STOVER — Tipton’s defense forced 28 turnovers on its way to beating Stover 53-45 in a Kaysinger Conference girls basketball game on Monday.
The Lady Cardinals used a full-court press in the first half to force 18 of those turnovers before the break, and in turn got 18 first half points in transition.
“You’ve just got to push the floor and move the ball around,” said Tipton guard Destiny Dowell. “Communication is a big deal. You’ve got to know where everybody is and just get it.”
Tipton was also able to limit the effectiveness of Stover post players Mallory Uptegrove and Carley Nolting. Nolting finished with 15 points, five of which came in the final 1:16 of the game as Stover tried to mount a late comeback. Uptegrove had 12.
“We have two very good post players and we didn’t get many post touches,” said Stover coach Ernie Haag. “When we did break the pressure we kind of panicked because we were behind and we rushed some shots we didn’t need to take. That’s the sign of a young team. Hopefully we’ll learn from it.”
Tipton’s defense of Jessica Petree, Ashton Pace and Paige Baker often kept entry passes from getting to the Stover low-post players and when Nolting and Uptegrove did get the ball, there was a hand in their face before they could get a shot off.
“We were trying to stay up and not foul them as much so they can go to the free throw line,” Petree said. “We were just trying hard to stay up and not let them get an easy look underneath.”
Tipton’s interior game gave the Lady Cardinals a 38-30 rebounding edge including 17 offensive rebounds. Tipton held a 19-11 rebounding edge in the first half before both teams pulled down 19 rebounds in the second half.
“One thing we talk about every day is blocking out better and we did a better job of that in the second half,” Haag said.
Tipton jumped out to an early lead with a Caroline Combs steal and layup making it 5-1 and another steal leading to a Pace layup to make it 9-6.
Stover came back with a basket by Nolting in the paint and a pair of free throws by Uptegrove to make it 10-9 but Tipton turned up the pressure and went on a 10-0 run late in the first and early in the second.
“They did a good job in the first quarter of taking it to us on our press,” said Tipton coach Jason Culpepper. “Second quarter we turned it around and played pretty good on our press.”
At one point the Lady Cardinals forced turnovers on five consecutive Stover possessions. Dowell started and ended the run. Her 3-pointer made it 12-10 Tipton late in the first and she made it 19-10 early in the second when she pushed the ball up court off a defensive rebound and scored a layup.
Dowell, a 5-5 sophomore who comes off the bench as Tipton’s sixth man, scored 10 points in the second quarter alone to finish with 17 for the game.
“She does a great job, especially in the full court,” Culpepper said. “In the first quarter she was taking it to the basket hard, she just wasn’t quite putting them in like she was in the second quarter. She does a great job of getting to the hole and twisting sideways enough to where she doesn’t charge. In the second quarter she was doing that well. She’s averaging more than 10 points a game as a sophomore and most of that is taking it to the hole.”
Tipton’s lead grew to as many as 18 in the first half before Stover guard Jensen Bauer ended the second quarter with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 31-16 at the half.
In the third quarter, Stover’s defense began denying Tipton, holding the Lady Cardinals scoreless for the first 11 possessions of the quarter while the Lady Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run. Uptegrove had a steal and blocked a shot during the run while Bauer scored on a drive to the basket and Hunter Miesner added a 3-pointer. A basket by Nolting made it 31-24 Tipton, but that is as close as the Lady Bulldogs would get. Alyson Brant hit a pair of baskets to close out the third.
In the fourth quarter Stover got within five with baskets from Uptegrove and Miesner, but Tipton answered with a pair of baskets from Baker, both after offensive rebounds, and a Petree 3-pointer.
“When they would play zone we seemed to get better looks and it seemed to work better and we’d pass it better,” Petree said.
Dowell added a 3-pointer to make it 47-34 and despite seven Stover points in the final minute and a half, the Tipton lead was too large to overcome.
“We just made mistake after mistake after mistake and Tipton is a good team and they capitalized,” Haag said. “They had a nice run to get up at halftime and that’s what good teams do to you. When you tun the ball over and get out of your game, they take advantage of it.”
Stover (8-7, 2-2 Kaysinger) will visit Smithton at 6 p.m. Friday.
Tipton (10-5, 2-1 Kaysinger) will host Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. Thursday.