Guys lending helping hand to NW girls

Says the Panthers have enlisted male students for about six years; Kupferschmid closing on 1,000.
Posted on Jan. 7, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

Anthony Anderson

Twine Line

Not every Indiana boy practicing for a high school basketball program ever gets into a game.

Or even into a uniform.

There are many guys throughout the area and the state who help prepare their school’s girls team on a regular basis.

“It takes a special breed,” NorthWood girls coach Steve Neff says, “someone who doesn’t want to show off or hurt (the girls), but will still come out there and play hard without plowing them over.”

Neff, the winningest coach in Indiana girls history with 645 victories, says he has been using male students in practice for at least the last six years.

He also recalls a time about 20 years ago that his girls teams would scrimmage against the school’s boys freshman teams.

Under IHSAA guidelines, according to Neff, players in boys programs can no longer regularly work out against players in the girls programs, so the coach has enlisted boys from the student body at-large.

“There’s a little red tape involved at the start of the season, but as long as you tell the state what you’re doing and clear it through them, you can do it,” Neff says.

The coach is not sure how many area girls programs are practicing against male students, but “I think it’s quite a few.”

“And colleges have been doing it for years,” Neff says.

Indeed, Sam Stegelmann, an All-Area second-teamer for Goshen last season, is presently part of a male group that works out against the University of Miami women’s team, according to Goshen coach Brian Bechtel.

“Fortunately, we’ve had some guys who have been in the basketball program at some point growing up and are pretty good athletes,” Neff says.

This season, the Panthers (11-3) have a group of nine male students helping them, including three seniors in Trent Sauceda, Reid Yoder and Logan Kauffman.

Typically, the male students practice with the team on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“It’s a good chance to go against somebody bigger, faster, taller, stronger, and that helps makes you better,” Neff says.

The male students often serve as the scout team when NorthWood is preparing for its next opponent.

“Coach (Gene) Zercher or I will go over with them what (the upcoming opponent) does, and they’ll pretty much know what to do,” Neff says, “so it helps that they have some basketball knowledge already. We’ve got some intelligent kids out there. Like I said, it takes a special breed, a unique kind of guy who wants to come out and play hard and help out. And I think it makes the girls play hard, which is obviously something we like about it.”


Elkhart Christian senior Ryan Kupferschmid needs 18 points for 1,000 in his career as the Eagles (5-1) get ready to host perennial Class 1A power Triton (4-3) on Thursday, Jan. 9.

Northridge’s Nate Ritchie on the boys side, and Elkhart Memorial’s Khadijah Moore and Morgan Olson on the girls side are the area’s lone active 1,000-point scorers.


Team W-L 1. Penn (1) 7-0

2. NorthWood (2) 7-0

3. Northridge (3) 8-1

4. Warsaw (4) 7-2

5. SB Washington (6) 5-2

6. SB Adams (8) 6-4

7. SB St. Joseph (5) 4-3

8. Triton (7) 4-3

9. Elkhart Christian (9) 5-1

10. Westview (10) 4-2

11. West Noble (12) 7-0

12. New Prairie (—) 4-1

Last week’s ranking in parentheses. Dropped out: Prairie Heights (11). Teams chosen from among the 38 making up the NLC, NIC, NSC, NECC and independents Bethany and Elkhart Christian.


W-L Off. Def.

NorthWood 7-0 55.6 42.1

Penn 7-0 68.7 51.9

Northridge 8-1 61.4 53.1

Elk. Christian 5-1 75.0 49.0

Westview 4-2 59.7 51.2

Concord 4-3 53.4 52.0

Fairfield 4-3 61.3 51.9

Jimtown 3-3 47.8 37.3

Goshen 4-5 44.6 50.7

Central 3-4 63.3 57.6

Memorial 3-4 51.4 55.0

Bethany 3-5 48.4 60.4

Marian 2-5 53.7 56.6

Wawasee 1-7 43.9 53.1


G Pts Avg

Nate Ritchie, Nridge 9 224 24.3

Jordyn Bontrager, Wview 6 140 23.3

Devin Cannady, Marian 7 163 23.3

Joe Line, Fairfield 7 138 19.7

Cory Waycaster, ECA 6 117 19.5

Ramon Johnson, Concord 7 128 18.3

Zach Zurcher, NWood 7 119 17.0

Ryan Kupferschmid, ECA 6 101 16.8

Treyton Harris, Central 7 116 16.6

Jon Wilkinson, NWood 7 109 15.6

Dimitri Giger, Memorial 7 107 15.3

Chandler Aspy, Wview 5 76 15.2

Filip Serwatka, Concord 7 99 14.1

A.J. Gary, Memorial 7 95 13.6

Jordan Geist, Penn 7 92 13.1

Abe Thorne, Bethany 8 104 13.0

Alex Clark, Wawasee 8 104 13.0

Deric Haynes, Goshen 9 114 12.7

Billy Doslak, Penn 7 87 12.4

Kenny Bearss, ECA 6 72 12.0

Aaron Flax, Central 7 76 10.9

Ryan Lutz, Penn 7 74 10.6

Nick Floyd, Jimtown 6 62 10.3

Pete Smith, Nridge 9 91 10.1

Will Stueve, NWood 7 68 9.7

Taylor Brooks, Penn 7 67 9.6

Sol Brenneman, Bethany 8 76 9.5

Brady Bechtel, Goshen 2 19 9.5


Tuesday, Jan. 7

Ÿ All Tuesday games postponed

Wednesday, Jan. 8

Ÿ East Noble (0-8) at Westview, rescheduled from Jan. 7

Thursday, Jan. 9

Ÿ Triton (4-3) at Elkhart Christian

Friday, Jan. 10

Ÿ Plymouth (4-3) vs. Elkhart Memorial at North Side Gym

Ÿ Elkhart Central at SB Adams (6-4)

Ÿ Goshen at Concord

Ÿ Jimtown at Knox (0-6)

Ÿ Warsaw (7-2) at Northridge

Ÿ NorthWood at Wawasee

Ÿ Argos (4-2) at Bethany Christian

Ÿ SB St. Joseph (4-3) at Penn

Ÿ SB Riley (5-3) at Marian

Ÿ Hamilton (4-4) at Westview

Saturday, Jan. 11

Ÿ Elkhart Memorial at Penn

Ÿ Lakeland Christian (0-9 before SB Trinity Friday) at Elkhart Christian

Ÿ Eastside (4-4) at Fairfield

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