Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


February 1, 2013

Wildkats facing ‘sectional-type weekend’ on hardwood

County foes Western, Taylor renew rivalry tonight.


The Kats (14-2, 4-0) delivered Huntington a 99-70 thrashing last season at North Arena, Kokomo’s highest scoring game since a 100-74 win over a Kyle Macy-led Peru team during the 1973-74 season.

Junior Tayler Persons leds Kokomo in scoring at a 17.4 ppg clip. Senior LaBradford Sebree adds 15.3 ppg, while junior Erik Bowen chips in with 9.9 ppg and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game.

Lebanon (12-2) has won five straight after a 65-49 loss to Fishers on Jan. 3. Kokomo beat Fishers 75-52 on Dec. 1.

Taylor (5-11, 1-4 MIC) at Western (9-6, 3-2 MIC)

The two county and conference rivals will renew their rivalry tonight in Russiaville. Western has won four straight meetings in the series, including 54-45 and 59-42 wins last season.

The Titans boast six players who score five or more points per game, led by senior Challen Hodson at 10.6 ppg. Classmate Nathan Gotshall adds 7.4 ppg and a team-best 6.5 rpg to the mix, while fellow senior Nick Hoover contributes 7.7 ppg.

“Taylor is another excellent-coached team here in the MIC,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “They don’t have a lot of size, but they have a lot of quickness and good shooters. They thing that impresses me about Taylor is how hard they play every possession. It doesn’t matter what the score is. It’s like it’s 0-0 the entire game.”

Western displays a similar balance, led by junior guard Evan Warden’s 13.8 ppg. Backcourt mate Des Balentine adds 12.4 ppg, followed by seniors in center Ronnie Smith (10.5) and forward Austin Townsend (9.2). Smith pulls down 7.2 rebounds per outing.

“They’re going to bring a balanced attack to things with Balentine and Warden’s outstanding guard play,” Taylor coach Andy Lewman said. “In the times we’ve watched them, Smith and Austin Townsend have played well. They attack the glass. They bring a full team effort that that’s something we have to limit.”

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