Greensburg — The North Decatur boys basketball team paid a visit to South Decatur Saturday night looking to even up the season series against its county rival.
The game counted as a Mid-Hoosier Conference game, as South won the Dec. 18 game 57-46 for the Civil War trophy.
This time, North came away with a convincing 59-44 victory. The Chargers improved their MHC record to 4-5, and 4-14 overall. South fell to 0-8 in the MHC, and 3-15 overall.
“Coach Nobbe and North Decatur deserved to win tonight, and they did,” said South first-year head coach Jordan Stevens.
North jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but South senior Taylor Kopplin led the Cougars with 10 points in the first quarter and South led 18-12 after the first eight minutes.
“We were playing well when Taylor was playing well, and Taylor played well when we were playing well,” said Stevens.
North outscored South 11-6 to make it a 24-23 South lead at halftime.
The Chargers came out of the locker room and took over the game in the third quarter. Sophomore Evan Wallpe scored on a hook shot to make it 25-24 in favor of North. Kopplin, though, answered with a trey that put South on top 27-26 at the 6:03 mark. North sophomore Andrew Hocker put North up for good with a basket, and sophomore Luke Badgley hit a driving layup to make it 30-27 with 5:20 left. Following a Wallpe basket, Hocker and sophomore Dayne Lecher hit back-to-back triples to give North a double-digit lead at 39-27. South senior Andrew Wullenweber ended the 13-0 North run with four straight points.
Badgley made it a 10-point game again, 41-31, and South junior Nick Schwering answered with a 3-point play.
Lecher ended the third-quarter scoring to make it 44-36 after three quarters. The Chargers edged the Cougars 21-12 in the third quarter.
“You could see a big difference in our offense because the first quarter and the rest of the game. We were pushing the tempo.”
North made nine free throws in the fourth quarter and outscored the Cougars 15-8 in the final eight minutes. Kopplin concluded the scoring with a deep triple with 12 seconds left.
Stevens believes his team is on the verge of putting together a string of quality games, but pointed out areas that need improvement.
“Unfortunately, the verge isn’t enough,” he said. “Something that’s been a recurring theme is free throw differential.” Stevens pointed out that South got outshot 33-11 from the foul line against Southwestern (Shelby).
“We have to do a better job of guarding without fouling,” he said. “That’s an issue.”
Kopplin led all scorers with 20 points.
Wallpe led North with 19 points. Lecher scored 15, and Andrew Hocker added 13. Badgley and sophomore Donovan Meyer and junior Austin Brown chipped in four apiece.
Also four South, senior Chris Johannigman scored seven, while Andrew Wullenweber scored six.
Nick Schwering and Jordan Ortman each scored three, seniors Kaleb Cunningham and Devin Taylor scored two each, and junior Sam Studler chipped in one.
Stevens did credit the Cougars for working on its defense throughout the season.
“Give credit to our kids,” he said. “We worked really hard to come together as a solid defensive team.”
North’s junior varsity team won 32-27. Kyle Kramer led North with 12 points. Ben Kinker followed with eight, and Landon Crites added six. Ignacio Martinez and Cory Fasbinder scored three apiece, and Derek Hocker chipped in two. Kinker and Martinez each hit a 3-pointer for North.
Nick Benge led South with 12, and Hunter Seegers added six. Brendan Henderson followed with three, while Drew Taylor, Seth Niese and Tristin Ralph each scored two.
A full story with more coverage and statistics will be published in Wednesday’s print edition.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.