• Both teams return to action Saturday against potential sectional opponents. Western visits Twin Lakes (8-7) while 2A No. 2 Tipton (16-1) visits Center Court.
No. 2 Tipton (16-1) at Northwestern (8-5)
The Blue Devils ride a nine-game winning streak into tonight’s date at Northwestern. Included in the run is an overtime victory over Kokomo.
The Devils are led by do-it-all guard/forward Mike Crawford, the Tribune area’s leading scorer at 27.8 ppg. Guard Blake Hoover adds 10.6 ppg, freshman guard Mason Degenkolb scores 7.7 ppg and inside player Nate Friend adds 6.8 ppg.
“They just have a lot of balance in their lineup,” Northwestern coach Jim Gish said. “Obviously, Crawford’s a very good basketball player, but he does such a nice job of making everybody better around him, and the guys around him are very good basketball players as well. It raises the level of everyone because they’re so unselfish.
“They have the ability to score in several different ways. Crawford has the outside-inside ability. The guards are very good shooters and they have the ability to take you off the bounce.”
Another inside-outside threat leads Northwestern as Trenton Brazel averages 21.2 ppg. Chase Johnson adds 10.3 ppg and an area-best 9.8 rpg.
Crawford leads Tipton in rebounding at 9.1 rpg.
“With as big as [the Devils] are, they do a really nice job of getting on the offensive glass,” Gish said. “We have to find a way to make sure that that rebounding margin stays as close as we can keep it. It’s hard enough to stop them in the first go around, if they get multiple shots in the same possession it makes life really difficult.”
• The Purple Tigers visit Southwood on Saturday. The Knights are 8-4 heading into tonight’s game with Rochester.
“They’ve got two guards that can shoot the basketball and they have a really nice 6-4/6-5 interior [Shane Smith] player that has a real nice inside game. They make you defend them from outside and inside, and bring a lot of offense to the game,” Gish said. “Defensively, they’re really going to get out after you, extend their defense, make you take care of the basketball.”