Goshen News, Goshen, IN


December 7, 2012

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Hot-shooting Panthers chill Warriors

NAPPANEE —  Based on some of the signs in the NorthWood student section at Thursday night’s high school boys basketball game you might have thought there was a football game going on.

One student held up a sign that said “Zurcher for Heisman” and another one that read “Johnny Basketball.”

The signs provided the necessary incentive as 6-5 junior Zach Zurcher and 6-5 classmate Jonathan Wilkinson both netted 18 points as the NorthWood Panthers defeated the Westview Warriors, 63-54, in the “Panther Pit.”

“We have the best student section,” NorthWood coach Aaron Wolfe.

The Panthers also have a pretty good basketball team. NorthWood was 19-of-32 shooting (7-of-10 from 3-point range) and their zone defense aided the Warriors in a 19-of-59 shooting night (4-of-24 from beyond the arc).

“We got into some early foul trouble,” Wolfe said. “That combined with the way Westview was shooting kept us in the zone longer than we had intended. We were very fortunate that the Warriors were not shooting the ball the way they are capable of.”

Zurcher picked up his second foul with :33 left in the first period and was on the bench the rest of the opening half. Westview was up 16-15 after one quarter but NorthWood took a 33-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“It’s a game decision when a player picks up his second foul in the first half,” Wolfe said. “We stayed in the flow of the game with him on the bench.”

Westview also had some struggles at the free-throw line going 12-of-20.

“You have to give NorthWood some credit for our shooting,” Westview coach Rob Yoder said. “We shot terrible. We had open jumpers we missed. We missed free throws. We got to the line, but you have to make the free throws no matter how closely they are guarding you.”

The Warriors had an inside game as 6-3 sophomore Chandler Aspy poured in 26 points. Aspy was the one exception to Westview’s shooting woes. He was 10-of-12 from the field.

“Chandler is very strong. He is very smart and very athletic,” Yoder said. “He may not look it but he is quick and agile.

“You would think with as much zone as NorthWood played when we have a guy get 26 inside points with the shooters we have we could find someone to hit from outside. You have to give NorthWood some of the credit for that. They found a defense that worked and stayed with it.”

Six-two senior Tommy Klem had an excellent game for the Panthers. He tossed in 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range. One of his treys was at 4:58 of the second period and gave NorthWood a 22-18 lead. The other was in the third at  4:22 to give the Panthers a 36-31 lead after Westview had pulled to within two points (33-31) to begin the second half.

“Klem hit some big shots for us,” Wolfe said.

The Panthers went on to lead 46-38 at the end of the third.

Westview had a 32-26 edge in rebounds. Aspy and 5-10 junior Jordyn Bontrager both had seven boards for the Warriors. NorthWood was led by 5-9 junior Tanner Farmwald with six rebounds and Zurcher with five.

Farmwald showcased his and NorthWood’s hustling style of play. He missed a 3-point attempt in the second quarter before charging to a basket to rebound his own miss. He scored the basket and was fouled on the play but couldn’t connect on the freebie.

“Tanner and (5-7 junior) Kyle McCoy continue to give multiple efforts at both ends of the floor, which makes their coach very happy,” Wolfe said.

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