Whitko sophomore Drake Lewis fades away to get his shot off during the first quarter of Tuesday night's home game against Central Noble. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Whitko sophomore Drake Lewis fades away to get his shot off during the first quarter of Tuesday night's home game against Central Noble. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
SOUTH WHITLEY – The Whitko Wildcats came through when it mattered Tuesday.

Whitko High School’s varsity boys basketball team overcame an early fourth-quarter deficit for a 73-66 home win over Central Noble.

“I don’t think we ever got down on ourselves,” said Whitko coach Eli Henson. “We still played with confidence from Quarter 1 to Quarter 4.”

Whitko (9-8), which has won seven of its last eight games, was bolstered by 6-foot-7 senior Spencer Sroufe’s 23 points and 13 rebounds.

“(Sroufe) just dominated the game on both ends of the floor,” Henson said. “You can’t get inside the free throw line and not be bothered by him.”

Whitko used hot shooting from 6-1 sophomore Brett Sickafoose to hold leads at the end of the first and second quarters.

The Wildcats led 49-38 in the third. That’s when Central Noble’s Connor Essegian and Ridley Zolman drained shots to boost a 19-5 run that ended the quarter with the Cougars up 57-53.

“I told (our players) after the third quarter I was still happy where we were at,” Henson said. “Because we went ice cold in the third quarter, and they went extremely hot.”

The Wildcats and Cougars traded leads twice in the fourth quarter before Whitko’s Drake Lewis hit a three-pointer that tied the score at 63.

Nick Alwine hit a three-pointer for the Cougars, but a Sroufe free throw and a Micah Cokl trey gave Whitko a lead it didn’t relinquish.

Sroufe followed up with a bucket, and a few possessions later was sent to the line when he was fouled after a rebound.

He made both shots for a 71-66 lead. A Central Noble miss was rebounded by the Wildcats, and Sickafoose was fouled to stop the clock.

He made both free throws, and shortly after Whitko walked off the floor victorious.

Henson gave credit to one of his assistants for a fourth-quarter switch to the triangle-and-two defense that limited Essegian and Zolman.

That was the game-changer,” Henson said.

Central Noble coach John Bodey noted the defensive change, and how it put the ball in his other players’ hands.

“That’s an opportunity for those other guys to go make some plays and get some points themselves, and we didn’t take advantage of it,” he said.

Sickafoose scored 20 points for the Wildcats.

Zolman led Central Noble (10-6) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Lucas Deck had 17 points and Essegian scored 16 points.

Whitko will host LaVille Saturday.



WHITKO 73,

CENTRAL NOBLE 66

CN    16    16    25    9    –    66

W    19    20    14    20    –    73

Central Noble – Jacob Brose 2-8 0-0 5, Nick Alwine 3-3 0-2 7, Lucas Deck 8-11 1-2 17, Connor Essegian 6-12 1-1 16, Rece Vice 0-1 0-0 0, Carson Capps 1-7 1-2 3, Ridley Zolman 8-17 0-0 18, Jacob Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, 28-59 3-7 66.

Whitko – Brett Sickafoose 7-20 2-2 20, Clayton Ebbinghouse 4-9 0-0 11, Drake Lewis 2-8 1-2 6, Micah Cokl 3-3 0-0 9, Devin Blaine 0-1 0-0 0, Spencer Sroufe 9-15 5-6 23, William Rickerd 3-3 0-0 6, Totals 28-49 8-10 73.

Three-pointers – Central Noble  8 (Essegian 4, Zolman 2, Brose 1, Alwine 1), Whitko 11 (Sickafoose 4, Ebbinghouse 3, Cokl 3, Lewis 1); Rebounding – Central Noble 34 (Zolman 11), Whitko 29 (Sroufe 13); Turnovers – Central Noble 12, Whitko 11; Fouls – Central Noble 8, Whitko 9; Fouled out – none; Records: Central Noble 10-6, Whitko 9-8