East Noble at Leo

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Leo High School, Leo-Cedarville.

Records: East Noble 12-1 before Wednesday, 3-0 Northeast 8 Conference (won 59-42 at home over DeKalb on Friday); Leo 9-4, 1-1 NE8 (lost 50-44 at Norwell on Jan. 6).

Listen: WAWK (95.5 FM, Kendallville).

Overview: It will be another tough conference game for the Knights against a quality team with some desperation as far as the conference race goes. Leo lost at Norwell and has some catching up to do.

The Lions start four seniors and a freshman. Their leading scorer is senior guard Jeremy Davison and he is complemented by senior forward Luke Stoller. Freshman guard Blake Davison, Jeremy’s brother, has a very good understanding of the game.

Leo will be playing its first game in two weeks. Its conference game at New Haven scheduled for last Friday was postponed due to the inclement winter weather.

Westview at Fairfield

When: 7:45 p.m., Friday.

Where: Fairfield High School, Benton.

Records: Class 2A No. 1 Westview 15-0, 5-0 Northeast Corner Conference; Fairfield 9-4, 3-1 NECC. The Warriors defeated the Falcons 62-45 in the NECC Tournament championship game at West Noble Saturday.

Overview: The Falcons will want to avenge the loss to the Warriors in the NECC Tournament final and more importantly stay in the NECC title hunt.

Westview has seen about everything with its schedule and is prepared to play any way. It will be prepared to adjust to the Falcons’ adjustments in the matchup between longtime rivals. The Warriors picked up the pace with center Nick Rensberger in deep foul trouble Saturday and ran away from the Falcons.

Westview junior point guard Elijah Hales had 27 points and was big defensively in holding one of the area’s top players Luke Stephens to only four points.

Columbia City at DeKalb

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Where: DeKalb High School, Waterloo.

Records: DeKalb 6-7, 1-2 NE8 (45-38 loss vs. Angola Tuesday), Columbia City 7-8, 1-1 NE8 (64-46 loss at Homestead Tuesday).


Overview: After coming into 2018 on a four-game winning streak and picking up another in the new year to make it five in a row, the Barons have dropped four straight. The first one to New Haven was in heartbreaking fashion as DeKalb led with 20 seconds remaining. The next came to a stifling Carroll defense, and a lack of focus caused a 17-point loss at rival East Noble.

DeKalb came firing out of the gates against Angola on Tuesday, but it couldn’t sustain the focus for the duration of four quarters.

Against Columbia City, the Barons will need to find their rhythm early as the Eagles can score in spurts and build quick leads.

Of note, the last time DeKalb beat Columbia City was in the sectional semifinals in the 2012-2013 season.

Central Noble at Eastside

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday.

Where: Eastside High School, Butler.

Records: Central Noble 5-7, 2-3 before Wednesday (beat Fremont 64-41 in NECC tournament consolation game), Eastside 7-6, 2-2 (lost 54-34 at Westview in NECC tournament).

Overview: Two teams with similar statistics will meet in this NECC regular season game. Eastside scores 44.2 points per game while allowing 47.5 points per game. Central Noble scores 48.8 points a contest while giving up 47.2 points per game.

The visiting team has won the last two meetings. The Blazers won 40-37 at Albion last year. The Cougars won 45-40 at Butler in the 2015-2016 season.


Leo at East Noble

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday.

Where: The Big Blue Pit, Kendallville.

Records: Leo 10-9, 3-2 NE8 (lost 50-40 at Bishop Luers Tuesday); East Noble 5-15, 2-3 NE8 (won 48-33 at home against Prairie Heights Tuesday).

Overview: Things have changed for the Knights since senior guard Corie Jones came back from missing about three-quarters of the season due to a knee injury. This game should be a defensive battle that should go down to the wire, but Jones’ presence is opening up opportunities for her teammates and making a young Knight team more confident.

Leo has been a tough-minded club for coach Carrie Shappell, and in recent years have struggled to score. The Lions have been grinding again this season, scoring only 45.1 points per game and allowing only 42.1 points per contest.

Westview at Fairfield

When: 6 p.m., Friday.

Where: Fairfield High School, Benton.

Records: Westview 8-10, 6-3 NECC (lost 46-42 at Angola in overtime on Tuesday); Class 3A No. 3 Fairfield 16-2, 8-0 NECC (won 64-39 at home over Central Noble Tuesday).

Overview: The Warriors have been up-and-down over the past week, and showed what they are capable of at Angola Tuesday as they slowed down the Hornets and post players Ashya Klopfenstein and Alex Burr asserted themselves.

How long can Westview keep up with a potent Fairfield squad that is probably the best shooting team in the NECC? The Warriors can’t feed the Falcons with turnovers.

Central Noble at Eastside

When: 6 p.m., Friday.

Where: Eastside High School, Butler.

Records: Central Noble 14-5, 6-2 (lost 64-39 at Fairfield Tuesday); Eastside 13-6, 6-3 (lost 61-35 vs. West Noble Tuesday).

Overview: Each team enters this contest coming off two straight losses. The Cougars lost to Angola in the NECC tournament on Jan. 10 and at Fairfield Tuesday. The Blazers lost to Angola in the NECC tournament Friday and at home to West Noble Tuesday.

In the team’s respective loss Tuesday, one of their leading scorers was held without a point. Central Noble’s Meleah Leatherman and Eastside’s Lindsey Beard each failed to score.

Building momentum with sectional play just around the corner will be important for each team. Central Noble averages 51.2 points per game while allowing 42.3 points. Eastside scores 46.5 points per game while allowing 37.3 points.

