NAPPANEE – The NorthWood boys basketball team played spoiler Monday night.
The host Panthers turned back Elkhart Memorial 53-41 in the Northern Lakes Conference finale for both teams in the Panther Pit.
Memorial entered play Monday night tied atop the league standings with Warsaw, Northridge and Plymouth at 4-2 and was hoping to earn a share of the NLC title with a win in the contest that was postponed due to the weather last Friday night.
The Panthers had other ideas.
NorthWood, sparked by a hot-shooting effort from distance by Kaden Gongwer, captured its fourth straight win and closes out league play at 4-3.
Junior guard Gongwer canned a game-high 21 points as he connected on 6-10 shots from beyond the 3-point line.
NorthWood, which improves to 12-5 overall, led 9-5 at the first quarter break and 28-19 at halftime en route to the win.
Senior Caleb Lung had 11 points and five rebounds for the Panthers. Senior Brad Delio netted nine points and senior DeAndre Smart added eight points and seven rebounds.
NorthWood shot 19-41 overall from the field, including 7-17 from deep. The hosts were 8-11 from the free throw line and had 12 turnovers and a big time 30-16 advantage on the boards.
Senior Jose Soto scored 15 points to pace Memorial, which falls to 9-10 overall and finishes 4-3 in league play.
Junior Trey Gallope added eight points for the Crimson Chargers.
Memorial shot 17-41 overall from the field, including 8-22 in the first half. The Chargers were 5-18 from distance and 2-3 from the charity stripe and had nine turnovers.
The NLC title chase will now come down to two games. Plymouth plays at Warsaw Tuesday night in another game rescheduled from last Friday and Northridge hosts Concord Thursday night.
Memorial won the junior varsity game 57-51. Trent Edwards tallied 21 points and Ben Vincent added 19 to pace the Panthers. Brandon Brooks netted 15 points and D’arjon Lewis had 11 for Memorial.
NorthWood plays at Tippecanoe Valley Tuesday night and travels to Elkhart Christian Academy Friday night. Memorial plays at South Bend St. Joseph Tuesday evening and visits South Bend Clay Saturday night.