Girls basketball: State-ranked Tipp led by five seniors

Tippecanoe senior Katie Hemmelgarn (middle) and her four senior teammates led the Red Devils to the MVL title. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
Tippecanoe senior Katie Hemmelgarn (middle) and her four senior teammates led the Red Devils to the MVL title. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

TIPP CITY – The first basketball championship Christina Pentaudi won as a coach was with her eighth grade Tippecanoe Middle School team in 2017. It seems appropriate those players, now seniors, have delivered Pentaudi’s most recent title, too.

The Tippecanoe High School girls basketball team stormed through the Miami Valley League at 18-0 and on Monday night improved to 20-0 with a victory over Beavercreek, 43-38.

Seniors Katie Hemmelgarn, Ashleigh Mader, Corinn Siefring, Kenna Smith and Rachel Wildermuth have played basketball together since the third grade. Along the way they became best friends, too.

“I feel like getting to do this … is the best part of my day, even if I’m having a bad day just coming here helps,” Hemmelgarn said of practicing and playing with her teammates.

Tipp clinched the MVL title with a 37-20 victory over Sidney on Jan. 30. It was the 22nd league title in program history. Tipp has one regular-season game remaining with Bellbrook on Thursday. Tipp then opens the Division II sectional tournament on Tuesday against the winner of Kenton Ridge and Stivers. The Red Devils are the No. 1 seed in the Mason 1 sectional bracket.

Pentaudi took over the program when Andy Holderman resigned to be able to watch his son play high school basketball. She’s guided the Red Devils to the No. 6 ranking in the D-II state poll.

There’s a hand-made poster hanging in the Red Devils’ gym that reads, ‘Making a STATE-ment.’ The Red Devils lost 63-54 in the district final to Cincinnati Roger Bacon last season.

“Us coaches have full confidence in them. They have full confidence in themselves. … We all believe they can do it,” Pentaudi said.

Mader leads Tipp with 13.4 points per game and is followed by Hemmelgarn (9.4), Wildermuth (8.5), Smith (4.4), sophomore Hannah Wildermuth (4.6) and Siefring (3.6).

Hemmelgarn (6.6) and Rachel Wildermuth (5.7) lead the team in rebounds. Mader is tops in assists (5.0) and 3-pointers made (36) with Smith right behind (35). Smith broke the program record for three-pointers in game with eight in a 65-31 victory against Stebbins on Feb. 1. She finished with 28 points.

“With all of us being so close, we all kind of know how to balance each other out,” Mader said of the team chemistry. “Just balance each other’s energy with all of our personalities. … I feel like our entire team, we’re really close this year. We all love each other. That definitely plays a part in our success.”

Tipp won four straight district titles from 2015-18. The last regional title came when the Red Devils won consecutive titles in 1986-87.

“We always talk about coming out to start each game and being confident in ourselves,” Hemmelgarn said. “I feel like the coaches have really instilled that in us, especially the energy and the importance of working together. … Nothing will be handed to you. We put that into our practices and into our team cultures.”

Butler: Sophomore Sami Bardonaro broke the program record for three-pointers in a season, hitting two against Troy Christian on Feb. 1. Bardonaro, whose season high is eight against Piqua on Jan. 8, has made 57 three-pointers on 145 attempts (39.3 percent).

Tri-Village: The Patriots won their third straight Cross County Conference title and end their affiliation with the league with 41 straight victories. Tri-Village, which joins the Western Ohio Athletic Conference next season as the CCC disbands, has gone 12-0 in the CCC the past three seasons.

Coach Brad Gray won his 300th game on Jan. 10 in a 69-38 victory against Trotwood-Madison and is 309-65 overall.

Troy: Junior Macie Taylor surpassed 1,000 career points when she scored 11 in a 47-35 loss to Tipp on Jan. 27. Taylor is averaging 16.8 points overall, second best in the MVL to Piqua’s Karley Johns’ 19.1.

Valley View: Senior Abigail Dickson broke the program record for career assists, set in 1995 by Beth Garner with 375.

Dickson has 387 career assists, including 63 this season. She had a career-high 125 assists as a sophomore.

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