Wesley's 37 not enough to beat Northridge

Sam Smith

MIDDLEBURY — Friday's boys basketball game against South Bend Riley made Northridge coach Scott Radeker lose weight.

"I feel like I lost 12 pounds," said Radeker when he emerged from the locker room.

Wildcats standout Blake Wesley made it a stressful evening for the Raiders coach.

But Wesley's career-high 37 points wasn't enough to beat Northridge, as the Raiders used a strong fourth quarter to upend Riley, 68-62.

"I told our guys (in the locker room) that we hung in there very nicely," said Radeker, whose team improved to 2-1. "They battled the whole night, no matter what the circumstances."

Northridge did a better job than Riley of handling the circumstance of a close game in the fourth quarter. 

The Raiders went on a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a 58-49 lead with 3:42 left in the game. The Wildcats wouldn't get closer than six points the rest of the way. 

Carter Stoltzfus scored seven of his 16 points during that run and his coach was happy to see that performance.

"When he's playing like that we're going to be very hard to beat," Radeker said. "He's a floor general and he knows the game. Carter had eight assists tonight and only one turnover. He can also score in a lot of different ways and has some of the best instincts on defense. I told him before the game that I wanted to see the Carter Stoltzfus that we all know and love because we didn't see that against Westview (four points in a 59-58 loss). Tonight, we saw it."    

Riley coach Andre Owens saw breakdowns on both ends of the court by his team in the fourth quarter.

"I think we got a little lax on defense," said Owens. "We kind of started settling for jump shots. We also didn't get a lot of penetration. We're more of a team that has to penetrate and kick the ball out. (Northridge) ran their zone well and we didn't respond to it."

That wasn't the case earlier in the game when the Wildcats rallied to erase 16-8 and 34-27 deficits. 

The 6-foot-5 Wesley helped Riley quickly close deficits. He scored all 11 points in an 11-0 Wildcats run which gave them a 19-16 lead with :29 left in the first quarter. Wesley also scored 11 points during a 13-2 Riley run which put the visitors ahead at 40-36 with 6:13 remaining in the third quarter. Wesley's three-point play off a reverse layup highlighted that run.

Wesley, who's just a junior, is already getting offers from several Division I schools, including Indiana, Purdue, Michigan and Texas.

"I expect that (career-high in points) from him many more times," Owens said about Wesley. "We expect great things from him. But we can't depend on Blake to do all the scoring. Other guys have to step it up on the offensive end."

Only foul trouble slowed down Wesley. He picked up his third foul with 3:47 left in the third quarter, with his team leading 42-39. When he returned to start the fourth the Raiders had regained the lead at 47-45.

"Obviously, when (Wesley) is out of the game they're a little bit easier to guard," Radeker said. "He's an incredible player. He can get to the rim and knock down 3's."

Wesley made seven of Riley's 11 treys. Northridge finished with 12 made shots beyond the arc. Sam Smith, who finished with 20 points, made five 3's.

"You've got to guard (Smith)," Radeker said. "He'll shoot it from anywhere. He got off great (two 3's in the first quarter) and our guys found him and made the extra pass. Sam didn't take any bad shots tonight. He let the offense come to him."  

Alex Stauffer, who went 5-of-6 at the foul line in the fourth quarter, scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Raiders, while Camden Knepp totaled eight points and Trevor Brown hit two 3's off the bench.

"I thought all our guys contributed," Radeker said. "Our culture is driving us right now."

 

NORTHRIDGE 68, SB RILEY 62

RILEY: Blake Wesley 14 2-3 37, Phillip Robles II 2 0-0 4, Jackson Copley 3 0-0 8, Klay Coleman 1 0-0 2, Tieon Autry 1 0-0 3, Davyion Anderson 2 0-0 5, Ke'muriee Love 1 0-0 2, Taedon Stumpf 0 1-2 1, Jahmal Robert 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-58 (.413), 3-5 (.600), 62. 

NORTHRIDGE: Camden Knepp 3 0-0 8, Drew Gayler 1 0-0 3, Alex Stauffer 5 5-7 15, Carter Stoltzfus 7 0-0 16, Sam Smith 6 3-7 20, Clay Stoltzfus 0 0-0 0, Trevor Brown 2 0-0 6, Brandon Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-58 (.413), 8-13 (.615), 68. 

Scoring By Quarters

Riley`19`11`15`17`—`62

Northridge`18`16`13`21`—`68

3-point goals: Riley (11) - Wesley 7, Copley 2, Autry, Anderson; Northridge (12) - Smith 5, Knepp 2, Carter Stoltzfus 2, Trevor Brown 2, Gayler. Rebounds: Riley (26) - Autry 7; Northridge (22) - Stauffer 8. Steals: Riley (11) - Autry 3, Wesley 2; Northridge (4) - Carter Stoltzfus 2. Total fouls: Riley 16, Northridge 8. Fouled out - none. Records: Riley 1-1, Northridge 2-1. JV: Northridge 45, Riley 32.

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