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Vikings shut down Geiger, Norwell

LEAD: Senior forward Sawyer Stoltz scored a game-leading 20 points in Huntington North’s 48–32 win over Norwell on Friday night.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

The Huntington North boys basketball team picked up a 48–32 Northeast 8 Conference (NE8) victory over Norwell in Ossian, Indiana, on Friday night.

The win improved the Vikings’ season record to 15–3 and their NE8 record to 6–1 to finish second overall in the NE8 this season, trailing only East Noble’s spotless 7–0 mark.

Despite a packed arena with a raucous crowd, Huntington North quickly quieted the gym with their play early in the contest.

Though the Vikings did not perform as well as they would have liked on the offensive end, their defense was flawless, as Norwell failed to make a single shot in the first quarter. As such, Huntington North took a 9–0 lead into the second quarter.

Huntington North’s outstanding defensive play continued throughout the second period, as the Knights struggled to break through. The Vikings kept upping their lead as the clock ticked before Norwell finally got on the board with just over two minutes left in the first half. Even with the Knights scoring late, Huntington North held an 18–5 advantage at halftime.

Coming out of halftime in a tough spot, Norwell upped their defensive pressure significantly to try to cause Viking turnovers. However, Huntington North fought through the pressure and continued to find the scoreboard.

The Knights’ offense finally came to life in the third quarter, as Norwell played the Vikings to an even quarter until senior forward Hank Pulver drained a buzzer-beating basket to give Huntington North a 15–13 scoring edge in the frame and a 33–18 lead overall.

The fourth quarter featured much of the same, as the frame proved to be nearly even on the scoreboard. Though the Vikings largely turned to their bench in the fourth quarter and sent Norwell to the free throw line frequently down the stretch, Huntington North came away with a comfortable 48–32 triumph.

“That (was) an awfully good start,” said head coach Craig Teagle. “It puts a little bit of doubt in your opponent. I think though, if we had executed just a little bit better in the offensive end, we could have bumped it up to 20 (points), which then when they go into halftime, there may be some doubt. When it’s still 13, they still think they’re in the game. So, we talked to our team about that, too. … We talked about just going in (and playing a) 16-minute game; ‘It’s 0–0, let’s win the second half,’ and I thought we did that pretty well.”

Though Huntington North’s offense did not set the world on fire in the game, multiple Vikings had nice nights.

Senior forward Sawyer Stoltz dominated in all aspects all night long, putting up a game-best 20 points while grabbing three rebounds and dishing out a trio of assists. Though Stoltz had a big game offensively, Teagle was blown away by Stoltz’s defensive showing as well.

“I thought Sawyer Stoltz was phenomenal defensively (and) up front in the post,” Teagle said.

“(He) had the hardest defensive assignment, and typically when you do that, that takes away from your offensive end. He led us in scoring, too. That tells you how hard he practices because he’s in such good condition that he can give you both those efforts on both ends, so that’s a credit to how hard he practices every day.”

Pulver finished second on the Vikings and in the game with 12 points. Pulver also reeled in a game-high six rebounds, blocked one shot, snagged one steal and doled out a game-best five helpers.

Senior guard Trey Williams poured in seven points to go along with three assists and one rebound, while junior forward Jordan Hollowell buried four points with one rebound and one steal.

Junior guard Deven Newcomb and senior guard Zach Daugherty finished the offensive output for the Vikings with three and two points, respectively. Newcomb added three assists and one steal to his totals, while Daugherty grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists.

Meanwhile, Huntington North’s defense was stellar, holding Norwell to just six made field goals in the game.

Levi Leidig led the Knights with 10 points and added two rebounds and one assist.

Will Geiger, one of the most potent players in the NE8, could not get going, scoring just eight points to go along with two rebounds, one assist and a game-high two steals.

Garrison Brege also sank eight points for Norwell to complete the Knights’ scoring podium, while Norwell’s offense was rounded out by Drew Federspiel, Eli Riley and Landyn Wilson, who scored three points, two points and one point, respectively.

“I thought we were really good defensively except for how much we fouled,” Teagle said. “They got 16 of their 32 (points) at the foul line. We (have) to move our feet a lot more. … Geiger is arguably the best player in the conference, so to do that job on him (was impressive). … I can tell you, we game-planned hard for this because we knew what a force Geiger was. (But,) you can game-plan all you want (and) you can practice all that, (but the players) have to execute. My hat is off to our kids because they executed our game plan; they played it perfectly.”

The Vikings’ junior varsity squad was in action prior to the varsity contest, as Huntington North defeated Norwell 45–30 to improve their record to 13–1.

Sophomore guard Sam Thompson posted a game-high 18 points for the Vikings.

Huntington North hosted South Side on Saturday night in Platt Arena at Huntington University, but results were not available as of The Herald-Press’s deadline.

The Vikings will be in action on Feb. 12, hosting Carroll in a non-conference battle.

Opening tip-off for the varsity contest is set for 7:30 p.m. in North Arena.

 Huntington North Vikings vs. Norwell Knights

2/8/2019 at Ossian

Huntington North 48, Norwell 32

Huntington North

Sawyer Stoltz 9–12, 2–2, 20; Hank Pulver 5–7, 1–2, 12; Trey Williams 3–4, 0–0, 7; Jordan Hollowell 2–2, 0–0, 4; Deven Newcomb 1–5, 0–0, 3; Zach Daugherty 1–3, 0–0, 2; Keegan Bartrom 0–1, 0–0, 0; Adam Zahn 0–0, 0–1, 0; Mitchell Gerber 0–0, 0–0, 0; Brett Kaylor 0–1, 0–0, 0; Garrett Trout 0–0, 0–0, 0; Sam Thompson 0–1, 0–0, 0; Totals 21–36, 3–5, 48.

Norwell

Levi Leidig 2–6, 4–4, 10; Garrison Brege 2–7, 2–2, 8; Will Geiger 1–6, 6–8, 8; Drew Federspiel 1–3, 1–2, 3; Eli Riley 0–3, 2–2, 2; Landyn Wilson 0–0, 1–2, 1; Conner Torson 0–2, 0–0, 0; Totals 6–27, 16–20, 32.

Huntington North 9 9 15 15 — 48

Norwell 0 5 13 14 — 32

Three-point goals: Huntington North 3–8 (Deven Newcomb 1–2; Hank Pulver 1–2; Trey Williams 1–2; Keegan Bartrom 0–1; Zach Daugherty 0–1), Norwell 4–16 (Garrison Brege 2–4; Levi Leidig 2–4; Conner Torson 0–1; Will Geiger 0–2; Eli Riley 0–3; Drew Federspiel 0–2). Fouled out: Huntington North None, Norwell None. Rebounds: Huntington North 23 (Hank Pulver 6), Norwell 16 (Conner Torson 3). Assists: Huntington North 20 (Hank Pulver 5), Norwell 5 (Conner Torson 1; Garrison Brege 1; Will Geiger 1; Levi Leidig 1; Drew Federspiel 1). Total Fouls: Huntington North 18, Norwell 14.