BREMEN — Tonya Lucchese paid her dues for a couple of years before getting a crack at being the head coach of a high school girls basketball team in Indiana. The wait finally ended Thursday night for the new Bremen boss, but unfortunately one bad quarter put a damper on the evening as Tippecanoe Valley defeated the Lady Lions, 64-47, in the season opener for both schools.
The visiting Vikings used a 24-2 third quarter to turn a five-point halftime deficit into an impressive 17-point victory.
“I thought they played really hard,” said Tippecanoe Valley head coach Chris Kindig. “With a new coach and a new system, we didn’t know what to expect. Their girls came out with more intensity that we did. They have some good 3-point shooters. We had the deer-in-the-headlights look the first half. With the experienced team I have, I did not expect that. I thought Bremen did a nice job, but the press finally took hold of them in the second half.”
In the first half, the Lady Lions looked like they were in midseason form instead of playing the first real game. The hosts scored 19 points in the first period with scoring coming from six different players. The team hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first eight minutes, two by newcomer Ashley Lucchese and one from Sara Slabaugh. Reserves Jasmine Schafer and Cassie Sears did not miss a beat once they entered the contest, and the team led 19-13 after one quarter.
The second period was more of the same.
Bremen hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line during the stanza and led by as many as eight. Tippy Valley did cut it to one twice, but two foul shots by Brooke Snyder and a bucket from Megan Stouder just before intermission gave the Lady Lions a 33-28 halftime lead.
“The first half was exciting and good to see,” said Coach Lucchese. “We struggled in our scrimmage, but that is why you have scrimmages. We came out and played hard. We executed on defense and offense. We had it there; it was just that third quarter breakdown.”
After the break the shots that were falling earlier stopped going in. When they didn’t, TV’s tall lineup (two players listed at 5-11, one at 6-3) was quick to make the outlet pass, and the Vikings were off and running.
While Bremen shot just 1-for-13 for the quarter, TV was doing fast break drills and ran off 22 straight points before Brooke Fitch connected on a shot with just 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We rushed our shots,” Lucchese said about the turning point of the game. “One pass, then we shot it up. We need to work the ball around. Once they got the rebound, they were gone. They adjusted their lineup in the second half and played some quicker guards that pushed the ball.”
Tippy Valley also went to a half-court press instead of the full-court one they employed in the first half, which also led to some easy baskets.
“We talked about how we needed to come out in the third quarter and the first few minutes were critical,” added Kindig. “Within a couple of minutes we were up.”
The teams played the fourth quarter even. In fact, minus the third period, Bremen outscored TV 45-40.
Slabaugh led the Lady Lions in scoring with 13, followed by Lucchese with 11. Snyder led the team in rebounding with nine to go with eight points. Rachel Czarnecki added six points and five boards. Kelsey Ball led TV with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Bremen travels to Goshen Saturday night.
• TIPPECANOE VALLEY 64, BREMEN 47
Score by quarters
T. Valley: 13 28 52 64
Bremen: 19 33 35 47
BREMEN (47): Jasmine Schafer 1 1-2 3, Cassie Sears 1 0-0 2, Brooke Fitch 1 0-0 2, Alexa Harshbarger 0 0-0 0, Ashley Lucchese 4 0-2 11, Sabrina Gilley 0 0-0 0, Megan Stouder 1 0-0 2, Sara Slabaugh 5 1-3 13, Rachel Czarnecki 1 4-6 6, Brooke Snyder 2 4-6 8, Alyssa Bailey 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 10-19 47.
TIPPECANOE VALLEY (64): Taylor Trippiedi 0 1-4 1, Danielle Bussard 1 2-4 4, Cara Hoffman 2 5-10 9, Robyn Dannuck 0 0-0 0, Caylie Teel 5 3-5 13, Kelsey Ball 8 4-7 20, Courtney Newsome 3 1-1 7, Sara Alexander 1 2-2 4, Connor Fraser 3 0-0 6, Karis Tucker 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 23 18-33 64.
3-pointers: Bremen 5 (Lucchese 3, Slabaugh 2), Tippy Valley 0. Fouls (fouled out): Bremen 23 (none), Tippy Valley 17 (Fraser).
Records: Bremen 0-1, Tippy Valley 1-0.
JV score: Tippy Valley 35, Bremen 18