe’s head coach Matt Pond was philosophical, and thankful, afterwards.
“Kyle just put us on his back,” Pond said. “We’re really going to miss him next year, but there were kids out there with him tonight who, among other things, got him the ball. People set screens so that he was open. That’s something we’ve struggled with this year, and we struggled with it in the first half tonight.
“We missed some easy shots and they could have quit. We made some stupid turnovers and they could have quit, but they didn’t. Our kids battled back. We had our time outs. We were ready to go. I would have liked to have seen what would have happened with Kyle on the line though. My personal feeling is he would have ended up with 40.”