By Kenny Hetzler Kokomo Tribune
---- — Northwestern’s boys basketball team let an eight-point lead with 2:55 left in the third quarter slip away as visiting Southwood rallied for a 57-51 win Saturday night.
The Purple Tigers (6-6) had a 29-28 lead at halftime, then out-scored the Knights 15-8 in the first five minutes of the second half to build that eight-point lead, 44-36. Graham Ortmann scored 13 of the Tigers’ 15 points, but after another 3-pointer by Ortmann, the bottom fell out for the Tigers. Southwood went on an 8-0 run with the Knights’ Luke Elliott hitting a jumper with 7:32 left in the game to give Southwood a 48-47 lead, which was its first lead of the second half.
Northwestern countered with a basket by Derek Doubet to retake the lead at 49-48 at 7:20. Southwood’s Alex Harmon hit two free throws for the final lead change of the game with 6:42 left. The Knights (9-4) went on to finish the game on a 7-2 run in the final minutes.
Northwestern shot 2 of 17 (11.8 percent) from the field in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Tigers shot 20 of 67 (29.9 percent) from the field, including 7 of 27 (25.9 percent) from 3-point range, and 4 of 9 (44.4 percent) from the free throw line.
“There is a big difference in poor shooting or not hitting layups,” Northwestern coach Jim Gish said. “It’s one thing to be taking bad shots, but we took good shots and open shots. We have to make layups — there is no excuse not hitting at point-blank range. It wasn’t just one guy, it was multiple guys. We tried different guys at different positions where we knew we could get the ball.
“We also shot 40 percent from the free throw line. You’re not going to win games missing free throws and layups.”
Ortmann led Northwestern with 22 points. Jacob Wagner and Keagan Downey each added six points.
Harmon and Corey Phillipy scored 14 apiece to led Southwood, which has won five straight, and Jackson Blair added 12.