Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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February 1, 2013

Wildkats facing ‘sectional-type weekend’ on hardwood

County foes Western, Taylor renew rivalry tonight.

When heading down the last few pit stops in the regular season, each passing weekend becomes increasingly crucial for any team’s success, especially a team trying to chase down a conference or sectional title.

Enter Kokomo’s Class 4A No. 10-ranked boys basketball team.

Fresh off a pair of wins last weekend, the North Central Conference leaders are set to put their unblemished league record on the line tonight when the Kats welcome Huntginton North to Memorial Gym, a place where Kokomo has won 23 straight games.

As an encore, the Kats welcome the Class 3A No. 7 Lebanon Tigers to town Saturday night.

“It’s a sectional-type weekend,” Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said. “If you’re going to win a sectional, you’ve got to beat two really good teams back to back on a Friday and Saturday. It’s great preparation for our sectional. You either rise to the challenge and succeed or you don’t. This team is going to have to rise up and match the challenge of playing two really good blue-collar teams.”

Huntington North (9-8, 2-2 NCC) is in its first year under Rob Irwin, who previously coached at Whitko.

The Vikings have shown their ability to knock down shots from afar. Their three leading scorers, Noah Reed (15.6 ppg), Kalvin Miller (12.1) and Trenton Kern (9.3) all shot 40 percent or better from beyond the arc.

“They have a lot of confidence,” McCauley said of Huntginton. “They have a lot of toughness on defense. They take charges. They block out. They have great help-side defense. Then, you couple that with the fact that they shoot 42 percent as a team from 3-point range and 72 percent from the foul line, and that’s why they’ve been able to have a lot of success this season. They’ve been in every game they’ve played. Our team defense is going to have to be solid.”

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