WOODLAN/LEO IS THE AREA’S MOST UNDERRATED RIVALRY
Sometime between Saturday’s 68-63 win for Woodlan over Leo and when Leo Barstool declared this isn’t a rivalry on Twitter, I started writing this segment. Because not only is this a rivalry, its super underrated. Woodlan has now won three straight regular season games against Leo and they have all been fantastic. Two seasons ago, Joe Reidy beat the buzzer to top eventual state runner up Leo and last season it was Braden Smith beating the buzzer for the Warrior win.
This season, the game cam earlier in the schedule and it lived up to all the hype that it should have as a RIVALRY game.
Trey Hiteshew did whatever he wanted for a lot of the game, including down the stretch of regulation where he was practically unguardable for Leowhen he wanted to find and control his look. Hiteshew has looked good throughout this early season but Saturday’s game was as dominant as he has been.
That said, it was a Woodlan controlled scoreboard throughout much of the game. Major credit for that to a really hot start from Alex Miller. The senior has been through the grinder in his career and seen a bit of everything. It shows that it helps as he has developed into a great leader for Woodlan. Sophomore Trey Yoder continued to demand respect with his play as well, pushing Leo at the rim with his offense.
Miller and Yoder were stout because leading scorer Braden Smith was locked down early. Credit to Eli Lagrange and others for their face guarding on Smith that kept him scoreless for almost 14 minutes and at just two points through regulation and the first overtime. But also credit to Woodlan for making the game what it was without Smith being able to get going.
Late, Woodlan had to rely on a lot of second shot opportunities and DJ Gerig was the one who stepped up with several of those putbacks. With 1:15 remaining in overtime, Leo took the lead 57-55 on a Jackson McGee floater and despite not converting on the other end, Woodlan got the ball back with 35 seconds remaining in overtime setting up Yoder free throws to tie the game and send the game to a second overtime.
In double overtime, up two points, Miller was able to hook up and around with a circus shot that pushed Woodlan up four before McGee’s three on the other end calmed the Warrior momentum. At the end, Warrior defense stood strong at the rim when needed to pull out the win yet again over the Lions despite 28 points and seven steals from Hiteshew and 25 points from McGee. Miller scored 19 for the Warriors and Yoder added 18.
SAC DOUBLEHEADERS ARE BACK
North Side and Homestead. Those are the only two schools who were able to draw sweeps on the opening Friday night of SAC doubleheader basketball.
North Side should get a lot of praise as both their boys and girls will have possession of the relatively new Reichert-Hey Memorial trophies for the first time together. The win for the Legend girls marks the end of a 23 game, 17 year winless streak against their crosstown rivals from South Side. It may seem small because they are both on the bottom end of the SAC girls standings but trust me when I say that it is a major thing for these North Side girls and head coach Mike Wallace. Jaliyah Paige almost hit a triple double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals in the win while Aniya Woodson had a 10 point/10 rebound double double.
This was also North Side’s second win of the week after topping New Haven 35-31 on Wednesday.
While Homestead’s girls looked cool and comfortable, their boys put on one of the best games of the night alongside Bishop Dwenger who certainly didn’t walk in already feeling defeated like some thought they would. Dwenger went up with 2:29 to play on Caleb Lehrman free throws and I will admit I kind of felt that with Grant Leeper fouled out, that Dwenger had the Spartans on the ropes. But Will Jamison helped the Spartans back and then with 7.8 seconds left, Kyron Kaopuiki stripped Sam Campbell, who had been playing great tough basketball, got fouled and hit the game winning free throws.
Also, big kudos to Homestead for topping New Haven on Saturday without Leeper, who was away from the team, reportedly on a college visit looking for a future football home.
Elsewhere Friday at Concordia, it was the Carroll girls who opened the night but the Cadet boys who finished it with a win. All the credit in the world to Concordia’s Avery Cook, who stood on the free throw line completely alone with zero seconds on the clock to shoot three free throws down two points. The opportunity came after Jaxon Pardon fouled Cook with no time left on a three point heave. Cook stood there, the center of attention, and just stroked all three of them to give the Cadets a critical early season SAC win.
