by Beau Wicker
On a big night for Logansport’s star player, the Winamac Warriors just about stole the show.
The Berries barely held off the Warriors 62-58 on Tuesday night as Antonio Penny passed Danny Farrell as Logansport’s second all-time leading scorer in boys basketball.
Penny started his big night in a big way. After an athletic tip-in to start the game, he followed with a tomahawk dunk on a putback to give the Berries (10-8) an early 4-0 lead.
But the Warriors (7-10) fought back and it was a close game the rest of the way, as the Berries’ biggest lead was 30-21 after a free throw to start the second half.
An Adam Gruenig 3-pointer tied the game at 53-all with 4:10 remaining, and the Winamac crowd erupted.
Higgins then scored on a back cut and Penny made back-to-back baskets in the post to give Logan a 59-55 lead.
But Zach Shidler followed a score on a drive with a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 59-58 with 2:10 remaining.
Gruenig got a good look from 3 with 1:40 to go that would have given the Warriors the lead, but it was just off.
The Berries gave the Warriors their chances, as they hit just 3 of 6 free throws in the final 1:11, including missing two front ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity.
But Shidler missed two free throws that would have tied it with 41 seconds left, and his step-back 3-point attempt that would have tied it with 9 seconds remaining fell just short.
Higgins hit 1 of 2 free throws with 5.5 seconds remaining to finally secure the win for the Berries.
Penny finished with 22 points, nine assists, five rebounds and two steals to lead the Berries.
Penny, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard, has now scored 1,469 points for his career, passing Farrell’s total of 1,458. Caleb Springer is Logan’s all-time leading scorer at 2,042 points.
“Scoring, it’s a big part of my game, but I prefer getting everybody involved in the game,” Penny said. “The scoring, it comes.
“Being a point guard, being small, it’s tough getting in there to score. But I manage to get in there and maneuver. I manage to put it in the basket.
“It’s a great feeling.”
Higgins scored 17 points in the win on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. The Bullard cousins, Bo and Nate, each had seven points and six rebounds. Jacob Snow added six points and 11 boards.
Logan outrebounded Winamac 37-25 for the game, but Logan coach Mark Victor was not satisfied with the performance of his squad overall.
“I’m not real happy with what we did defensively. Offensively that’s about what I thought we could do, but defensively we just gave up about 18, 19, 20 more points than we should have, our goal coming in,” he said. “But you can’t take anything away from them. They’ve got some guys who can really shoot. The Shidler kid really hurt us. And they hurt us on putbacks on a couple of those I thought we were really out to lunch at times.”
Shidler led the Warriors with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds. J.T. Garnett and Parker Fox scored 11 points apiece. Gruenig had nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
“I absolutely couldn’t ask for anything else,” Winamac coach Kyle Johnson said. “We had a chance down the stretch, a big 3, some free throws, they didn’t happen. But I was proud of the guys. They fought the entire time. They did a very good job of executing the game plan. Some guys stepped and did hit some big shots. It was a good ballgame.”
“I’m sure it was entertaining for the fans, but it’s sure disappointing for the players. They had a great opportunity to beat a solid Logan team. When it came down the stretch, those guys just made more plays than we did.”
Both coaches talked about Penny moving up to second on Logan’s all-time scoring list.
“That’s an incredible accomplishment,” Victor said. “To move up that quickly, his freshman year he was playing with a bunch of seniors, Nate Champion and those guys. He really didn’t have a scoring role. But since then his sophomore through his senior year he’s been carrying the load so I’m really happy for him.”
Penny scored 203 points his freshman season, while Farrell was a three-year player for the Berries and did not play his freshman year. But Farrell did play on two Final Four teams for the Berries in 1959 and 1961, so he had a chance to play in more games per season.
Said Johnson: “Congrats to Penny because I like the kid a lot and I’ve been around him a lot over the years with basketball. I wish him the best and I wish those guys the best at sectional.”
Penny talked about his college prospects as well.
“I’ve got a few D-II offers on the table. Of course the Division I, Northwestern State. I’ve got a lot of interest from Middle Tennessee State. It’s still a process, I’m still waiting to hear it out. But I should be ready to make the decision by the end of the season,” he said “[Middle Tennessee State] would be the favorite, but if not I’m very comfortable taking one of the D-II offers, especially if it’s a full ride.”