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Southwood, Northfield, Manchester battle in upcoming doubleheaders

JUMPER: Southwood’s Gabe Lloyd shoots a jumper during Friday’s game against Huntington North.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

While Southwood and Northfield meet for the first of at least two times this season, Manchester will join the Norse and Knights in a back-to-back over the weekend while Wabash continues Three Rivers Conference (TRC) play.

 

Southwood (0-2)

at Northfield (0-1), Dec. 7, 8 p.m.

at Eastern (2-0), Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Since 2006-07, the year the Norse and Knight boys’ basketball teams stopped regularly playing on the night before Thanksgiving to open the season, the two sides have never met with both sides winless. Northfield could buck the trend with a trip to Fort Wayne on Wednesday but the records in the opening weeks of the season could be an omen for both sides this year.

Southwood is replacing much of the regular rotation from last season’s side that went to the state finals last year and have struggled in doing so, dropping their opening two contests of the season. The Norse, meanwhile, are adapting to a new system under first-year head coach Rick Brewer. The result has been two sides in transition early in the year.

The Knights have a decided advantage in the series over the last 30 years with a 43-23 record. Northfield has not won in any of the last eight meetings with the last victory coming in the Wabash County Tournament in 2015.

Last season, Southwood beat the Norse on a trio of occasions in blowout fashion, winning by 28, 36 and 23 points in the three contests. In fact, the closest margin of victory in the current eight-game win streak by the Knights is a pair of 17-point wins in the 2016-17 season.

On Saturday, the Knights will meet an Eastern side they have also had much success against, winning 17 of the 25 meetings in the last 30 years including an 81-53 result last season. Eastern is unbeaten on the season with wins over Clinton Central and Eastbrook by 13 points and one point, respectively.

 

Northfield (0-1)

vs. Southwood (0-2), Dec.7, 8 p.m.

vs. Peru (1-2), Dec. 8, 7:45 p.m.

After a long wait until opening the season, Northfield will play three games in four days on the week and five games in 10 days as a whole to wrap up the opening half of their season prior to the holiday break.

Following Friday’s match-up with Southwood, the Norse host Peru as part of a stretch of four straight home games. The Norse and Tigers have met just four times in the last 40 years with Peru winning each match-up, including a two-point win last season.

Peru has a win over Knox to go with losses to Logansport and Kokomo to open the season.

 

Manchester (2-0)

at DeKalb (1-1), Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.

vs. Lighthouse CPA (2-1), Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

After impressive wins over Oak Hill and Wawasee to open the season, the Squires will look for a potential 4-0 start to the year with a pair of games over the weekend. Manchester hasn’t started 2-0 since 2014-15 when the Squires won their first three games of the season. A 4-0 start hasn’t happened 1998-99 when Manchester won it’s first six games.

Friday’s game against DeKalb will pit the Squires against a Barons side that downed Eastside on the road in overtime while falling to Fort Wayne Northrop in their opener at home. Manchester and DeKalb have not met in the last 30 years.

DeKalb finished 11-13 last season and have gone three seasons without a winning record as the Barons finished 15-8 in 2014-15.

On Saturday, the Squires another uncommon foe in Lighthouse CPA. The Lions and Squires have also not met in the last 30 years. Lighthouse CPA holds wins over Muncie Burris and Lake Central while falling to Heritage Christian in the Muncie Burris tournament to open the year.

The Lions are coming off a six-win season in 2017-18 and a seven-win season in 2016-17. The last year with a winning record for Lighthouse CPA was 2014-15 when the Lions finished 15-7.

Wabash (3-1)

at Maconaquah (1-0), Dec. 7, 7:45 p.m.

The busiest of the Wabash County teams so far this season, Wabash will be the lone of the four teams to not have a doubleheader on the weekend. Instead, the Apaches will travel to Miami County for their second TRC battle of the year.

The Braves have played just one game this season, that being a 64-52 win over North Miami on the road last Friday. Maconaquah figures to be in the TRC title picture this season after finishing second last season, tying for first in 2017-18 and tying for second in 2016-17.

The Apaches have not beaten Maconaquah in the last 30 years, losing all 11 games in that span including a 61-30 blowout loss last year.