Tipler had 13 points, six assists and five steals off the bench to help No. 12 Three Rivers hold on for an 81-70 victory against Olney Central Saturday night.
The Knights, who trailed by 11 with just over six minutes to go, cut the deficit to two before Tipler went to work. After Danijel Zoric converted a fastbreak layin, Tipler found Zoric cutting down the lane to make it 74-68. Tipler came up with a steal on the next possession, leading to another score and an impressive road win.
"D.T. is a leader, that's all you can say about him," freshman Leonard Bishop Jr. said. "The way he was picking us up, that was good for us."
C.J. Hadley had 15 points and four assists for Three Rivers, which trailed by two at the half. Bishop and Nick Covington scored 11 apiece.
Although Tipler played just 17 minutes, five of those came in the final minutes with the game on the line.
"I thought Dereke showed a little of that sophomore leadership in the right situations," Three Rivers coach Gene Bess said. "That was very helpful."
Tipler, who was 3-of-5 from the field and 7-of-10 at the line, had just three practices after a two-week layoff from lingering tendonitis in his left knee.
"We're going to bring him along gradually in practice, then when it comes gametime he's going to go ahead and play," Bess said. "It will be interesting to see how he responds after this one because he had to play very, very hard tonight."
The Raiders (3-0) looked in comfortable control when Tipler converted a 3-point play, then found Derrell Minner on the next possession for a baseline jumper that made it 64-53 with 6:36 to go.
But Olney (1-1) answered with a furious charge and eventually pulled within two on a pair of Eric Gomez free throws with three minutes left.
That's when Zoric scored on consecutive possessions to help Three Rivers pull away.
Olney gained some momentum when Bess was whistled for a technical foul, leading to four straight free throws to cut into Three Rivers' 10-point lead. Two minutes later, Olney was within two points.
"I wish I wouldn't have done it," Bess said. "I just got a little carried away. I never try to get a T for anything like that, I just overdid it a little bit and shouldn't have."
But the Blue Knights never caught Three Rivers.
"He was upset with himself that he got the technical, but I wouldn't care if he got one every game," Tipler said. "It made me play harder."
Tipler came off the bench midway through the first half. A few minutes later, he came up with a steal and converted a tough layin to give Three Rivers a four-point lead. Tipler hit Minner streaking down the lane one possession later to make it 22-16.
Down 32-30 at the half, the Raiders opened the second half with three consecutive 3-pointers from Hadley, Bishop and walk-on Terrence Smith.
Bishop was 3-of-4 from downtown for the Raiders, who made five 3s in the second half after opening the game 1-for-5 from downtown.
"Some of us weren't shooting too well," Bishop said. "C.J. said somebody had to pick him up, and I felt I had to do that. Luckily I hit them."
Chris Carr had eight points and seven rebounds for the Raiders, who were 28-of-53 from the field. Three Rivers' bench outscored the Blue Knights 39-19.
After taking the halftime lead, the Olney was just 8-of-34 from the field in the second half.
"I knew coming in here they were one of the better teams we'll play," Bess said.
"I'm sure they don't think they shot the ball real good tonight and they actually didn't, but maybe we had a little something to do with that. To beat Olney here is a big, big win."