Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

January 29, 2013

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Chargers outslug Panthers in Ligonier

LIGONIER — Tuesday night was for bragging rights. In a few weeks, the stakes could be much higher.

It was “NW” against “WN” in a non-conference clash with the West Noble Chargers scoring a feel-good 63-60 victory over the NorthWood Panthers.

With showers falling outside, the Chargers were raining 3-pointers inside. They were 10-for-27 from long distance in running their record to 14-1 overall.

These two could meet again in early March as both the Panthers and Chargers are part of a tough Class 3A sectional field to gather at Wawasee in Syracuse.

West Noble, ranked No. 17 in the Class 3A poll by Associated Press, has a titanic Northeast Corner Conference test at home Friday night against the Westview Warriors. Tipoff is slated for about 7:45, following a girls varsity game.

Charger coach Jim Best said, “This is a huge win for us against a quality program. Our kids rose to the occasion. Friday will be a huge game for us and we need to be ready.”

Nick Thomas, 5-7 senior, led WN with 15 points while 6-3 junior Drew Schermerhorn and 6-5 junior Keith Gibson both 14 and 5-10 junior Brandon Evans 12.

The score was tied 16-16 at the first stop and West Noble went ahead 34-30 by halftime. When Schermerhorn hit a ‘3’ with 59 seconds left in the third quarter, the Chargers had their biggest lead at 55-42.

“We figured NorthWood would make a run at us in the fourth quarter,” said Best. “They are very athletic and gave us a tough time on the boards.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers by 5-9 junior Tanner Farmwald and 6-5 junior Zach Zurcher early in the fourth period got NorthWood within 55-50, but the Panthers never could quite get over the proverbial hump.

An 8-foot bank shot by 6-5 junior Jonathan Wilkinson pulled the Panthers within 61-57 with 1:14 remaining. A steal by  Wilkinson gave the Panthers a chance to get even closer, but they couldn’t convert.

Nick Noe, a 6-7 senior, hit two free throws for West Noble with 18 seconds remaining and the Chargers had a six-point lead to offset a late ‘3’ by Zurcher.

Panther coach Aaron Wolfe said, “West Noble showed why it is a team with only one loss. We had some defensive mistakes that cost us and we missed some opportunities to get closer.

“Our level of play was improved over the last couple games. Our guards were very patient and gave Zurcher some good looks with their passing. Wilkinson did a great job on the boards.”

Zercher led all scorers in the game with 28 points while Wilkinson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

NorthWood, 11-4, hosts Northern Lakes Conference leader Concord on Saturday night.

The Panther JV team improved to 13-2 with a 48-15 runaway from the Chargers. Freshman Dakiyron Fox scored 11 points for NW, junior Gabe Williams 10, sophomores Zach Schwartz and Travis Bear both six.

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