Cougars fall short in Hall of Fame opener

Dec. 30—NEW CASTLE — The North Daviess Cougars faced off against a potential 3A state finalist in Northwood in the opening game of the Raymond James Hall of Fame Classic on Friday in New Castle. In spite of a late Cougar run in the fourth quarter, NorthWood's size proved to be just enough for the 58-53 win.

The loss was just the first of the year for the 3A No. 2 Cougars, who dropped to 9-1.

ND put three players in double figures, as Lance Wilson led with 16, Jaylen Mullen tallied 14 and Logan Wilson ended the matinee with 10. Wilson also had six rebounds and Austin Brower had five, but ND was out-boarded 24-18 during the game. NorthWood was led by Ian Raasch with 25 points and 20 from Cade Brenner.

The Panthers were able to use their size to take a 4-0 lead, but Brendon Sickles was able to cut the lead in half at 4-2. The Panthers were able to extend it to 9-6, in spite of baskets from Wilson and Stickles. Brower added a basket and Mullen added two points from the free throw line, but the Panthers held a 14-10 lead after one quarter.

ND got within two on the first possession of the second quarter. Logan Wilson tied it at 16-all.

The Panthers got baskets from Ethan Wolfe and Raasch to go up 27-20 with 2:30 left in the half. Lance Wilson and Stickles cut the margin to three, 27-24, but a late basket from Raasch made it 29-24 at the half. Raasch led all scorers with 12 points during the half, while Stickles led the Cougars with eight.

NorthWood opened with a trey and a basket and went up 10 at 34-24. The Panthers pushed it to 37-24. The Cougars went 4:00 without scoring before Logan Wilson added a trey. Wilson picked up his second basket and Brower added a free throw, but ND trailed 43-30 at the end of the third, as NW won the quarter 14-6.

A 3-ball from Lance Wilson cut the margin to 10 and Mullen added a 3-ball to make it seven. The comeback continued with Mullen's second trey and ND was back to within six with 4:40 to play. NW pushed it back to 10, but Mullen connected from downtown to keep it tight. Lance Wilson an brother Logan hit back- to-back treys to make it a 3-point game. NW pushed it to five points, but Lance Wilson added free throws, but the Panthers made free throws down the stretch to come up with the 58-53 win, in spite of North Daviess out scoring the Panther 23-15 in the final minutes.

Also scoring for North Daviess was Stickles with eight, and Bowers with five.

With loss ND will play in the consolation game.