MIDDLEBURY — Northridge in the fourth quarter and Luke Morrison all night put on rare shows worth savoring, and as it so happens, the Raiders will have some time to do that.
The hosts blasted open an otherwise tight Northern Lakes Conference opener by outscoring rival Goshen 29-7 in the closing period for a 72-51 boys high school basketball victory Thursday at the Middlebury Madhouse.
Morrison riddled the RedHawks with a career-high 34 points. The fluid, 6-foot-3 senior drained 7-of-10 from 3-point range and 12-of-18 from the field overall to go with 3-of-3 at the line. He added four assists on a night that the Raiders' crisp, consistent ball-sharing produced a whopping 22 dimes.
"We were really finding the open man," Morrison said. "I mean, we scored 72 points against a pretty good defensive team. We had really good ball movement. We were finding the open guy and guys were knocking it down."
"I know one time we came down and took a quick shot," Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas recollected, "and we took a timeout and said, 'Guys, you realize Luke's on fire right now, right? The ball should probably go through him before we take a shot,' and the nice thing is they recognized it."
"We didn't really have a good matchup for (Morrison)," Goshen coach Michael Wohlford said. "It needs to be by committee, but to his credit, he hit seven 3s and three or four of those were from about 25 feet. You can't really defend some of those. You just kind of tip your hat. He's an excellent player."
The Raiders' win came in front of a two-week break preceding their next two games, which will be Dec. 29 in the South Bend St. Joseph Holiday Tournament.
"It does make it a little more enjoyable," Thomas said of how the layoff should go coming off a victory rather than a loss. "We're just going to practice three or four days next week, get some guys healthy, work on some things we want to get better at, and then that second week try to ramp it up."
Northridge moved to 2-3 with its second straight comfortable win over an opponent with a winning record, while the Hawks fell to 4-2.
"I felt like we were close to winning our first couple games," said Morrison, who scored 16 points in the first half and 18 in the second, "but we really played together these last couple. This was our first conference game, so we for sure wanted to win that."
The final quarter belied the first three, which had featured seven lead changes and three ties.
The eighth and final lead change of the night came in the opening seconds of that closing quarter, as the Raiders' 6-foot Nick Yoder made a strong inside spin move, converted as he was fouled and added the free throw for a 46-44 Northridge advantage.
Trailing 49-44, Goshen closed to 49-46 on a Will Line basket, but a missed free throw and a player technical began a series of events that virtually all went the Raiders' way.
"We lacked some focus and toughness through some adverse situations," Wohlford said. "There were some swings in momentum there and we weren't able to fight through those. We were not able to make a stop on them, and we missed a layup and a couple open shots in there."
Northridge shot a scorching 10-of-11 from the field with three treys and 6-of-6 at the line in the fourth quarter to finish at 57 percent from the field — including 11-of-18 outside the arc — and 9-of-9 at the line.
Connor Utley scored 17 points and dealt four assists for the winners, while Yoder added 12 points, a game-high seven rebounds and two steals.
Line paced the Hawks with 15 points, hitting 6-of-6 from the field with three triples, to go with four assists and two steals. Eliot Nafziger, Bryant Robinson and Michael Pinarski added seven points apiece.
NORTHRIDGE 72, GOSHEN 51
Goshen: Mitchell Walters 0-1 3-4 3, Eliot Nafziger 3-11 0-0 7, Bryant Robinson 3-8 0-0 7, Michael Pinarski 3-8 0-0 7, Will Line 6-6 0-1 15, Simon Myers 2-3 0-0 4, Deven Love 2-4 1-1 5, Domonick Swinney 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Good 1-1 0-0 3, Alec Lehr 0-0 0-0 0, Philip Wertz 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Biller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-42 (.476) 4-6 (.667) 51.
Northridge: Nick Yoder 5-8 2-2 12, Luke Morrison 12-18 3-3 34, Zack Welker 0-1 0-0 0, yle Carson 1-1 0-0 2, Connor Utley 6-12 2-2 17, Justin Wine 0-2 0-0 0, Micah Yoder 0-1 0-0 0, Braden Tadeo 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson Erekson 2-2 2-2 7, Cole Alberson 0-0 0-0 0, Nate Bowman 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Hochstetler 0-0 0-0 0, Camden Knepp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-46 (.565) 9-9 (1.000) 72.
Scoring By Quarters
3-point goals: Goshen (7-19) - Line 3-3, Good 1-1, Pinarski 1-3, Robinson 1-4, Nafziger 1-7; Northridge (11-18) - Morrison 7-10, Utley 3-4, Erekson 1-1.
Rebounds: Goshen (19) - Myers 5, Robinson 4, Line 4; Northridge (21) - N. Yoder 7, Wine 5.
Assists: Goshen (15) - Line 4, Walters 3; Northridge (22) - Morrison 4, Utley 4, Wine 4, N. Yoder 3, Carson 3, Tadeo 3.
Steals: Goshen (6) - Line 2, Good 2; Northridge (4) - N. Yoder 2.
Turnovers: Goshen 13; Northridge 9.
Fouls: Goshen 17; Northridge 11. Technical - Line. Fouled out - Walters (5:41, 4th quarter).
Records: Goshen 4-2, Northridge 2-3.
Next: Goshen vs. Elkhart Central Thursday, Dec. 22, in Goshen Holiday Tournament second semifinal, following Fairfield vs. East Noble at 6 p.m.; Northridge vs. SB St. Joseph Thursday, Dec. 29, in St. Joseph Holiday Tournament first semifinal, 10 a.m.
JV score: Northridge 33, Goshen 14. Top scorers: Northridge - Alex Stauffer 12, Cole Alberson 9; Goshen - Joe Good 6. JV records: Northridge 2-3, Goshen 4-2.