By GREG KEIM email@example.com
---- — MIDDLEBURY — There was a girls basketball game Tuesday night at Northridge High School, but according to Raider coach Doug Springer that wasn’t the most important thing going on.
“It was “Shoot For The Cure” night as the Northridge and Westview teams combined to raise money for the IU Health-Goshen Center for Cancer Care. Pink T-shirts commemorating the event were sold for $10, which also got you a free pair of sunglasses and entry into the game.
“Our program has been touched by cancer. Sophomore Ellie Lengacher’s dad Rick is battling cancer,” Springer said. “This was a chance for us to give back to the community. That is more important than what was going on on the court.
“Before the game they told me we had raised over $5,800 and I’m sure we will go over $6,000. Our Athletic Director Dave Harms donated all the ticket sales to the cause. All of the money we raised will go to the Patient Assistance Fund.”
The Patient Assistance Fund is used to help local patients and families offset costs associated with treatments and medicines.
Rick Lengacher and Crystal Yoder, teacher in the Northridge system who is battling breast cancer, were honorary coaches for Northridge.
As far as the game was concerned, Northridge cruised to a 54-36 victory.
The Raiders got off to a good start. After Westview won the opening tip and failed to score Northridge senior Brianne O’Dell scored on a layup and then proceeded to steal the inbounds pass and score on a second layin seconds later. At the 6:55 mark of the first period the Raiders were up 4-0. They went on to lead 19-7 after one quarter.
“Just before the game started assistant coach Brent Miller told me we needed to get off to a good start,” Springer said. “And that is just what we did. O’Dell is our motor. But some of the credit has to go to (senior) Morgan Miller. She was the one that tipped the ball to O’Dell on the inbounds play.”
Northridge went on to lead 38-17 at halftime.
“This is probably the best carryover from practice to a game we have had in my seven years here,” Springer said. “We talked in practice how we were going to defend Westview’s two bigs (6-1 sophomore Maria McCoy and 5-11 classmate Grace Hales). McCoy likes to score on the inside and we made it tough for her to catch the ball all night. We put two players on her.”
McCoy was held to two points while Hales netted a game-high 21.
“You have to tip your hat to Hales,” Springer said. “She got her points but we made her work for every one of them. There were no easy points for her in this game.”
Westview coach Randy Yoder said. “Northridge took it to us. They are a really good team. I told the girls after the game that my goal is for us to become a team like Northridge.
“Northridge’s defense made it hard for us to get into our offense. All night long we seemed to be starting things about six to eight feet farther out that we normally do. They did a good job on McCoy who had three or four inches on the players guarding her. They were doubling her and made it hard for her to get shots off.”
The Raiders were up 54-25 at the end of the third period before being outscored 11-0 by the Warriors in the fourth.
“We coasted in the fourth,” Springer said. “We are not going to go out and run the score up on any team.”
Morgan Miller led the Raiders with 15 points, Senior Mikaela Zook chipped in with 11, junior Taylor Miller nine, sophomore Kelly Miller six, Lengacher five, O’Dell and senior Molly Bontrager both four.
Also for Westview, senior Brooke Yoder had five points, junior Kristen Duff and sophomore Riley Hochstetler both four and junior Kaitlyn Warren two points.
Northridge (5-0) hosts Fort Wayne Snider Saturday. Westview (3-2) is at Bremen Thursday.
The Raiders were 27-18 winners in the JV contest. Sophomore Bailey Carithers scored seven points for Northridge and freshman Taryn Pruitt five for Westview.