Jan. 19—GOSHEN — Stuck to Goshen like a shadow, NorthWood's defense played attached to the hip all night, beating the RedHawks 48-30 on an eventual Friday night in the Northern Lakes Conference.
NorthWood, now 10-4 on the season and 4-0 in the NLC, forced the RedHawks (4-7, 0-3) to launch from behind the arc all 32 minutes, leading to the double-digit win that put the Panthers back in the win column following Tuesday's two-point home loss to South Bend St. Joseph.
Visiting head coach Aaron Wolfe praised his team's ability to spread the ball around.
"I thought our team was very unselfish tonight," Wolfe said of the Panthers who had 15 assists on 20 made field goals. "I thought it started with our guys delivering the ball to Tyler Raasch in scoring positions. Then I though Tyler Raasch was patient in the post to where we ended up getting some easy baskets out of his hands."
Wolfe also focused on his guards who made defending the Panthers difficult when everyone was centered on sharing the ball.
"I thought our wing play out of Owen Roeder and Keegin Stats were not only good at rebounding, but Owen was exceptional passing the basketball Friday night," Wolfe added.
Goshen dropped its fifth straight game, the second this week without senior forward and focal piece Ryan Eldridge.
"We had a good approach, our kids were confident in the approach, we just have to finish plays," Goshen head coach Michael Wohlford said about his forward who suffered what looks to be a season-ending injury during practice Monday.
"It's difficult when you're only one week away from losing your sun," Wohlford added. "Our entire team orbited around him. He was our leader. I really want to give credit to our kids for defending really hard tonight."
NorthWood entered halftime up 24-10 after ending the second quarter on a 11-1 run. Goshen was just 3-of-18 shooting from the floor in the first half, including a 3-of-11 mark from distance. NorthWood on the other side was 10-of-15 from the field and 3-of-6 from past the arc.
Ethan Wolfe led all scorers with 13 points in the half — 10 in the second 8-minute period.
The 3-2 zone from NorthWood limited Goshen to shoot from beyond the perimeter. When the ball was able to find the inside of the defense, the Panthers teeth clenched on the RedHawks.
Andre Williams scored Goshen's first two-point basket of the game at the third quarter horn off a reverse layup.
NorthWood's 11-1 run at the end of the first half became a 19-1 run in the third quarter. With eight minutes left, the Panthers led 36-19.
Goshen made a run in the final quarter. Levi Sawatzky scored seven in the frame to drop Goshen's deficit down to 14 after NorthWood's lead grew as much as 20. The Panthers never came close to losing their lead, scoring in transition to put the game away.
"I think we played 90 percent to 80 percent of our defensive possession really, really well," Aaron Wolfe said. "I think we were fortunate they missed some shots early but I thought we probably had a two-quarter stretch where our guys were communicating and moving very well."
NorthWood has now won six straight in the series against Goshen.
The RedHawks shot 11-of-40 from the floor and 6-of-27 from distance. Sawatzky led the Goshen scoring column with 14 points. Gage Worthman added nine followed by Braxton Cline (5) and Andre Williams (2).
The visiting Panthers were led by Ethan Wolfe (19 points), Seth Russell (10), Keegin Stats (9), Tyler Raasch (8), and Owen Roeder (2). NorthWood shot 20-of-36 from the floor and 3-of-10 from deep. There were also 5-of-9 from the free throw line.
NorthWood looks to start a new win streak next week when they host Indianapolis HomeSchool on Monday in Nappanee. They'll follow with consecutive conference games at home against Warsaw (Friday, Jan. 26) and on the road at Concord (Thursday, Feb. 1).
Goshen's schedule only gets harder for the immediate future. The RedHawks face three-straight road games traveling to Warsaw this Saturday, followed by Mishawaka (Friday, Jan. 26) and Penn (Saturday, Jan. 27).
PREP BOYS BASKETBALL
NorthWood 10 14 12 12 — 48
Goshen 6 4 9 11 — 30
JV score: Goshen def. NorthWood 41-32
Reach Matt Lucas at 574-533-2151, ext. 240325, or at email@example.com.