By MIKE KRAUSE
The Whitko Wildcats came to play this Tuesday as they totally dominated the Northwood Panthers from the opening tip off. The Cats jumped out to an early 18 - 8 first quarter lead and never looked back. The Wildcats shot 50% from the field the first half and were a perfect 9 for 9 from the charity stripe. Logan Irwin, Zac VanDeWater and Max Elder scored 12, 10 and 7 first half points to rally the Cats to a 31 - 16 halftime lead.
The second half was more of the same as the Wildcats expanded their lead to 20 points well into the fourth quarter. The Wildcat's defense was very impressive as they held the Panthers to 36% shooting from the field. The Cats also scored 15 points off of created turnovers, out rebounded the Panthers 28 - 25, and forced 19 turnovers as compared to their nine. Logan, Zac and Max continued their offensive display scoring 23, 19, and 13 points respectively. Max also led the team with 6 rebounds. Derek Snep added 4 points and played a stellar game defensively. He and Zac had a combined 4 blocked shots. The Wildcats cruised to a 61 - 45 victory.
The Northwood Panthers came into tonight's game with a 14 and 6 record. They have beat some very good team this year and given some other very good teams such as Warsaw and Concord a run for their money. The Wildcat's win guaranteed a rematch with Columbia City Friday night. In Whitko's first game of the season; the Eagles came from 8 points down late in the fourth quarter to beat the Wildcats by one point as time ran out. Those same Eagles whom have a 15 and 5 record; were in attendance and watched the Whitko game very intently. Friday night ought to be a doozey.
Whitko, Columbia City and Wawasee are all ranked in the top 20 in the most recent AP Poll. Tippecanoe Valley faces Wawasee Wednesday night after nearly beating them last week. You can never rule out a Coach Bill Patrick's team in post season play as they would just love to spoil the show for the Wawasee Warriors.
Around the state, several top twenty 3A teams were defeated in the first round of play. Rushville, Lebanon, and Indianapolis Northwest were among the loosers. Warsaw (4A) lost to Concord Tuesday night as well. Over in the Manchester Sectional, the Squires won in an overtime game against Northfield and an improving North Miami squeaked by a good Southwood team.