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HN looks to stop losing skid

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@h-ponline.com

Facing its first losing streak of the season, the Huntington North boys’ basketball team will look to break a two-game skid tonight at home against Norwell.

The match-up will also be the Vikings’ Northeast 8 Conference (NE8) finale. After winning back-to-back conference crowns, the Vikings have faltered this season and enter the night with a 3-3 record.

East Noble is the lone undefeated team in the conference, sitting at 6-0 overall. New Haven is 4-1 in the conference while Leo is 3-2. Norwell also holds a 3-3 record in conference play.

The Vikings and Knights (10-8) have had a back-and-forth series with Norwell all-time with Huntington North holding a 13-12 lead.

The Vikings won three-straight contests dating back to 2014-15, but neither side has managed much of a win streak. Huntington North managed five-straight wins from 1997 until 2010, but it’s the only win-streak of that length in the series.

Huntington North fell in the initial meeting between the two in 1973 at Marion, 61-56.

The Vikings have dropped consecutive contests to Fort Wayne Carroll and New Haven after winning four-straight games in January.

Norwell, has swapped winning streaks and losing streaks much of the season, but currently has won three of their last four games with wins over Northfield, Bellmont and Columbia City. The lone loss came on the road against East Noble.

Huntington North currently holds a Sagarin rating of 81.99, slotting them 45th overall in the state. Norwell’s rating of 68.13 is 159th in the state.

Huntington North still features a balanced scoring attack with Zach Daugherty leading the charge at 10.5 points per game. Mitchell Geller, Hank Pulver and Sawyer Stoltz all average 9.5 points per contest.

Gellers leads the team in 6.7 rebounds per game while Pulver averages a team-best 2.6 assists per game and 1.5 blocks per contest. Daugherty’s 1.9 steals per game is tops on the team.

As a team, the Vikings are shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc this season with five Vikings hitting at least 11 three-pointers. Trey Williams and Daugherty each have 28 threes on the year.

Huntington North won last season’s contest 49-42 on the road.

On the year, the Vikings’ opponents’ record of 208-131 is 17th-best in the state. Huntington North also boasts the 89th-toughest strength of schedule.

Despite that, the Vikings are still 19th in the state in defensive average at 43.0 points per game.

Tip-off for tonight’s game is set for 7:30 p.m.