Western’s boys basketball team simply has Logansport’s number.
Even after falling in a quick hole with a short-handed squad, the Panthers found a way to win on the road against the Berries on Friday night.
Western pulled out a 54-52 win over Logansport, its sixth win in the seven tries since the series was started up.
The Panthers (7-3), who recorded their sixth win this season by four points or less, entered the contest knowing big man Ronnie Smith would be out for the game and guard Evan Warden would miss the first half due to suspensions handed out by coach Bart Miller.
But Austin Townsend scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half and Austin Weaver scored all eight of his points in the half to help the Panthers trail just 30-27 at the break after Logan opened with a 13-4 run in the game’s first four minutes.
Warden entered the contest in the second half and quickly made his presence felt as he scored 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter, all on 3-point shots, to keep the Panthers within 43-41 entering the fourth.
“I thought Evan there in the third quarter knocking down those 3s for us was huge,” Miller said. “Logansport went to a zone, and him being able to knock down those 3s was really big to pull them out of it.”
Des Balentine then scored three straight baskets for the Panthers on drives to give Western a 47-43 lead with 3:47 to go.
After Jayson Higgins tied the game for Logan with a 3, Warden scored on a putback and a Townsend basket in the lane gave Western a 51-47 lead with 2:00 remaining.
An Antonio Penny tip-in was answered by a Warden drive and score with 50 seconds left.
Following a missed 3-pointer by Higgins, Townsend was fouled and hit 1 of 2 free throws with :36 left to give Western a 54-49 lead.
Penny drilled a 3-pointer to keep Logan alive and Weaver was fouled with :15 left. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1, which set up a frantic finish. Penny got a good look on a drive but was long with his shot, Nate Bullard rebounded but missed a tip-in attempt and Penny then missed his tip-in, and Western was able to hold on.
“Fortunately, we were able to get a stop down there,” Miller said. “It wasn’t the prettiest — they were able to get two or three shots at the basket — but we contested each and every shot and finally got the rebound and the horn went off for us. That last minute and a half, if we take care of business at the free throw line it’s not that close and it’s not a last-second attempt by them.”
Balentine and Warden combined for 10 points in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers outscore the Berries 13-9 in the frame.
“What’s nice about having both those guys, they can handle the ball, they can get to the rim, and most of the time they make the right decision with the ball,” Miller said.
Townsend finished with a double-double of 16 points and 11 boards for Western. Balentine added 12 points. Warden finished 4 of 5 from 3-point range en route to his 16-point outburst.
Penny led Logan (6-4) with 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Higgins had 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Bo Bullard added 15 points, and Nate Bullard had 12 rebounds.
Logan shot 52.4 percent from the field to Western’s 44.7 and outrebounded the Panthers 30-27, but Western was 14 of 20 from the foul line compared to Logan’s 1 of 4.
“The difference was they got to the line,” Logan coach Mark Victor said. “They just outplayed us in the fourth quarter. ... We just couldn’t get stops when we needed to get stops.”
Miller said of the two suspensions: “It was a violation of team rules. They’ve learned their lesson. They are ready to compete. They were both great all week in practice knowing what was going on with them. It just shows the leadership and togetherness of this entire unit.”
Panthers find way to win another tight game.
Western’s boys basketball team simply has Logansport’s number.
Northwestern takes down West Lafayette
Northwestern played a very solid game on both offense and defense in defeating West Lafayette 8-5 in the opening round of the IHSAA Class 3A Peru Baseball Sectional Thursday night.
10 area athletes advance to boys track state finals
Austin Roark’s first season as the head boys track and field coach at Eastern High School just keeps getting better and better.
A week after guiding the Comets to their first sectional title since 1998, Roark will join six of his athletes at next weekend’s IHSAA state finals after advancing out of Thursday’s Kokomo Regional at Walter Cross Field.
Eastern dominates Taylor in softball
GREENTOWN — The third time turned out not to be the charm for the Taylor softball squad as Eastern improved to 3-0 on the season over its backyard rival Wednesday night, ousting the Titans from the Class 2A Eastern Sectional 15-0 in five innings.
Barnes sets Taylor's career hits record
Taylor baseball standout Logan Barnes made his final game at George Phares Field one to remember.
Barnes pitched four solid innings to lead Taylor past Monroe Central 9-3 Tuesday. In addition, he went 2 for 3 at the plate, pushing his career hits total to a school-record 142.
Kats drop heartbreaker
When the postseason arrives, emotions surge like a roller-coaster. One minute, it’s a long uphill, then a wild series of events offer a barrage of frights and thrills. And then, for one team, the ride ends and there aren’t any more tickets for another go around.
After two days of chills and thrills, Kokomo’s softball team ran out of tickets Tuesday night in the Class 4A Harrison Sectional. The Kats dropped a 4-3 decision to Harrison in eight innings, giving up a run in the top of the extra frame, and having a runner tagged out at home in the bottom of the frame.
“It was a great game,” Harrison coach Dick Mitchell said. “It’s always nerve-wracking to coach in one of them, but both teams played their hearts out. Nobody deserved to lose that game, but unfortunately somebody does.”
Comets turn heads at track regional
Heading into Tuesday’s IHSAA girls track and field regional at Fort Wayne Northrop High School’s Spuller Stadium, event workers alike weren’t sure of Eastern High School’s location.
After the dust settled, they may feel compelled to get a map out and find out where Greentown is located.
Led by seniors Sarah Wagner, Brittany Neeley and Bethany Neeley, the Comets qualified for the state finals in six separate events to finish fourth as a team with 55.5 points, behind host and champion Northrop (78), Bellmont (68) and Carroll (Allen) 66.
GASKINS: Hibbert’s block was thing of beauty
For the better part of the NBA season, ESPN devoted all kinds of time on SportsCenter episodes to replays of two dunks. Anyone who watches any ESPN at all surely knows the two to which I’m referring: 6-foot-11 DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers posterizing 6-3 Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, and 6-8 LeBron James of the Miami Heat hammering home a dunk over 6-2 Jason Terry of the Boston Celtics.
Day after day, ESPN commentators lavished endless praise, which quickly grew tiresome. The dunks were strong, but Jordan and James were much taller and heavier than Knight and Terry and the dunkers also caught perfect alley-oop passes with the defenders in poor positions to defend. Still, ESPN commentators loved these plays.
I kept wondering if a great defensive play would receive the same kind of love.
Coons, Walker, Glassburn reach Victory Lane
When the dust settled Sunday evening at the Kokomo Speedway, a pair of drivers who have visited Victory Lane in the past at the local oval found themselves there once again while a talented up-and-comer hit the hallowed ground for the first time.
Jerry Coons Jr. had his way in the sprint car feature and Craig Walker seemed to get faster as the laps wound down to win the Street Stock main event, however Kokomo High School sophomore Kory Glassburn had to scratch and fight before scoring the first feature win of his career in the Thunder Car A-main.
Field is set for Indianapolis 500
After being bumped from the starting field while sitting on the qualifying line on pole day, Josef Newgarden turned the fastest time on bump day, assuring himself a spot in the Indianapolis 500.
The field of 33 cars will have one final opportunity to practice on Friday before next Sunday’s 97th running of the 500.
One year ago the Sarah Fisher Racing Team withdrew Newgarden’s entry on the first day of qualifying and had to qualify on bump day. This year the team decided not to make another qualifying run and got bumped.
Athlete of the week
Cole led the small-school Comets to the Kokomo Sectional title, their first title since 1998.
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