By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe’s girls basketball team was already young last season, finishing as the district runner-up.
This year, the Red Devils have only gotten younger — and with that comes growing pains.
Tippecanoe found that out the hard way in its season opener on Saturday, as a tall and talented Beavercreek team turned a three-point halftime lead into a 12-point advantage after three quarters and put away a 38-25 victory over the Devils at Tippecanoe High School.
The Devils (0-1) have only two seniors on their entire roster — starters Kendall Clodfelter and Katie Salyer — and were without an injured post player in junior Rachel Wildermuth. And in the end, that lack of experience and height hurt, but Tippecanoe hopes to learn from it and move on.
“We don’t want to be as good now as we’re going to be in February and March,” Tippecanoe coach Andy Holderman said. “There’s going to be a learning curve. It’s a whole new group. We’ve got a lot of people that don’t have a lot of varsity experience yet. The game’s a lot faster, more physical, so it’s a process.”
The two teams battled back and forth in the first quarter, trading the lead six times until the Beavers (1-1) held an 8-7 lead after one. A 3-pointer by Ashleigh Mader gave the Devils a 13-8 lead early in the second quarter, but Beavercreek closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 16-13 lead at the break.
The Beavers opened up the game even more in the second half, with Maci Rhoades and Trinity Beam hitting back-to-back 3s to open the third. Clodfelter hit a 3 with 2:15 remaining in the quarter to finally end Tippecanoe’s drought, but by then the Beavers had completed a 17-0 run and taken a 25-16 lead.
“I think we definitely contributed to them having open looks,” Holderman said. “We fell asleep a little on defense. I thought we got tired. Right now, we have a short bench and a short team, so we’re trying to figure some things out.
“All in all, the beginning and the first half, I thought we played pretty well. In the second half, they did to us what we like to do to others, which is lull them down and wait for someone to be either lazy or miss a shift and then take advantage of it. And that’s exactly what they did.”
And even though Tippecanoe held a 26-22 rebounding advantage in the game, Beavercreek won it by turning over the Devils all afternoon long, forcing 24 turnovers while only committing 13.
“One, they put pressure on you, and two, it’s our first game,” Holderman said. “We’ve got a lot of new people with it being their first time at the varsity level. It’s a process. It is what it is. Everyone did something positive throughout the game, and we had some negatives, as well. We’ll hopefully mount those positives and take the negatives and turn those into more positives.”
Clodfelter led the Devils with 10 points and six rebounds, Salyer had six points and five rebounds, Ashley Aselage had four points, Mader finished with three points and Katie Hemmelgarn had two points and four rebounds.
Beam led all scorers with 13 points for Beavercreek — with 10 of them coming in the second half. Tiernan McKitrick added seven points, five assists and four rebounds, Ashley Vaughn had seven points, Riley Steinbrunner had four points, Rhoades had three points, Riley Ryan had two points and Anna Landing had two points and 11 rebounds.
Things won’t get any easier for Tippecanoe, though, as it travels to West Liberty-Salem Tuesday night.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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