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First-half dominance leads Vikes to win

By NICK ALTMAN - Herald Press Correspondent

WARSAW – After narrowly defeating a scrappy Southwood team Friday, the Huntington North boys’ basketball team wasted no time jumping on Warsaw at the Tiger Den on Saturday.

The Vikings dominated the first half, holding a 20-point advantage at the intermission.

And it was a good thing as the Tigers clawed their way back in the second half before the Vikes held on for a 44-36 win.

“I just thought that we played kind of robotic in the second half, both offensively and defensively, and you can’t do that,” said Huntington North head coach Craig Teagle. “You’ve just got to go out there and play. When all is said and done, have fun, man. You don’t know when it’s the last time you’re going to lace up your sneakers.”

Huntington North (4-0) held a 28-8 lead at halftime after hitting 11 of 16 shot attempts, going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Defensively, the Vikings held Warsaw (2-2) to just three baskets in the first half.

“About as good of 16 minutes as we can play, I think, in the first half. Our defensive intensity was really, really good. Offensively, I felt we really executed,” Teagle said. “In the second half, they became really aggressive. They were physical and out-toughed us.”

The Vikes initially seemed to pick up where they left off to start the third period, scoring the first six points of the half and taking a 34-8 lead following a basket by Sawyer Stoltz with 3:20 left in the period.

Then, the Tigers picked up their defensive pressure, and the HN offense stalled. Warsaw closed the quarter with an 8-0 run, capped by old-fashioned three-point play by Tyler Metzinger after a Stoltz foul.

The Vikings’ offensive drought lasted another six minutes into the final stanza, while the Tigers battled back. A pair of free throws by Jaylen Reese capped a 20-0 Warsaw run, cutting the HN lead to 34-28 with 1:57 to play.

“We gave up a ton of offensive rebounds in the second half,” Teagle said. “I think we’d given up three or four in the first half and probably gave up 11 or 12 in the second half. They just battled and they fought. They had nothing to lose at that point.”

The foul that put Reese at the line was also Zach Daugherty’s fourth foul.

A Daugherty basket ended the Tigers’ run, but he was charged with his fifth foul on the next Warsaw possession.

Foul trouble limited Daugherty just to 18 minutes of play.

“Anytime Zach goes to the bench, we’re a different basketball team. He’s our main point guard and can hit the shots,” Teagle said. “I thought Trey [Williams] came in and played outstanding in that position and gave us good minutes, but it’s just not the same. We need Zach on the floor.”

Late free throws by Williams, Mitch Geller and Hank Pulver kept the Vikings on top in the closing minute.

“The good news for us, we’re 4-0, and I do not think we’ve played that well,” Teagle said. “I think we’re not even close to where we can be.”

Despite limited minutes, Daugherty led all scorers with 15 points. Williams tallied 10 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Stoltz finished with seven points and three blocked shots. Geller added six points and five boards for Huntington North.

Warsaw was paced by Metzinger with nine points, three rebounds and two blocks, while Nolan Groninger added eight points and four assists.

The Vikings opened the contest with back-to-back three-pointers from Daugherty, prompting an early Warsaw timeout. A basket by Zach Riley got the Tigers on the board, but the Vikes used a 10-1 run to build a 16-3 lead after one period.

Huntington North opened the second period with an 8-3 run capped by a Williams three-pointer, giving the Vikes a 24-6 lead with 5:22 left in the half.

The Vikings will host Manchester on Bob Straight Court at North Arena on Saturday. The junior varsity game will tip off at 6 p.m.

NOTES: It was the Vikings’ first victory over Warsaw since 2012. … It was HN’s first win at the Tiger Den since the 2005-06 season. … The Vikings’ 4-0 start is the best at HN since the 2005-06 team opened the season by going 10-0.

JUNIOR VARSITY

Warsaw controlled the junior varsity matchup, defeating Huntington North 65-27.

The Vikings shot just 24 percent from the field, while the Tigers maintained a 65 percent pace.

Deven Newcomb and Aiden Hosler led the Vikes with seven points apiece. Hosler also had four rebounds and two assists. Mitchell Gerber added four points.

Warsaw’s Wyatt Amiss led all scorers in the game with 12 points.

Blake Marsh finished with 11 points, four assists and four steals, while Keagan Larsh added 10 points and four steals. 

HUNTINGTON NORTH 44, WARSAW 36

Saturday

at the Tiger Den

HUNTINGTON NORTH (44)

Daugherty 5-6 2-4 15, Williams 3-5 2-2 10, Stoltz 3-9 1-2 7, Geller 1-2 4-4 6, Stoffel 2-2 0-0 4, Pulver 0-1 2-4 2, Bartrom 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 14-26 11-18 44.

WARSAW (36)

Metzinger 3-6 3-3 9, Groninger 2-9 3-3 8, Elliott 3-9 0-0 7, Rhoades 1-10 1-2 4, Riley 2-9 0-0 4, Reese 1-3 2-2 4, Ferber 0-3 0-0 0, Rumple 0-0 0-0 0, Sands 0-0 0-0 0, Grose 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 12-53 9-10 36.

Huntington North 16 12 6 10 44

Warsaw 3 5 8 20 36

3-point goals — Huntington North 5-10 (Daugherty 3-4, Williams 2-4, Bartrom 0-1, Pulver 0-1), Warsaw 3-21 (Groninger 1-5, Elliott 1-2, Rhoades 1-8, Ferber 0-2, Riley 0-1, Grose 0-3). Fouled out — Huntington North (Zach Daugherty), Warsaw (Riley). Rebounds — Huntington North 28 (Pulver 5, Geller 5), Warsaw 30 (Riley 9). Assists — Huntington North 9 (Williams 4), Warsaw 9 (Groninger 4). Total Fouls — Huntington North 15, Warsaw 20.