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Knights, Norse to meet in Friday doubleheader

DRIBBLE: Manchester’s Eva Bazzoni (left) drives past Northfield’s Emma Hoover during Saturday’s game.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

Southwood and Northfield will renew their rivalry, this time on the hardwood, on Friday in a doubleheader with the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. Meanwhile, conference play continues around the County.

 

Southwood (3-3)

at Mississinewa (6-4), Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.

at Northfield (5-2), Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m.

at Pioneer (3-2), Dec. 8, 3:30 p.m.

In likely their toughest week of the season, the Knights will have three road games, including a trip to Northfield on Friday. Kicking it off, though, will be a trip to Grant County to take on Mississinewa. The Indians hold wins over Wabash and Manchester by 10 and five points, respectively.

Caily Bolser leads Mississinewa with 14.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Riley McKee adds 9.9 points and Ally Hewitt 9.3 per contest this year.

Southwood has won 10 of the last 15 meetings but dropped last year’s game, 49-41. The Indians are 32nd in Class 3A in Sagarin rating at 70.3 while Southwood is 43rd in Class A at 47.71.

The Knights’ second road trip out of Wabash County will come on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Pioneer in a game that has been twice rescheduled, once due to the Panthers’ volleyball team making a trip to state and once due to weather.

Tia Freshour has led Pioneer to a 3-2 mark on the season with 14 points per game. MiKenna Landis adds 9.2 points and Olivia Brook 7.6 per contest.

The two teams have met nine times in the last 15 years with Southwood winning seven of the match-ups. The Knights won last season’s game in convincing fashion, 52-33. Pioneer enters with a Sagarin rating of 48.09, ranking them 42nd in Class A, one spot above Southwood.

 

Northfield (5-2)

vs. Southwood (3-3), Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m.

The Norse and Knights renew their rivalry on Friday as part of a doubleheader. The Norse dropped to No. 6 in the Class A rankings after falling to Manchester at home last week. However, the Norse still rank second in Sagarin ratings for Class A at 81.77.

Ariel Dale continues to pace the county in scoring at 15.9 points per game. Kyra Kennedy is averaging 11.3 points per game while Kelcie Thomson does a bit of everything for Northfield, averaging 9.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.7 steals per game.

Southwood has struggled against the Norse in recent seasons, The Norse have won the last 12 meetings against the Knights, dating back to 2012. Only one of those 11 games had a final margin of less than 10 points.

The two teams have met three common foes on the year with both sides falling to Oak Hill as the lone same result. The other common foes are Huntington North, who Southwood lost to 44-21 and Northfield beat 70-29, and Eastbrook, who Southwood lost to 41-36 and Northfield downed 65-18.

Wabash (3-5)

at Rochester (4-5), Dec. 8, 7:45 p.m.

The Apaches opened Three Rivers Conference (TRC) play with a loss on the road to Tippecanoe Valley and will return to the road for their second TRC duel. Pending Tuesday’s result at home against Bluffton (results of the contest were unavailable as of Plain Dealer deadline), the Apaches could also reach .500 once more this season.

The Apaches and Zebras have met 12 times in the last 15 years with some memorable match-ups. Last season, Wabash picked up a 50-38 win over Rochester. The 12-point margin is the biggest margin in the last four meetings with the two sides playing some close battles in recent years.

For the Apaches, Alivia Short and Mariah Wyatt both average 9.1 points per game while Hope Unger chips in 8.4 points per game. Wabash is averaging 28.9 rebounds per game but also average 22.6 turnovers per game.

Rochester’s duo of juniors Maci Brown and Kensey McKee are averaging 11.4 and 10.1 points per game, respectively, to account for over half of the Zebras’ offense. Rochester’s Sagarin rating of 49.22 is 56th in Class 2A while Wabash’s is 48th in Class 2A at 52.46.

 

Manchester (4-4)

vs. Whitko (3-7), Dec. 7, 7:45 p.m.

The Squires will look to build off their huge win over the Norse with a pair of games on the week. Results from Tuesday’s home duel against Huntington North were unavailable as of Plain Dealer deadline, but the Squires can move to 3-0 in the TRC against Whitko on Friday.

Manchester’s offense has been buoyed by Kennedy Fierstos and Eva Bazzoni, who are averaging 10.0 and 9.8 points per game, respectively.

The Squires’ Sagarin rating of 69.7 ranks them 16th in Class 2A while the Wildcats are 65th in Class 2A with a rating of 46.85. Whitko’s been paced by Emalee Duggins’ 15.6 points per game and Ellie Snep’s 11.1 points and 14.6 rebounds per contest.

However, the duo accounts for 65 percent of the points this season and have taken just shy of half of the team’s shots on the year.

Manchester has a narrow 8-7 edge in the series over the last 15 years, including a 48-31 win last season.