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Ahonen hones in again for Raiders

Sam Ahonen again grabbed a key rebound in Northridge's victory over Westview on Saturday, Nov. 30.
Posted on Nov. 30, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

MIDDLEBURY — Sam Ahonen’s just 6-foot-1, but for the second time in four days to start the season, he grabbed the most important rebound of the night for the Northridge Raiders as they held on for a 54-50 victory over Westview in their boys high school basketball home opener Saturday, Nov. 30.

Just as he did in Wednesday’s 73-72 win over Elkhart Central, Ahonen hugged the final board in traffic at the defensive end.

On Wednesday, it was as the clock expired.

This time, with the Raiders up three, it also entailed getting fouled with 0.5 seconds left. He added a free throw to clinch the outcome against the short-handed Warriors.

“That’s just a senior stepping up when needed, and Sam stepped up again,” Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas said. “He’s one guy who’s hard to take off the floor. Coaches have to remind me that he may need a breather one in awhile, because otherwise I don’t even think about taking him out.”

Fellow senior Nate Ritchie had team highs of 21 points and seven rebounds as the Raiders improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Ahonen finished with 13 points and five rebounds.

The hosts overcame a spectacular season debut by Westview junior Chandler Aspy, who scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half and added six rebounds.

At a packed-house Middlebury Madhouse, Northridge led throughout the second half, including 52-42 with just three minutes to go, yet the Warriors (1-1) charged back into the game, thanks in part to the Raiders missing the front end of one-and-ones three times over the final 56 seconds.

Westview senior standout Jordyn Bontrager had a chance to tie the game at about 20 seconds left on a drive, but he missed.

Ritchie secured that rebound and made a free throw with 18 seconds left for a 53-50 count, before Ahonen secured the aforementioned final one.

While Aspy returned from his preseason bout with mononucleosis, five other Westview varsity players were out for assorted reasons, leaving coach Rob Yoder to play just six players on the evening.

NORTHRIDGE 54, WESTVIEW 50

Westview — Chandler Aspy 10-19 5-5 25, Judah Zickafoose 4-7 1-2 9, Cody Litwiller 1-4 0-0 3, Jamar Weaver 0-4 0-0 0, Jordyn Bontrager 4-9 3-5 11, Andrew Yoder 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 20-47 (.426) 9-12 (.750) 50.

Northridge — Nate Ritchie 8-16 4-5 21, Tom Morrison 2-7 2-3 7, Pete Smith 2-3 0-0 4, Collin Utley 3-6 0-2 6, Sam Ahonen 4-5 5-7 13, Christian Bach 1-4 1-3 3, Brock Downey 0-3 0-0 0, Peyton Carson 0-0 0-0 0, Kurtis Hochstetler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-45 (.444) 12-20 (.600) 54.

Scoring By Quarters

Westview 14 9 11 16 — 50

Northridge 17 13 12 12 — 54

3-point goals: Westview (1-8) — Litwiller 1-4; Northridge (2-11) — Ritchie 1-2, Morrison 1-5.

Rebounds: Westview (28) — Zickafoose 10, Aspy 6; Northridge (30) — Ritchie 7, Ahonen 5.

Assists: Westview (15) — Bontrager 6, Weaver 3; Northridge (9) — Morrison 2, Smith 2, Utley 2.

Steals: Westview (3) — Aspy, Weaver, Bontrager; Northridge (7) — Morrison 2.

Turnovers: Westview 11, Northridge 8.

Fouls: Westview 17, Northridge 13. Fouled out — Yoder (0:00.5, 4th quarter).

Records: Westview 1-1, Northridge 2-0.

Next: Churubusco at Westview, Northridge at SB Riley, both Friday, Dec. 6.

JV: Northridge 44, Westview 36. Top scorers: Northridge — Spencer Jones 16, Dylan Sandy 13; Westview — Lucas Yoder 11, Tim Miller 7, Kade Miller 7. JV records: Northridge 2-0, Westview 1-1.


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