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Hoops season heats up with big weekend

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

Boys high school basketball season starts to pick up pace starting tonight and will continue with all five Grant County teams seeing action on Saturday.

Girls season also continues to roll along with a pair of games featuring county teams tonight and three more on Saturday while the men’s and women’s teams from Indiana Wesleyan and Taylor host Crossroads League doubleheaders on Saturday afternoon.

However, the marquee contest of the weekend takes today when Marion and Lawrence North renew their annual rivalry in Bill Green Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Coach Jack Keefer’s Wildcats (0-1) are likely to be smarting a bit when they arrive in Marion. Lawrence North started the season ranked No. 8 in Class 4A but went scoreless over the final four minutes and fell at home to 4A No. 5 Floyd Central, 58-56 on Saturday.

While the Wildcats will have a mostly different look personnel-wise, Keefer returns a pair of 6-4 guards that caused the Giants fits last season. Senior Jordan Hankins, a recent Indiana State commit, and junior Tony Perkins played significant roles in LN’s 90-66 win over the Giants in Indianapolis last season. Perkins scored 24 points to lead LN, while Hankins had 13 in the opening loss to Floyd Central.

Class 3A No. 6 Marion (1-0) started its season with a bang, needing only the first quarter to build a 33-4 lead before cruising to a 77-53 win over Fort Wayne North on Saturday.

The Giants will likely face two much different tests this weekend as Homestead comes to Green Arena on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans started the season with a 46-41 win over Huntington North and hosts Warsaw today.

Madison-Grant (1-1) at Wes-Del (3-0), 7:30 p.m.

The Argylls are less than a minute away from starting the season with two-straight wins. But after dropping a hard fought, 69-66 decision to Northwestern after leading most of the final three quarters on Nov. 24, M-G showed some resiliency in beating a very good Wabash team, 73-70 in overtime on Saturday.

The Warriors are averaging nearly 75 points a game and have started with three-straight road Ws, at Cambridge City, Elwood and Union City, by a combined 51 points.

This will be M-G’s first contest of the season away from Fairmount.

Friday’s Girls’ games

Eastbrook (3-2) at Mississinewa (5-4)

Nothing like a county-rivalry game to tip-off the Central Indiana Conference season for both the Panthers and Indians, who both feature young and improving teams.

Eastbrook enters tonight’s game as winners of two in row, including a physical, 41-36 win at Southwood Wednesday. Senior Kylie Standfest and sophomore Sarah Foulk are each averaging 15 points a game to lead the Panthers.

Ole Miss stopped a two-game slide on Tuesday with 78-23 demolition of Southern Wells. Junior Caily Bolser is the lone Indian averaging double-figures at 13 points per game, but senior Ally Hewitt (9.9 ppg), junior Riley McKee (9.6 ppg) and senior Tyler Bartel (8.4 ppg) give Ole Miss a balanced offensive attack.

2A No. 2 Oak Hill (7-1, 1-0 in CIC) at Elwood (2-7, 0-0), 6 p.m.

The Golden Eagles are on a roll with six-straight wins since dropping a one-point decision at Marion on Nov. 6. Oak Hill’s most recent wins were a 30-point blowout of Manchester (60-30) on Tuesday and a 20-point win over then 2A No. 1 Winchester (59-39) Saturday in New Castle.  

Saturday girls games

Muncie Burris (3-6) at Eastbrook, 12:30 p.m.; Blackford (0-8) at Madison-Grant (1-6), 12:30 p.m.; Marion (6-2, 3-0 in NCC) at McCutcheon (4-2, 1-0 in NCC).

Saturday boys games

Homestead at Marion, 7:30 p.m.; Eastern (0-0) at Eastbrook (0-0), 7:30 p.m.; Oak Hill (0-2) at Taylor (0-2), 7:30 p.m.; Adams Central (0-0) at Madison-Grant, 7:30 p.m., Northwestern (1-0) at Mississinewa (0-2), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday college games

Women: Goshen (6-4, 0-2 in Crossroads League) at Indiana Wesleyan (7-4, 2-0), 1 p.m.; Spring Arbor (3-7, 1-1) at Taylor (8-4, 0-2), 1 p.m.

Men: Goshen (1-8, 0-2) at NAIA No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan (10-1, 2-0), 3 p.m.; No. 23 Spring Arbor (10-1, 2-0) at Taylor (3-6, 1-1), 3 p.m.