DeKalb at Columbia City

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday.

Where: Columbia City High School.

Records: DeKalb 9-10, 1-4 NE8 (61-50 loss vs. East Noble on Saturday), Columbia City 7-14, 1-4 NE8 (53-44 loss at Huntington North Saturday).

Overview: After riding the momentum of winning the Goshen Holiday Tournament for the second straight season, DeKalb has dropped its last two games. The first was to Class 4A No. 13 Northridge and the other to rival East Noble.

Leigha Brown continues to lead the Barons and broke a 30-year record at DeKalb the last time out. Brown became the new all-time leading scorer at DeKalb, surpassing MaChelle Joseph’s 1,633 career points set from 1984-1988.

Brown is scoring 26.5 points per game and grabbing 11.4 rebounds per game this season.

Fremont at Prairie Heights

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Where: Prairie Heights High School, Brushy Prairie.

Records: Fremont 8-10, 2-6 NECC, before Wednesday (won 57-53 over Westview in overtime in an NECC Tournament consolation game at Central Noble last Thursday), PH 5-15, 2-8 NECC (lost 48-33 at East Noble Tuesday).

Overview: Something clicked for the Eagles to beat the Warriors for the first time in over eight years. There was a major sectional scare against Grace Hales, Maria McCoy and the Warriors, but Fremont was largely dominated during the 12-game losing streak.

The Eagles got contributions from many around sophomore Samantha Kuhn, and perhaps got a message that sophomore Grace Schmucker should have a significant varsity role for the rest of this season. Schmucker saw some important varsity minutes on a rare occasion and had 14 points, four assists and three steals against Westview.

Junior guard Isabella Dangerfield has become a stat stuffer for Fremont over the past couple of weeks, including being prominent on the glass.

First-year Panther coach Brian Beebe has tried to establish a solid defensive mindset this season. Heights will be put to the test against a Fremont team who might be starting to emerge.


Northeast 8

Conference meet

When: 9 a.m., Saturday.

Where: The Big Blue Pit, Kendallville.

Overview: It’s going to be a major challenge for both DeKalb and the host Knights as they both try to get build some momentum to start their postseasons.

East Noble’s Adam Ledesma won the 132-pound title at the Garrett Invitational last weekend. Tanner Stacey was second at 138 after winning that weight class in the East Noble Invitational on Jan. 6.

DeKalb freshman Jacob Leming finished in third in the 285-pound bracket and was the highest finisher at Garrett on Saturday. Rylan Eddy claimed fifth at 132 and Justin Niles finished in sixth at 220.

Northeast Corner

Conference meet

When: 9 a.m., Saturday.

Where: Westview High School, Emma.

Overview: Prairie Heights is young in a few weight classes, but is real good in several others. There’s too much quality in different places, and that puts the Panthers in the position of favorite to win their fourth straight conference tournament.

A couple of upsets against Prairie Heights could open the door for Garrett, which has been on a roll for the past month. The Railroaders won their own invitational last weekend and were second in Class 2A at the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Team State Duals just before Christmas in Fort Wayne. They only lost 35-32 to the Panthers in the West Noble Super Duals on Jan. 6.

Central Noble is really good and deep, too. Look at all the really strong individuals who can make an impact, including West Noble 195-pounder Draven Rasler, Churubusco 145-pounder Joe Leazier, 106-pounders Jake Hull from Fremont and Jett Boots from Angola, 152-pounder Cable Leeper, 170-pounder Laik Minnick and 285-wrestler Chase Leeper from Eastside.

A weight class of intrigue is 138 pounds. It’s a rather deep class and is led by Cougar Austin Moore and Panther Ryan Rasler.

Noteworthy: Sophomore Malachi Walters has fared very well wrestling at 120 for Fairfield, winning over 80 percent of his matches so far this winter. Walters might be familiar to some folks around here. He saw plenty of action at running back for the Prairie Heights football team this past fall.


Trine men at Kalamazoo

When: 3 p.m., Saturday.

Where: Anderson Athletic Center, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Records: Trine 6-9, 2-2 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, before Wednesday (lost 89-69 at Calvin on Saturday); Kalamazoo 5-10, 0-4 MIAA, before Wednesday (lost 68-61 at home to Albion Saturday).

Overview: The Thunder will have opportunities to build some momentum after a rough week last week, but nothing is for certain for a couple reasons. One, the basic premise of going on the road in conference play. Two, Trine’s inexperience.

Three of the Hornets’ four conference losses have come at home. They have averaged 20.5 turnovers per game in MIAA play to hike their giveaway rate up to 19.6 per contest for the season. Some chaos could be beneficial to the Thunder.

Kalamazoo is pretty balanced and is led by 6-foot-9 senior center Jimmy Paprocki at 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Tanner Blyly is averaging 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.

Coach Jay Smith’s Hornets are highly youthful. Nine underclassmen are averaging at least 9.9 minutes per game.

Alma at Trine women

When: 3 p.m., Saturday.

Where: MTI Center, Angola.

Records: Alma 1-15, 0-8 MIAA (lost 76-50 at home to NAIA Roosevelt, Ill., on Monday); NCAA Division III No. 12 Trine 14-2, 6-1 MIAA, before Wednesday (won 51-31 at home over Saint Mary’s on Saturday).

Overview: The Thunder will begin the second round of conference play against the Scots.

Alma has averaged eight wins per season after a winless 2013-14 campaign, but has fallen back with a young roster.

The Scots are anchored by veterans. Junior forward Madeline Barnuskas averages 10.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Senior guard Chloee King has started every game this season and had 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, three assists and 2.9 steals per game.

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