SOUTH WHITLEY — Before Friday night’s game at the Whitko High School gymnasium, the Wildcats sat in third place, just two games behind their opponent and Three Rivers Conference boys basketball leader Wabash. With one TRC matchup remaining on the schedule, Whitko had a chance to slingshot their way up the standings and a possible share of the title.

The visiting Apaches made sure that would not happen.

 Coming off of 20-plus point performances by seniors Trenton Daughtry and Elijah Vander Velden, Wabash clinched at least a share of the TRC championship as they defeated the Wildcats 71-48.

“I knew coming into that game that they were going to play tough — I did not know how we would respond," said Whitko boys head coach Eli Henson. "I thought we would respond better than we did, but we did not.”

The Apaches (16-3 overall, 8-0 TRC) have only earned a share of the title for now as Peru stayed alive with a 47-45 win over Rochester Friday.

After an early lead, Whitko quickly found themselves looking up after being down 22-8 at the end of the first quarter.

 “It went from 5-5 to 23-5, all because we got a technical foul, all because we had a player lose their minds and make a play he should not have made,” said Henson. “It went 15-5 in 20 seconds. Right there, you lose a little bit mentally when that happens. That played a big factor, but we got out-battled on both ends of the floor.”

In the loss for Whitko (8-11 overall, 5-3 TRC), junior guard Brett Sickafoose tacked on another 23 points to his historical career and pushed his points total to 1,086. Senior guard Clayton Ebbinghouse scored all 12 of his points from beyond the three-point arc.

Before the game, Sickafoose was recognized for becoming the 10th member of the school’s 1,000 point club.

Wabash returns home for a matchup tonight with Luke Brown and the Blackford Bruins. Brown, a junior, currently leads the state of Indiana in scoring with an average of 33.3 points per game.

Next, the Wildcats play at home tonight against county rival Churubusco. While Vander Velden’s size posed a problem for the ‘Cats, they are also going to be up against another big man in Landen Jordan, a 6-8 junior for the Eagles.

“What are we going to do against Churubusco, who has a much better big guy? We have got to get back to the drawing board and get something figured out because we can’t continue to show up and play the way we did,” said Henson.

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.


WA      22    15    18    16   --   71

WH       8     13    14    13   --   48

Wabash – Trenton Daughtry 22, Elijah Vander Velden 22, Jasper Walter 9, Jared Holley 7, Bryant Boggs 4, Kallen Kelsheimer 2, Cash Carmichael 2, Wyatt Davis 2, Joseph Leland 1

Whitko ­– Brett Sickafoose 23 Clayton Ebbinghouse 12, William Rickerd 4, Drake Lewis 3, Kyler Bryant 3, Slater Craig 3