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Greg Jones

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90-point win was new to veteran Valley coach

– Tippecanoe Valley’s boys basketball coach Bill Patrick has been a head coach for 44 years, but even he encountered something new last Friday.

“I have never been involved in a game like that,” Patrick said Tuesday, referring to the Vikings’ 146-56 home win over Wabash.

The scoring output was the third-highest in the modern era in the state.

Patrick, who got his 700th career coaching win this year and is 707-276 overall at Whitko and Tippecanoe Valley, remembers a few other high-scoring games with one of his teams, such as Whitko’s 112-107 sectional win over Peru in his first year of coaching, but that game went two overtimes.

The near-100-point win by Tippecanoe Valley (14-2) over Wabash (5-10) was a byproduct of the Apaches’ Grinnell-like strategy to shoot a lot of three-pointers, substitute five players every couple of minutes and press full-court – the entire game.

Wabash put up 95 shots, 41 from beyond the three-point arc. But as it sometimes is with the Grinnell style, the Apaches gave up a ton of layups, and Valley hit 71 percent of its 91 field-goal attempts.

“Their objective, obviously, was to shoot threes and give us twos and try to outscore us that way,” Patrick said. “They don’t play like that normally. We didn’t expect that kind of a game.”

The next day, the Apaches beat Caston 58-56 in a return to conventional basketball.

Even though the strategy wasn’t working, it did help Valley’s Tanner Andrews tie a school record with 51 points before he left early in the fourth quarter. With a thin bench because two starters quit a week earlier, the Vikings had only two substitutes most of the game.

The win helped the 3A No. 11 Vikings clinch at least a tie for the Three Rivers Conference championship with a 6-0 record.

Patrick has seen Leo, which leads the state with 78 points per game running a Grinnell style, play a couple of times and said the speed of the game was “faster” than anything the Lions do.

“The pace was unbelievable,” Patrick said. “I wasn’t sure we were going to get through three quarters playing seven kids. Our options weren’t real great. But I think the fans enjoyed it.”

Coming into the game, Valley was averaging 63 points per game and came out of it at 68. For the Vikings, though, the game will remain an anomaly.

“You just have to basically forget this game. I don’t think there’s going to be any more games like that,” Patrick said. “You just chalk this one up as an interesting game and get back to playing half-court basketball and doing the things necessary to get ready for sectional.”

Greg Jones is the high school sports editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in the Fort Wayne area since 1998. He can be reached by email gjones@jg.net; phone, 461-8224; or fax 461-8648.

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