Northwestern’s boys basketball team saw its chances for the Mid-Indiana Conference championship take a hit last month when it had to forfeit a victory over Maconaquah for a minor rules violation.
The Purple Tigers are still a major player in the conference race.
Northwestern beat league leader Peru 57-55 in overtime Thursday night.
Peru dropped to 5-1 in league play and is followed by Hamilton Heights (4-1). Peru has one league game remaining — against Heights on Feb. 22.
Northwestern is 4-1 on the court in league games, but 3-2 with the forfeit, one of three teams with two loses. Still, the Tigers have a game against Heights on Tuesday, giving the Tigers another chance to make some noise in the race.
Northwestern coach Jim Gish took a look at the big picture when asked about the conference race.
“I think anytime you can get a win against a good team, it feels really good for your kids,” he said. “These are the kind of games we want to play — we want to play against good teams and do things well. It’s why we practice. It’s a lot of fun for your kids to see their hard work pay off.”
Peru coach Jim Metcalfe also looked at the big picture when asked about the conference race.
“It’s in the back of our minds, but we need to focus more on what we need to do to get better as a basketball team because we’re a long way from where we need to be,” he said.
In the OT session, Northwestern (10-6 overall) won the tip and decided to hold the ball out front, hoping to pull Peru out of its effective zone defense. The Purple Tigers held the ball for more than three minutes, but then turned it over at :51.5.
Peru wing Logan Primerano scored on a drive for a 55-53 lead at :32. Graham Ortmann answered for Northwestern, hitting a wing 3-pointer at :16 to give his squad a 56-55 lead.