NAPPANEE – The winning ways continued for the NorthWood boys basketball team Thursday night.
The host Panthers topped Mishawaka 55-43 in a first-round matchup of the Dan Gunn Classic.
NorthWood, ranked No. 1 in the Class 3-A AP poll, improved to 7-0 on the season. The Panthers will meet South Bend Clay in the title game of the holiday tournament at around 7:45 Friday night.
Clay topped Edwardsburg 72-41 in the other first-round contest Thursday night. The Colonials improved to 4-3 with their win.
NorthWood used a balanced attack to best the Cavemen. Luke Zurcher scored 17 points to pace the Panthers. Vine Miranda netted 16 points and Caleb Lung added 15.
Lung also led the winners with 10 rebounds. Zurcher had five assists and Miranda three steals in the win.
Mishawaka, which drops to 2-5, led 16-15 after the opening quarter. The Panthers led 23-19 at halftime and 37-30 at the end of the third period.
John Binion led Mishawaka with 22 points.
Former NorthWood coach Dan Gunn, along with several members of the 2007 regional championship team, were honored Thursday night. Gunn began his coaching career at NorthWood in 1975 and then returned there in 1992 after coaching at three other schools. He posted a 514-318 mark in 36 seasons overall and led NorthWood to three sectional titles, the only two Northern Lakes Conference crowns in program history and the lone regional championship.
Gunn’s 2006-2007 team, his final one at NorthWood, went 19-6 overall and won the NLC title at 6-1. They defeated Fort Wayne Luers 70-63 in overtime and Tippecanoe Valley 61-52 to win the regional title before losing to Plymouth 63-47 in the semistate. The Panthers were led that season by senior Zach Troyer and sophomore Skyler Titus.
Mishawaka faces Edwardsburg in the consolation game Friday at 6 p.m.
In the JV portion of the tournament, NorthWood topped Mishawaka 48-28. Jason Burkholder led the Panthers with 11 points. NorthWood will face Clay in the championship game of the JV event at 4 p.m. Friday in the Panther Pit at NorthWood High School. Mishawaka will face Edwardsburg, also at 4 p.m., in the consolation game at Nappanee Elementary School.