NorthWood boys hoops heads to Indy for state championship game

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT
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NAPPANEE, Ind. (WNDU) - Michiana sent off its lone contender for a boys basketball state championship from either side of the border on Friday morning.

The NorthWood Panthers are seeking their first-ever state crown in boys hoops. And with an unexpected power outage to start the morning, it was up to parents, teachers, and other big fans to bring the electricity for their Panthers.

The team already made one round trip to the state capital and back on Thursday so the boys could get a good night’s rest in their own beds, taking every opportunity to make the most of their first-ever boys’ basketball championship appearance.

“This is so exciting. I could ask for a greater group of young men to represent our community. Our coaches are first-class. It’s a great opportunity and we’re very excited,” said Wa-Nee Community Schools Superintendent Scot Croner.

The Panthers are the top-ranked team in their class with their only two losses coming to 2022′s 3A champs in Beach Grove and to another state finalist which is the top team in 4A, undefeated Ben Davis.

NorthWood has proven itself as a favorite having been ranked in the top three for Class 3A all season long.

“Every season is going to deal you with some ups and downs and some adversity, but again, every night someone different steps up and plays that role for us so we’re excited for them,” Croner said.

The team passed signs like these on their way out, the type of community support for high school hoops that no one does better than the Hoosier State.

“Basketball is just different here in the state of Indiana and it’s been a fun, fun year. These kids — they’re just the perfect mix of athleticism, teamwork, everyone buys into the system, no one cares who gets the credit, and it’s just been a special, special year,” Croner said.

Win or lose, we’ll have highlights of the Class 3A championship game tomorrow night at 11. You can stream the game from home on the IHSAA website.

Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.