Sharp cuts and crisp passes allowed the NorthWood Panthers to build an early lead and hold off a late rally by the Northridge Raiders for a 66-61 Northern Lakes Conference high school boys basketball win Friday night at Northridge.

The Panthers led 21-6 following one period, 33-20 at halftime and 47-31 after three quarters.

“Ball movement is always important,” NorthWood coach Dan Gunn said. “We stayed spread out on offense and that aided the opportunities to cut to the basket. We also made some nice passes.”

The Raiders outscored NorthWood 30-19 in the fourth.

“Too little, too late,” Northridge coach Jason Ridge said. “We gave up a lot of easy baskets early on. I thought we were ready to play but, when you get down 10-0, that’s a big hole to dig yourself out of.

“I was proud of the way we kept fighting. We called a timeout with about three or four minutes left and told the kids to find some flow on offense.”

NorthWood (8-2 overall, 3-0 NLC) visits Lakeland on Tuesday and Northridge (5-5, 2-1) travels to Penn on Thursday.

The Panthers are all alone in first place in the NLC standings as Concord lost 58-46 to Plymouth.

NorthWood jumped out to its early lead by hitting 16 of 23 shots in the first half.

“A lot of those were layups,” Gunn said.

Ridge added, “Basketball is a game won near the basketball. NorthWood controlled that part of the floor. We didn’t.”

The Panthers had balanced scoring with four players in double figures. Six-two sophomore Skyler Titus tossed in 19 points, 6-1 senior Kelly Adams 14, 6-6 senior Nate Brown and 5-11 junior Dustin Bussard both 12. NorthWood almost had a fifth player as 6-4 senior Zach Troyer finished with nine.

“Titus is a good player,” Ridge said. “He does a nice job of getting open.”

NorthWood has some problems at the free-throw line, allowing Northridge to get back into the game. Overall the Panthers were 13-for-21 from the charity stripe, including 9-for-15 in the fourth.

“Northridge hit some shots late in the game and we missed free throws,” Gunn said.

The Raiders bombed away from beyond the 3-point arc, going 12-for-20, including 4-for-4 by 5-10 junior Derrick Troyer.

“You can fall in love with that 3-point line,” Ridge said. “We shot a lot of mid-range jumpers and ‘3s.’ We took very few shots underneath.”

Troyer topped the Raiders with 18 points before fouling out with :46 remaining. He scored 11 points in the final quarter.

Six-five sophomore Brent Eaton added 15 points and 5-10 junior Drew Carpenter matched his career-high with 12. He also netted 12 against Elkhart Central in the first game of the season.

“When you play Northridge you have to know where Eaton and Troyer are,” Gunn said. “They put No. 23 (Carpenter) in there and he surprised me.”

Carpenter hit two treys in both the second and fourth periods.

“We knew Carpenter could shoot,” Ridge said., “Tonight might give him some confidence.”

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