By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
After two home wins to start the 2012-13 season, the NorthWood boys basketball team was ready to take its act on the road Saturday night with a nonconference contest against Fairfield.
Things went pretty well for the Panthers in their first road game of the year: NorthWood defeated the Falcons, 65-37 to improve to 3-0 on the young season.
NorthWood coach Aaron Wolfe was especially interested to see how his team would respond on the road — and didn’t have to wait long at all to find out, as the Panthers opened with a 7-0 run and never really looked back.
“We came out and shot the ball well, and that gave us some confidence on the road,” Wolfe said.
The Falcons (2-2) did a nice job of weathering that initial surge, battling back in the opening half of the first period to trail just one at 9-8.
But the Panthers closed the stanza with a 9-0 run to lead 18-8 at the first stop.
The Panthers outscored the Falcons 13-7 in the second en route to a 31-15 halftime advantage.
Jonathan Wilkinson, who led all scorers with 20 points for the Panthers, said the initial push from the opening tip was key for his team.
“Out guards were doing a great job of passing, and getting me the ball,” Wilkinson said.
Fairfield coach Troy Beachy said the loss was another lesson learned for his young team.
“I thought we did a nice job of taking their first punch,” Beachy said.
“But we left their shooters open, and they were also able to get some easy baskets in transition.”
In addition to Wilkinson’s 21, the Panthers got 12 points from Zach Zurcher and 10 from Tanner Farmwald.
Marcus Rodes led Fairfield with nine points. Garrett Scott added eight.
Fairfield was a 31-26 winner in the J.V. contest. Josh Stephens led the J.V. Falcons with nine points.
NorthWood returns to action Tuesday night with another road contest at Jimtown.
The Panthers do not return to the friendly confines of the Panther Pit until Jan. 4. Fairfield hosts Hamilton next Friday night.