Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

February 6, 2013

PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers, Chargers advance

NAPPANEE — junior Morgan Olson tossed in 20 points and pulled down an impressive 18 rebounds, leading the NorthWood Black Swish to a 53-29 win over the Wawasee Warriors in the opening game of the Class 3A high school girls basketball sectional Tuesday night at NorthWood.

“I yelled at Olson at one point because we had just talked about the play during a time out and she didn’t know what she was doing,” NorthWood coach Steve Neff said. “I guess she took it out on Wawasee after that.”

Junior Kelsie Peterson poured in a game-high 25 points for West Noble as the Chargers edged the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings 60-58 in the nightcap.

“I’m happy to get the win and move on,” West Noble coach Dale Marano said. “But I’m not happy with the way we played.”

The tourney continues on Friday with NorthWood (20-3) facing the Fairfield Falcons (13-8) at 6 p.m., followed by West Noble (14-7) and the Lakeland Lakers (5-15) in the nightcap around 7:30.

The championship is Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The Black Swish had a good indication of how things were going to go on their first possession as sophomore Jordyn Frantz drilled a 3-pointer for a 3-0 NorthWood at 7:50 of the first period.

“We set Jordyn up on the first play and she popped the shot,” Neff said.

Frantz went on to score a total of 15 points in the game. She was 3-of-4 from 3-point range. She also grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots.

“Jordyn has such long arms,” Neff said. “She is also seeing the floor so much better than she was at the beginning of the season.”

A second indication came on NorthWood’s next basket as Frantz scored following an offensive rebound. The taller Black Swish had a 36-18 advantage in rebounds.

“NorthWood’s players are a foot taller and a barbell stronger than we are,” Wawasee coach Kem Zolman said. “NorthWood is a state contender and I have to give our girls credit. They were the ones that believed we could play with them. That is hard to believe when you see home much bigger the NorthWood girls are.”

Wawasee made the score 5-3 with 4:46 left in the opening period when sophomore Elizabeth Jackson connected from beyond the arc. That was as close as the Warriors got with NorthWood going on an 11-0 run for a 16-3 lead at the end of the quarter.

NorthWood went on to hold leads of 26-9 at halftime and 40-20 entering the fourth stanza.

“This is tourney time and you never know what can happen,” Neff said. “Kem (Zolman) had his girls doing what they needed in an effort to win the game. They did manage to slow us down.”

Olson had eight rebounds by halftime.

“Early on no one wanted to shoot,” Neff said. “Then we started to get the ball on the rim and offensive rebounding gave us scoring opportunities.”

Junior Taylor Fielstra scored eight points for NorthWood, but just as important according to Neff was her defensive effort on Wawasee senior KiLee Knafel. The IUSB recruit netted 19 points on 7-of-20 shooting.

“Taylor did a great job on Knafel,” Neff said. “She made Knafel work for every one of her shots. Knafel is a great player and IUSB got a steal by signing her.

“When Fielstra needed a break we put (junior) Inger Yoder on Knafel.”

Wawasee played a zone defense most of the game and really packed it in around the NorthWood basket in an effort to handle NorthWood’s size advantage.

“We had to do that so the score didn’t get silly,” Zolman said. “The plan was to make them work for everything on the inside and hope their outside shooters didn’t hurt us. Against a team like NorthWood you have to give them some things and try to take others away.”

Neff said, “Teams can pack the inside all they want. I think we have the outside shooters to counter that.”

Wawasee finishes 10-11.

The second game was a tight one with the score knotted 13-13 at then end of the first quarter and West Noble clinging to a 27-25 lead at halftime. Late in the third period, the Chargers opened a 39-33 lead after sophomore Lexi Shepherd drained a ‘3.’ West Noble went on to hold a 44-39 lead going into the final period.

West Noble tried to pull away by going on a 7-2 run to begin the fourth, opening a 51-41 bulge with 5:44 left to play. The Charger lead got up to 12 points (55-43) on a pair of free throws by Peterson at 3:50 and a trey by senior Ashley Shepherd at 3:06.

But the Vikings weren’t done yet. Junior Cara Hoffman sparked the comeback by drilling three treys in the final 2:38 as Tippy Valley closed to within two points (58-56) with :13 remaining.

Peterson drained two freebies at :12 to give the Chargers a 60-56 lead, but a basket by sophomore Caylie Teel with :05 made things interesting. Peterson missed from the line with :02 left but a long-distance attempt by Valley was off target.

“The bottom line is we are a better team than way we played tonight,” Zolman said. “We have some things to work on and I think we’ll play better on Friday.”

Tippecanoe Valley ends 7-13.

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