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Vikings grind out overtime road victory

BY NICK ALTMAN - Herald Press Correspondent

FORT WAYNE – It’s cold and gray outdoors. The fresh start of the basketball season seems to be a distant memory, and the excitement of the post-season is too far away to focus on.

Huntington North boys’ basketball coach Craig Teagle gets it – January during basketball season is a grind.

So when the Vikings didn’t put on their best performance yet still came away with a 59-54 overtime victory at Concordia Tuesday, Teagle was at least satisfied with the final result.

“This is the dog days of January. Every team I’ve ever had goes through a three- or four-game stretch where they’re just flat and fatigued,” Teagle said. “But everyone fights that this time of year, and it’s the team that can mentally fight through that, that finds a way to win. To get a win tonight, we found a way finally.”

The Vikings (11-3) had been close recent weeks. They fell to then-Class 4A No. 2 Hamilton Southeastern in late-December by one point. Then, they missed a late opportunity to edge Northeast 8 Conference foe East Noble to start the new year.

But while the Vikes made just 40 percent of their shots and the ball didn’t always bounce their way Tuesday, they stayed aggressive defensively, forcing 12 Cadet turnovers, including nine steals.

“When you’re not shooting the ball well, and when you’re not doing other things, anybody can get on the floor,” Teagle said. “Anybody can get after a loose ball. Anybody can hustle. We’ve got to have those things, especially in a game like tonight.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, a free throw by Sawyer Stoltz gave the Vikings their largest lead of the second half at 45-40, but the Cadets surged to a 47-46 advantage with 7-1 run capped by a basket by Adam Gottschalk with 1:42 left in regulation.

A bucket by Zach Daugherty put the Vikes back on top, and Daugherty made one of two free throws for a 49-47 HN advantage with less than a minute to play. A basket by Concordia’s Jadon Dance evened the score at 49-49 with 25 seconds on the clock, and the Vikings’ last possession of regulation ended with a Gottschalk steal as Hank Pulver drove the baseline.

“I thought we were a little passive at times, but what I liked was that late in the game, when it was going back and forth, I didn’t think we played on our heels like we did earlier in the year,” Teagle said. “We still made two or three turnovers, but at least we made them while we were still trying to attack instead of being passive.”

Huntington North took command in the extra period. After the Vikings controlled the opening tip, Daugherty drove to the basket, drawing the fifth foul on the Cadets’ 6-7 center Cleevas Craig. Daugherty made both free throws, and Mitch Geller followed with a basket to give the Vikes a 53-49 lead with 2:51 to left.

Concordia (4-7) pulled within a point following a basket by Dance, but Pulver and Joe Stoffel secured the victory from the charity stripe in the closing seconds.

The Vikings were led by Daugherty with 14 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists, and Trey Williams had three boards and four assists. Stoffel and Keegan Bartrom each tallied nine points, while Pulver pulled down 10 rebounds to go with two blocked shots.

Gottschalk paced the Cadets with 13 points, while Dance and Brayden Pearson each added 12 points. Dance also had five rebounds.

Huntington North held a 14-9 lead after one quarter after a Bartrom three-pointer to close the period. The HN lead stretched to eight points early in the second quarter following a Trey Williams three-pointer.

Concordia responded with a 13-2 run, capped by a Cade Motter basket with 2:20 left in the half to give the Cadets a 22-19 lead. A pair of Daugherty free throws stalled the Concordia run, but the Cadets still took a 25-21 advantage into the break.

Stoltz and Gottschalk traded baskets to start the second half before a three-pointer by Stoffel trimmed the Concordia lead to 27-26 with just over six minutes left in the third.

Bartrom then regained the lead for the Vikes with a three-pointer, but Pearson answered with a trey at the other end. Bartrom then hit another three-pointer, only to be countered by a Gottschalk three midway through the third.

“I want to thank Keegan Bartrom for coming in and hitting some shots for us tonight. I thought he was a real difference-maker,” Teagle said. “When they could’ve stretched it, he helped us get the lead early in the third quarter with a couple of big threes, so he played outstanding coming off the bench tonight.”

Huntington North will return to NE8 play Friday at Columbia City. The junior varsity game will tip off at 6:15 p.m.

JUNIOR VARSITY

HUNTINGTON NORTH 34, CONCORDIA 23

The Vikings fell behind early but outscored the Cadets in the final three quarters to earn a 34-23 win.

Aiden Hosler led the Vikes with 15 points and five rebounds, and Sam Thompson had eight points and six boards. Mitchell Gerber added six points.

Jaden Parnin paced with Cadets with nine points, while Luke Neuhaus tallied six points.

 

HUNTINGTON NORTH 59, CONCORDIA 54

Tuesday

at Concordia Lutheran High School

Hunt. North 14 7 16 12 10 — 59

Concordia 9 16 13 11 5 — 54

HUNTINGTON NORTH (59)

Daugherty 4-7 6-8 14, Williams 5-8 1-1 13, Bartrom 3-6 0-0 9, Stoffel 2-4 3-4 9, Stoltz 1-3 4-6 6, Pulver 1-9 2-3 4, Geller 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 18-44 16-22 59.

CONCORDIA (54)

Gottschalk 4-11 3-5 13, Dance 4-10 4-4 12, Pearson 4-10 1-4 12, Motter 3-4 1-3 9, Craig 3-4 2-3 8, Kindig 0-1 0-0 0, Bartkowiak 0-3 0-0 0, Jordan 0-0 0-0 0, Quintana 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-45 11-19 54.

3-point goals — Huntington North 7-17 (Bartrom 3-6, Stoffel 2-4, Williams 2-5, Daugherty 0-2), Concordia 7-22 (Pearson 3-5, Gottschalk 2-7, Motter 2-3, Dance 0-3, Kindig 0-1, Bartkowiak 0-3). Fouled out — Geller, Craig. Rebounds — Huntington North 36 (Pulver 10), Concordia 26 (Dance 5). Assists — Huntington North 16 (Stoltz 4, Williams 4), Concordia 7 (Dance 2, Quintana 2). Total Fouls — Huntington North 17, Concordia 18.