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North celebrates homecoming, extends winning streak to nine games by knocking off Southport

Jan. 20—Terre Haute North treated winter homecoming queen Ella Winchell and her dressed-to-kill court to a ninth consecutive victory Saturday afternoon, this time a 59-46 decision over Southport in Conference Indiana boys high school basketball.

Braden Walters and reserve Brady Klopfenstein paced the balanced Patriots with 13 and 10 points respectively as coach Todd Woelfle's squad improved its records to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in CI action.

North jumped ahead 5-0 in the first three minutes after a right-wing 3-pointer by Kavish Reddy and a short jumper by Kam Baker. Midway through the first period, a reverse layup by Walters and another trey by Reddy boosted the home team's advantage to 10-2.

The Cardinals from Indianapolis cut their deficit to 10-6, but a North 6-0 run — consisting of a rebound bucket by Reddy, a free throw by Walters and a 3 by Klopfenstein seconds after he entered the contest — closed the first quarter with the Patriots on top 16-6.

Sixteen seconds into the second frame, North's Jack Halls extended that 6-0 run to 8-0 with a driving basket through traffic to increase the lead to 18-6.

Southport substitute Donovan Brewer, who finished as his team's leading scorer with 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field and a made free throw on his only attempt, tossed in a trifecta with 4:18 left in the half to pull the visitors within 22-16.

But the Patriots tallied the next 11 points — a pair of field goals by Walters sandwiched around a short jumper and a 3 by 6-foot-9 Bryce Renn and a layup by Cam Fennell — to make the score 33-16 before the Cardinals put up the final two points of the half.

A long-range bomb from the left corner by Fennell gave the Pats their first 20-point margin (42-22) with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter. Midway through the fourth period, the Cardinals clawed within 11 at 52-41 on consecutive nice plays by Jack Turner — a trey from the right corner followed by a steal/layup combination. But they never reduced their deficit to a single digit the rest of the way.

"I thought we got off to a very good start," Woelfle told the Tribune-Star afterward. "It was one of our best, if not the best first half, of the season. We were moving the basketball. We played with pace, we were crisp and we were able to build a lead. Second half? Not as much. Not quite as good. Not terrible, but not quite as good offensively and defensively. But ya know, it's a big conference win for us at home."

Last season, for perspective, the Patriots lost at Southport 57-36 in late January.

"We're appreciative of all the people who came out for an afternoon game," Woelfle continued. "We're glad we could win for our homecoming court and those who came back for the Polaris [Awards for Patriots of Purpose]."

Polaris Award recipients introduced at halftime were A.J. Patton (class of 2004), Timothy Nation (class of 1984) and Dennis Grayless (class of 1981).

Back to basketball, Woelfle was pleased with Saturday's outcome. But he isn't making extra room in any trophy cases yet.

"We still have a lot to work on," he assessed, "but I think we're trending in the right direction."