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December 20, 2013

Patriots get sustainability lesson from Pioneers

TERRE HAUTE — There were signs in the first quarter on Friday that Terre Haute North’s boys basketball team might be on to something.

Unbeaten Mooresville was on the defensive on both ends of the floor. North’s shooting and its denial defensively had the Pioneers taken aback.

But North has just two seniors and a bevy of players in their first varsity seasons. With experience comes to ability to sustain, and it’s one the Patriots learned the hard way in a 74-44 loss against Mooresville.

North led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter, but a 16-5 second quarter for the Pioneers put the Patriots in a hole that was dug partly by North’s own mistakes. It taught them a lesson about what it takes to gain  consistency.

“We got off to a really good start. I felt like we executed in the first quarter and came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Right now, we play well in spurts and we made too many mistakes,” North coach Todd Woelfle said.

North had 18 turnovers and Mooresville’s 11 steals played a big role in the outcome. It negated a good shooting effort from North as it converted 15 of 31 from the floor.

Keshaun Sandifer led North with 14 points and was the only Patriot in double-figures. Mooresville’s forward tandem of Jacob Johnson and Carter Van Wanzeele proved too much to handle for North. Van Wanzeele had 24 points and Johnson had 17.

Mooresville (4-0) converted 30 of 49 from the field.

“You can’t give a good team like Mooresville extra possessions because they’re going to take advantage of it and they did,” Woelfle said. “If we take care of the basketball, they don’t get momentum and smell the blood.”

North (2-4) was on fire  to start the contest. The Patriots made 4 of 5 3-point attempts in the first quarter. Keshaun Sandifer also found space to get to the basket. Sandifer and Charlie Aimone each had six points in the opening quarter as the spirted Patriots held sway.

North was the alpha dog in the opening period, but Mooresville’s revealed its bark and bite in the second quarter.

Mooresville’s defensive pressure ticked up a notch and North didn’t respond. The Patriots had three turnovers in the first two minutes of the period. It gave Mooresville the fuel it needed for an 11-1 run before North was able to convert a field goal in the period. North would make just two in the period and trailed 32-23 at the break.

“It was our mistakes and those are things we need to get corrected,” Woelfle said. “We had too many mental mistakes, too many unforced errors. We had [18] turnovers and four assists and you’re never going to win that way.”

The third quarter was a  microcosm of the first half. Some fleeting moments of light from the Patriots, but the inability to sustain it. Mooresville got a big lift from its bench, notably Chase Smith, who scored six points in a row. The Pioneers led by 20 by quarter’s end.

North next plays Shakamak in the Pizza Hut Classic on Thursday.

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