By GREG KEIM email@example.com
---- — MIDDLEBURY — Penn’s bigs controlled the inside while 6-1 junior point guard Jordan Geist directed the offense and scored a team-high 24 points as the Kinsgmen dealt the Northridge Raiders a 78-66 high school boys basketball loss Tuesday night.
Andrew Kimm, 6-8 senior, and 6-5 classmate Taylor Brooks did the damage on the inside for the Kingsmen as Kimm netted 10 points and Brooks 14.
“Kimm and Brooks had huge games with offensive rebounds and being a presence on the inside,” Penn coach Al Rhodes said. “Both of them are coming along this season.
“Our guards played well and put a lot of pressure on the ball. Geist is a great 1-on-1 player if we can get the defense spread out. He can make jump shots in the lane and his 3-point shot is improving. He has taught himself a lot. After his freshmen season he decided he wanted to be the starting point guard and that is what he has done.”
The teams played in December in the NIC-NLC shootout with the Kingsmen winning 68-65 on their home floor.
“Penn simplified what they did in the first game and drove it down our throats tonight. Geist drove it though the heart of our defense,” Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas said. “We’ve got to get back to the basics of guarding someone. Penn was driving the lane all night and either scoring on those shots or getting offensive rebounds and scoring on putbacks.
“We were coming off a good game (last Friday) at NorthWood. NorthWood is not in our class and Penn is. If we want to be an elite team in 4A we have got to play better against a team like Penn.”
Geist scored 13 points in the first half as Penn opened a 41-29 lead and 11 in the fourth.
“I watch a lot of NBA and college games and practice what they players do because it works for them,” Geist said.
Geist was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
“Geist is a really good point guard,” Thomas said. “He is going so fast, but he is also under control. We had no answer for him.”
The Kingsmen were coming off their first loss of the season at the hands of South Bend Washington.
“I wanted to lead my team and we got off to a good start,” Geist said. “The Washington game showed us what can happen when you get behind. We came into this one hungry because of that loss.”
Northridge (10-2) hosts Elkhart Memorial Saturday and Penn (10-1) is at South Bend Riley Friday.
The game was close in the first quarter with the Kingsmen holding a 19-16 lead. Penn slowly began taking control in the second and when Geist drilled a trey at 5:35 the Kingsmen had a 28-20 advantage. Northridge fought back with a ‘3’ by 6-7 senior Nate Ritchie and two freebies from 5-11 junior Pete Smith and the Raiders were down 30-27 at the 3:49 mark. Penn regained the upper hand and closed out the half on an 11-2 run for the 12-point halftime lead.
Ritchie lead all scorers with 25 points. He netted 11 points in the fourth period as the Raiders put on a comeback to try and make the score more respectable.
Penn was up 67-48 with 3:54 left in the contest and Northridge got back to within 10 points (71-61) at 1:14.
“Brooks and (6-3 senior) Christian Wittendorf did a good job defensively on Ritchie,” Rhodes said. “Ritchie is a great player. We wanted to make him earn his points.”
Smith tossed in 12 points for the Raiders with all but two of them coming in the second half.
“Smith hit a couple of big shots. The kind that if Northridge was going to come back he needed to make,” Rhodes said.
Sam Ahonen, 6-1 senior, and 6-4 junior Tom Morrison both scored eight points for the Raiders.
Penn had a 28-13 edge in rebounds.
“Our lack of rebounding really showed tonight,” Thomas said.