NAPPANEE – Westview head coach Rob Yoder stated after his team’s 61-48 win Thursday at NorthWood that his team is used to the spotlight.
They showed it in the second half.
Leading by just one point, 31-30, with four minutes and change left in the third quarter, Westview went on a 16-6 run to close the quarter and then scored the first five points of the fourth quarter. Sparked by the play of Charlie Yoder, Westview showed why they are ranked No. 1 in Class 2-A, even playing in a tough environment at The Pit.
“I think we are used to it now,” Yoder said of his team. “We don’t think about it. We didn’t lose much last year. These guys experienced it last year. That’s really all they know at this point.”
Yoder, who hit just a handful of shots in the first half, came alive in the third quarter. Yoder hit a three to put Westview up 44-34, and with the clock running out in the third, stepped up and hit an off-balance three from deep that had the junior guard gesturing on his fans and letting the NorthWood students know he could hear their heckling.
Yoder, who also helped the rally with a pair of steals and hounding perimeter defense, finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Josh Hostetler, who got the run started in the third quarter with a three, ended with 14 points.
“I thought they did a really good job limiting how many times he got the ball in good scoring opportunities,” coach Yoder said of NorthWood’s defense on Charlie Yoder. “He probably just didn’t get comfortable early and missed a few shots he should have made. I don’t know if he was playing on emotion or what, but he made some plays for us and helped us pull away in the third quarter.”
The size of Westview also caused problems for the Panthers. Nick Rensberger, in his first game back from injury, made 5-9 shot attempts for 10 points and had three rebounds and five assists as NorthWood shrunk down on him when he had the ball in the post. Elijah Hales had just nine points, but only took five shots from the floor, yet adding three rebounds and three assists.
NorthWood head coach Aaron Wolfe, who himself has guided No. 1 teams in recent vintage, was pleased with his team’s performance despite the second-half collapse. Citing the positives from the first half, building blocks were created, and teaching moments came from the run Westview made to put his team away.
“I’m proud of our efforts and I think that we’re going to be able to draw some positives where I think we played well in segments,” Wolfe said. “I think there are going to be some areas of improvement when you play a very good basketball team that we can focus on where you learn how to be more consistent throughout the game. I’m excited about our basketball team this year.”
Ben Vincent did most of his damage early to get his team-high 12 points for the Panthers. Brock Flickinger and Matt Dutkowski both had nine points, Dutkowski adding seven rebounds, and Nick Bean settled at eight points. Jason Borkholder pulled down four offensive and six total rebounds to go with his six points.
The Warriors swept the night’s games with a 48-42 JV win. Ben Byrkett tossed in 22 points for the winners, while NorthWood had Jamarr Jackson scored 15 points and Cooper Wiens 10 points.
Westview (4-0) hosts Central Noble in a Northeast Corner Conference contest Saturday. NorthWood (3-2) visits Fairfield Saturday.