December 13, 2012

BOYS BASKETBALL: Logan opens NCC play

Cass hosts MIC game; Pioneer hosts Culver Academy

by Beau Wicker

— After starting the season 4-0, Logansport’s boys basketball team hit its first bump in the road last weekend in back-to-back double-digit losses at Frankfort and Lafayette Jeff.

The Berries will try to bounce back tonight, and a win couldn’t come at a better time as they open up their North Central Conference slate against visiting Anderson.

“We’ve had a good week of practice,” Logan coach Mark Victor said. “We watched film on Monday and have been tuned in the last couple nights. We’ll be ready to go this weekend.”

The Berries (4-2) are facing a veteran Anderson squad (2-2). The Indians are led by 6-foot-4 big man Trey Boyd, who hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer last year against the Berries.

“The last three or four go-rounds with Anderson have been pretty amazing really,” Victor said. “Antonio [Penny’s] freshman year was the last time we played down at the Wigwam. We were down big at half and rallied to win. The last time Anderson was here we won in 2-OT. Last year down there they hit the shot at the buzzer on a turnaround 17-footer as time expired. It’s really been a battle the last three or four years, and [tonight] it’ll be about the same, I think.”

Victor thought his team played better defensively against Jeff than it did against Frankfort.

“We need to play with that same kind of intensity,” he said. “We have to get back into an offensive flow and have more continuity in our offense.

“We’re going to start a different lineup and see how that goes. We still have to execute and play defense and rebound. It’ll be a good test.”

The Berries travel to McCutcheon (4-1) on Saturday night. The Mavericks have won four in a row, which includes winning the Lafayette J & C Hoops Classic title.

“They’re playing really well. They’re beating people handily,” Victor said. “They manhandled Frankfort.

“It’s a tough weekend, maybe our toughest one of the year. We’re going up against contrasting styles. Anderson goes up and down the floor with a quick pace. And then McCutcheon is big and strong and pounds the ball inside. They’re very patient offensively with three, four or five passes. And they mix their defenses, while Anderson plays straight man-to-man.”

Taylor (0-5, 0-1 MIC) at Cass (2-3, 0-1 MIC)

Cass coach Jon Kitchel is looking for better play from his squad after back-to-back losses to Hamilton Heights and Carroll last weekend.

“We need to get our big guys more involved in our offense. We need better shot selection, better looks,” he said. “I felt like we played pretty good at Hamilton Heights for three quarters. The free throws came back to bite us. We had to foul at the end and they hit 15 of 16 from the line to put us away. Against Carroll I didn’t feel like we had a good effort in that game.”

Taylor is winless on the season but did play a 4-1 Northwestern squad to within two points.

“Taylor is a better team than their record shows,” Kitchel said. “They’ve got some athletes and some scorers. They’ve played some pretty good teams here early. We’ll have to bring our A game.”

The Kings travel to Rochester (0-4) on Saturday night. The Zebras return three starters from last year’s team but are still winless to start the year.

“They’ve got a new coach [Rex Reinholt] and it always takes a little bit of time to get things going and get things worked out,” Kitchel said. “The coach is learning the players and the players are learning the coach.”

Culver Academy (0-4) at Pioneer (3-2)

The Panthers recorded back-to-back blowout wins last weekend against South Newton and North Miami.

They’re stepping back up in competition level tonight when the Eagles come to town.

“It looks like we have a tall task. They look good on tape,” Pioneer coach Pat Skaggs said. “I know they haven’t won a game yet, but on the two game tapes I’ve seen it looks like they may be the best defensive team we’ve played yet.

“They’re athletic. They’re quick up front and have a 6-11 kid inside who’s not a great offensive player, but he’s not just a skinny, lanky kid. He’s got a big body, a thick kid who is very capable of causing serious problems in a high school game. We’ll have our hands full will them.

“They’ve played some quality people. Elkhart Memorial has a probable Indiana All-Star. West Lafayette is very good, and they were up 1 against them at the half.”

Skaggs said senior forward Mitchell Williams is questionable with a sprained ankle for tonight’s game.

The Panthers host Argos (1-4) Saturday night.

“Last year it was a dogfight up there,” Skaggs said. “They beat Winamac early in the year. They have a good junior class. I’m sure it’ll be a challenge for us.”

Frontier (3-3, 1-0 MWC) at Caston (2-3, 0-0 MWC), Sat.

The Comets host the Falcons for their Midwest Conference opener Saturday.

“They’re a complicated team to prepare for,” Caston coach Ben Snyder said. “They run a lot of different sets. They change up their defenses and run five or six defenses.”

Frontier is 1-0 in MWC play after a win at Winamac last week. The Falcons host West Central tonight.

Caston is coming off back-to-back big wins over Carroll and Taylor last weekend after an 0-3 start to the season. Jake Howdeshell caught fire from the field and scored 61 points and made 15 3-pointers in the two games.

“It was a good weekend for us,” Snyder said. “We played really well against Carroll defensively and offensively. We had nine turnovers against Carroll and 10 against Taylor, and that’s the name of the game. Plus we got hip-ins and didn’t allow second shots. We held Taylor to 10 points in the second half. Those were the two big keys we took care of and it showed in the results.”

Winamac (1-3) at Rossville (2-3), Sat.

The Warriors have lost two straight to Frontier and Culver after their 13-point win over Rochester.

“I’m still very excited about this team,” Winamac coach Kyle Johnson said. “Our goal is to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season. We have a rough schedule at the beginning of the year and we’re going to keep getting better.”

Rossville is coming off back-to-back losses to Delphi and Western. The loss to Western was in overtime.

“Rossville has a great environment for basketball,” Johnson said. “They have no football at Rossville, so they take their basketball pretty seriously. They’ve got a good group of shooters and a lot of varsity experience. We’re going down there trying to get back on track and fix the things we’re not doing. We have to be aware of where the shooters are and not get caught up in the atmosphere and the loudness. We have to do what we do well and rebound better, do all the things that got us to where we are now.”