They were three of Cook’s just five points on Friday in the Cadet win.
Finally, the Northrop girls, Bishop Luers boys, Snider girls and Wayne boys also forced splits.
SATURDAY GOT WILD
Two guys get some big notice here: Stratton Fuller and Luke Helmuth. They both hit buzzer beaters to give their teams wins on Saturday.
Fuller ended up on SportsCenter for his falling down 3/4 court heave to have Columbia City top Carroll. Helmuth scored with 0.3 seconds left for Westview to sink Central Noble. While Fuller’s looks to be the more impressive of the two on tape and secures a second long bomb buzzer beater for the NE8 over the SAC this season, both are huge. Two guys, neither of whom are “the guy” on their team, making things happen and picking up big wins.
Fuller had a great week in this win (19 points) and earlier in the week in a win over Churubusco. He has emerged as a big time second option for the Eagles early this season.
Both shots also go to show just how wide open the boys side of things are. It’s fair to say that both Columbia City and Westview could have been considered underdogs in these games for one. But, for two, it just never is over until it is over. I mean, how many buzzer beaters have we seen this season to win games? The numbers seem endless.
The first of those Saturday brings us back to Carroll who lost two games in two days basically in one to two total seconds, depends on how you want to time it all out. The Chargers are going to be just fine and here is why: coach Ryan Abbott has them buying into his system in just year two. That is never easy quickly and certainly not after a 2-21 season a year ago. The Chargers are bringing so many good things to the table right now and this weekend stung, but that’s why we wrap it up and charge on to a new week.
There are a few records that could fall in the coming weeks but the most captivating to watch is Jay County‘s Renna Schwieterman. We have known all along that the Jay County and ACAC scoring titles are within reach and still nobody has had a consistent answer for her offensive prowess.
Can we say that Schwieterman is the most critically underrated player in an area that puts a lot of stock in the SAC and NE8 and sometimes forgets the ACAC partially because of just how dominant Schwieterman and the Patriots have become? On Tuesday, she entered the top 10 in ACAC history with 23 points. She added 25 points on Friday in a win over Adams Central to move up to 8th all-time on that ACAC list. It also moved Schwieterman to within 29 points from the Jay County basketball scoring record.
Luke McBride is chasing down the scoring record at Norwell. On Wednesday, he became the program’s third all-time leading scorer by passing Josh Van Meter. That put McBride behind Will Geiger for second and Darin Archbold for first. On Saturday, McBride scored 23 points to lead Norwell by Franklin Central in dominant fashion, 78-43, at the Tipoff Classic at Southport.
Luke Saylor‘s 20 points in Saturday’s win over Bellmont puts his 33 points away from tying Heritage‘s all-time scoring record.
Bailey Kelham now sit just 26 points away from Brandi Dawson‘s Garrett girls basketball scoring record of 1,432 points.
Elsewhere, Madi Vice (Central Noble), Darrion Brooks (New Haven) and Chase Bachelor (Prairie Heights) are closing in on the 1,000 career point marks.
OTHER GIRLS HOOPS NOTES
Northrop started their Wednesday game against East Noble up 20-0 after the first quarter….Warsaw continues to prove they are for real with an 80-65 win over Carroll on Wednesday behind Brooke Zartman‘s 18 points as she continues her hot streak and a big 22 points, 8 rebounds from Brooke Winchester.…Huntington North girls had three non-Taylor Double 20 point games this week, starting with Marissa Trout who hit 20 in wins over Manchester and New Haven while Gracie Fields scored 21 against New Haven….On Friday, Danica Fuller‘s three pointer for Heritage was the first made basketball on the newly dedicated Cheri Gilbert court that was dedicated on Friday night. Fuller went 4-of-4 from three point range Friday.
OTHER BOYS HOOPS NOTES
Austin Cripe secured his first ever triple double Wednesday in a West Noble win over Concord. He scored 17, while adding 11 assists and 10 rebounds in the 66-34 win. West Noble shot 73% as a team….Wayne improved to 3-0 on the season, all road games….Isaiah Gard is continuing to show his development for Central Noble, scoring a game high 18 points in Saturday’s loss to Westview.
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