By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Now that the holiday season is over, it’s time for local high school boys basketball teams in the NLC to start seriously thinking about the race for the league title.
Teams played one league contest before the break, but things really heat up now as squads will complete their slate of seven conference games between this Friday and early February.
Among the league games this Friday are Northridge (3-6, 0-1 NLC) at Warsaw (5-4, 1-0) and Wawasee (3-5, 0-1) at NorthWood (7-1, 1-0).
Northridge is looking to end a four-game losing streak when the Raiders take on the Tigers who have won four of their last five. Leading scorers for the Raiders are 6-7 junior Nate Ritchie 19.7 points per game, 6-1 junior Sam Ahonen 10.1, 5-9 sophomore Pete Smith 7.3 and 6-1 senior Joey Ganyard 6.6. Top scorers for Warsaw are 6-0 senior Jared Bloom 18.0, 6-5 classmate John Swanson 13.2, 6-1 junior Jordan Stookey 11.9 and 6-2 senior Taylor Cone 8.4.
The NorthWood Panthers opened the season with six consecutive wins before dropping a 69-53 decision to the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings in the championship of the Winning Edge Holiday Tourney. NorthWood rebounded with a 69-59 win over LaVille on Dec. 29. The Panthers have a pair of players averaging in double figures with 6-5 junior Zach Zurcher at 18.5 ppg and 6-5 classmate Jonathan Wilkinson 16.3. Also for the Panthers, 6-2 senior Tommy Klem is at 8.8 ppg and 5-9 junior Tanner Farmwald 7.1. The Wawasee Warriors are seeking to end a three-game losing streak. Top scorers for the Warriors are 6-5 senior Ryndan Aaron at 16.3 ppg., 6-1 sophomore Alex Clark 12.9, 6-5 junior Chase Myers 7.3 and 5-9 sophomore Gage Reinhard 6.6.
Action continues in the NECC before the league tournament begins on Tuesday. The Westview Warriors (7-1, 4-0 NECC) travel to Hamilton (5-4, 1-2) and the West Noble Chargers (8-0, 4-0) host Lakeland (1-7, 0-4) on Friday with the Fairfield Falcons (4-5, 3-0) making the trip to Eastside (2-6, 2-1) on Saturday.
Westview has won four in a row since suffering their only loss of the season at NorthWood by a 63-54 score. The Warriors are led in scoring by 6-4 senior Kyle Miller 17.1 ppg, 6-3 sophomore Chandler Aspy 14.8, 5-10 junior Jordyn Bontrager 10.0 and 6-3 senior Nic Raber 7.9.
The West Noble Chargers have opened the season with 8-0 straight victories, including their first four in the league. Six-three junior Drew Schermerhorn 12;4 ppg, 6-5 junior Keith Gibson 11.9, 5-7 junior Nick Thomas 7.5 and 6-6 junior Phil Miller 6.9 are the leading scorers for the Chargers. Leading point producers for the Lakers are 6-1 senior Spencer Mortola 9.4, 6-3 junior Chandler Mynhier 8.9, 5-11 senior Mitch Herber 5.9 and 5-11 junior Daemyn Priestley 3.8.
Fairfield will be seeking to stay in contention for the NECC title as the Falcons are one of four teams that are undefeated in league play. Six-two senior Garrett Scott is averaging 12.4 ppg, 6-5 senior Brad Lantz 12.1, 6-2 junior Marcus Rodes 11.0 and 6-2 sophomore Joe Line 7.0.
Bethany Christian (3-7) travels to Argos (2-7) on Friday. The Bethany Bruins are paced in scoring by 6-2 senior Caleb Morris 13.2 ppg, 6-0 sophomore Sol Brenneman 11.9, 6-3 junior Abe Thorne 6.4 and 5-10 senior Isaac Schertz 5.2.
The Elkhart Christian Academy Eagles (5-1) are at Triton (5-3) tonight and at Lakeland Christian (4-7) on Friday. Leading scorers for the Eagles are 6-4 junior Cory Waycaster 13.3 ppg, 6-2 junior Ryan Kupferschmid 12.8, 5-11 junior Kenny Bearss 11.5 and 6-3 senior Tyler VanArsdale 10.0.
Six-six Triton senior Clay Yeo is one of the top scorers in the area at 29.0 ppg.