As a cold and blustery winter edges into the latter half of the season and holds Indiana in its icy grip, high school basketball is starting to heat up.
Northview's boy's team passed a very important pre-sectional exam with victories on Friday and Saturday night that should put other sectional opponents on notice.
On Friday the Knights played the defensive oriented Mooresville Pioneers who tried to frustrate Northview with a triangle and two defense to no avail. On Saturday, the up-tempo Knights faced a team in Plainfield that is nearly its mirror image, and won once more.
The Knights got 32 points, including seven 3-pointer from Logan Whitman who also scored his 1,500th career point in the game, and also got 24 from Zach Keyes in an 82-70 win over the Quakers.
"We got two quality wins this weekend," commented Northview coach Mitch Lancaster. "We faced a lot of adversity against Mooresville and that should help prepare us for sectional play. I'm really proud of our kids (Saturday). It's been a tough week for the kids and they came out with a purpose."
With many students still grieving after the tragic death of sophomore student/athlete Andrew Griffin in a car accident last week, athletes often took to the court with heavy hearts.
On Saturday night, Plainfield opened the game with a barrage by senior forward Jasper Tanner who hit five-of-six shots in the opening period to help lead the Quakers to a 20-16 advantage.
Whitman kept the Knights close through the first eight minutes with four 3-pointers and 14 first quarter points. His 1,500th career point came on a first period lob to the basket that Whitman caught and laid in as Northview kept the Quakers close.
In the second quarter it was Zach Keyes turn to take over the scoring load for Northview.
The senior forward seemingly couldn't miss in the quarter with a variety of jumpers and drives to the basket.
While Plainfield missed seven of their 11 shots in the quarter, Keyes nailed seven shots of his own, good for 16 points in the second stanza. Not surprisingly, Northview took a 42-31 lead into the halftime break.
"We really came out with a purpose," commented Lancaster afterwards. "We knew it was going to be tough to matchup with their scorers. They came in with three 20-point a game scorers. You'd be hard pressed to find teams with two of them."
While Northview has several high powered scorers of their own, in the third quarter it was forward Craig Greenwood who played perhaps the most important role for the Knights.
The 6-3 senior pulled down eight of his game-high 11 rebounds in the third quarter and helped the Knights weather a cold shooting quarter and keep the Quakers from gaining much ground despite hitting seven-of-12 shots from the field.
"Craig is really playing well," said Lancaster. "He was probably our MVP against Mooresville and when he's in the lineup we've been rebounding very well."
Greenwood had 10 points and five rebounds in a 58-55 win over the Pioneers on Friday night, added four points and on defense helped limit 6'5 senior Brandon Presnell to six points in the third period after a 12 point first half.
Plainfield would come out firing in the third quarter behind Presnell and Tanner who ran off six quick points after halftime to close the gap to 42-37.
The Knights would then get an alley oop layin from Whitman and a basket from Keyes before Plainfield senior James Padgett scored to make the score 46-39.
But Whitman would counter with a 3-pointer nearly four feet beyond the arc to push the advantage to 10 points.
The Quakers would make one more run to within four points at 49-45 on a Cody Money basket, but senior Tyler Akers would score underneath for the Knights followed by another long 3-pointer from Whitman and a basket by Keyes to give Northview a double-digit lead.
Plainfield would narrow the Northview lead back to eight points several times in the fourth quarter but the Knights would get solid team play in pushing the lead to as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter.
"Tyler Akers really played well for us tonight, hustling, getting loose balls. He really played solid," said Lancaster. "(Shawn) Hughes came out and battled as well. We got a lot of team play tonight."
That team play pushed the Knight's record to 14-3 overall this season while the Quakers fall to 11-5.
Northview will travel to South Putnam on Thursday night for a 6:30 p.m. junior varsity start versus the Eagles.
In junior varsity action, Northview dropped a close 53-52 decision to the Quakers despite 14 points from Jacob Reece, 13 from sophomore Nick Wells and a 10-point night from Devon Chamberlain.
Tanner 9-13 3-4 25, Sauer 0-0 0-0 0, Faris 2-6 0-0 5, Hofmann 3-11 0-0 6, Presnell 10-15 4-9 24, Padgett 3-6 2-2 8, Money 1-1 0-0 2, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Fakes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 28-54 9-15 70.
Whitman 12-21 1-2 32, Timm 2-8 3-6 7, Akers 1-3 1-3 3, Keyes 10-16 0-0 24, Greenwood 2-5 0-0 4, Brand 1-2 0-0 2, Hughes 1-3 3-5 6, Wells 2-2 0-0 4, Hoover 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 31-60 8-16 82.
3-point fieldgoals -- Plainfield 4-19 (Tanner 4-8, Faris 1-5, Hofmann 1-6), Northview 12-27 (Whitman 7-16, Keyes 4-7, Hughes 1-2, Timm 0-1, Akers 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Plainfield 25 (Padgett 7), Northview 36 (Greenwood 11). Total Fouls -- Plainfield 20, Northview 16. Turnovers -- Plainfield 13, Northview 15.