Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

February 22, 2014

Solid FT shooting helps Tigers hold off Comets

Northwestern earns upper-division MIC finish.

Northwestern’s boys basketball team, playing its third game in four days, relied on its superior depth to beat county rival Eastern 55-40 in a hard-fought contest Friday night.

The Tigers (9-8, 4-3 Mid-Indiana Conference) celebrated senior night by canning 27 of 38 free throws to pull away from the Comets in the second half. The game was intense from start to finish as Northwestern overcame a first-period deficit to take the lead early in the second stanza. The Tigers never relinquished their advantage, although Eastern stayed close for most of the game.

The victory was especially sweet for Northwestern coach Jim Gish, who was happy his seniors went out on a winning note at home.

“We have seven seniors who have put a lot of a lot of time and dedication in [the program],” he said. “Six of the seven have been with the program from a very young age, and this is a special night for them because they’re about to pursue other things in their life. So anytime you can win on senior night, that’s a special thing for them.”

The Tigers secured a fourth-place finish in the MIC with the win.

Eastern (3-13, 2-4) did its best to spoil the party for the Tigers, but in the end, NW’s experience and bench proved to be the difference.

Comet coach Mike Springer enjoyed the intensity of the game despite being disappointed with the loss.

“It was a very competitive game,” he noted. “Both teams were really getting after it, a lot of intensity, a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. Both teams fought hard defensively.

“When the ball went up to the basket, there was bodies blocking out right and left on both sides. Northwestern hit some free throws toward the end that really put them ahead. But I am really proud of our kids for competing for 32 minutes.”

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