BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – The Northwestern boys basketball team continues to roll through nearly all-comers – including a clean slate in the Hoosier Conference. After going 4-0 during the regular campaign to claim the West Division title, Class 3A No. 5 Northwestern defeated West Lafayette 49-35 to claim the overall Hoosier Conference title. It is the second conference title in three years for the Tigers.
In a defensive battle, Northwestern kept West Lafayette to under 35-percent shooting. The Red Devils entered the contest averaging more than 50 points per game.
Despite being held to 49 points – which matched its lowest output of the season – the Tigers got off to a quick start, leading 17-9 after the first quarter and 29-16 at the break. The Red Devils cut the lead to 10 with three minutes left in the third quarter (45-35), only to see junior Tayson Parker score a quick four points to put the game out of reach.
Parker finished with 29 points and now has 1,073 career points in just two varsity seasons with the Tigers. Cameron Austin added six points while Logan Bowser and Ben Harris had five points each. Harris had a team-high six rebounds.
For West Lafayette, Yanni Karlaftis had 10 points and Nelson Mbongo added nine.
Northwestern (19-1) has one more regular season test when they host Oak Hill on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers will then set its sights on cutting down another net when it plays in the Frankfort Sectional at the historic Case Arena. Northwestern is 10-0 against 3A squads and 6-0 against the Sectional 20 field. They drew a bye and will play the winner of the Frankfort (2-19) and two-time defending sectional champion West Lafayette (12-9).