Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

March 2, 2013

CLASS 3A BOYS BASKETBALL SECTIONAL: Panthers dispatch Falcons in semis

SYRACUSE — A NorthWood team clicking in all phases Friday night was simply too much for the Fairfield Falcons to handle.

The Panthers scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter and sailed to a 71-41 triumph in the opening semifinal game of a Class 3A sectional at Wawasee.

That puts 16-6 NorthWood in the championship game at 7:30 tonight against the 19-3 Tippecanoe Valley Vikings who defeated Lakeland 63-53 in the second semifinal.

NorthWood, shooting 65.8 percent from the field, placed four players in double figures against a young Fairfield squad which wraps up the winter at 11-12.

“Any time you put yourself in the situation of having a chance to win the sectional, it’s special,” said Panther coach Aaron Wolfe. “We shot the ball extremely well in the first half.”

Junior Jonathan Wilkinson led NW with 16 points while junior Zach Zurcher tallied 15, junior Will Stueve 11 and junior Tanner Farmwald 10.

NorthWood led 12-5 at the first stop and Fairfield got within 12-9 when senior Garrett Scott hit two buckets in the first minute of the second stanza.

The Panthers then went on their 21-0 blitz and that made the halftime score 33-9. Senior Brad Lantz broke Fairfield’s drought by hitting two free throws early in the third period.

“We ran into a buzzsaw in that second quarter,” said Falcon coach Troy Beachy. “We didn’t take good care of the ball in that stretch and their transition game hurt us. Those two factors actually go hand in hand.”

NorthWood led 54-25 going into the final eight minutes when both Wolfe and Beachy emptied their benches.

“When NorthWood shoots like that, they can get into their traps and cause a lot of trouble,” said Beachy. “Even guys we wanted to take shots for them hit them.”

Sophomore Joe Line led the Falcons in scoring with 10 points and Scott scored eight. Lantz had nine rebounds to share game honors in that category with NW senior Tommy Klem.

The Falcons had 17 turnovers against the NorthWood pressure and were able to shoot just 34.1 percent from the floor.

“Tanner Farmwald gave us a big lift in the second quarter and we were able to create some separation with the score,” said Wolfe.

“Both Tanner and (junior) Kyle McCoy gave us excellent guard play. Zurcher was tremendous in reading double teams and was very unselfish with the ball.”

Beachy commented, “Despite the score, our kids continued to compete and play hard. NorthWood is just a really good team. We have young players who some day will be veterans.”

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