Twice during the game, the Tippecanoe girls’ basketball team lost a double digit lead. The second time, it nearly cost them a victory.
Stebbins used a late run in the fourth quarter to set up the potential game winning shot, but the ball bounced off the backboard and the Red Devils breathed a sigh of relief, as Tippecanoe walked out of Riverside with a hard-fought 56-54 victory.
Allison Mader led the Red Devils with a game-high 22 points, while Taylor Prall added 15, Cali Stewart scored 11 and Brooke Aselage scored seven.
Stebbins was led by three players in double figures, as Bryanna Bransford scored 18, Madison Cook added 16 and Alyssa Bowman scored 15.
Tipp jumped out on the Indians fast, as they led 6-0 just two minutes into the game as Mader scored two quick layups and Prall hit a 10-footer. Mader ran off four more points and had eight points in the games’ first four minutes, and a layup from Stewart with 3:23 left in the first period gave Tipp a 12-3 lead.
The lead was pushed to 17-6 with just over two minutes left in the period before the Tipp offense was bottled up for a six minute span.
Over that time, Stebbins fought back. Bransford scored seven straight points, while Cook added two short shorts at the rim and with 4:28 left in the second period, Stebbins had fought all the way back to enjoy a 19-17 lead.
Tipp answered and regained their lead as Stewart scored four points to give the Red Devils a 25-19 advantage. Tipp used a 13-3 run to end the half to go into the intermission with a 30-22 lead.
The Red Devils built on their lead in the third, as five different Tipp players scored and they took their advantage out to 49-32 heading to the fourth.
Then the Indians mounted an improbable comeback in the fourth quarter. Using a 13-2 run during the middle of the period, Stebbins charged all the way back to cut their deficit to 54-49 with 31 seconds left. Mader then hit a free throw but Stebbins answered when Cook scored and after a missed free throw from Hailee Varvel, Bowman buried a long three, cutting the Tipp lead to 55-54 and Mader at the line for Tipp.
She hit one of two, and as the buzzer sounded, Korina Murphy missed a driving shot off the glass, and Tipp had escaped.
The Red Devils are at West Carrollton tonight, then travel to Sidney on Saturday.