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BOYS BB: Kats set for another top-10 clash; NW hosts Whitko; Taylor hosts TC

Feb. 9—Kokomo's boys basketball team hits the road this weekend for its final two road games.

Tonight, Class 4A No. 6-ranked Kokomo (17-3 overall) visits Class 4A No. 9 Richmond (18-2) for the Kats' second straight Top-10 clash. Kokomo beat Indianapolis Cathedral 91-74 last week.

Tonight is a key game in the North Central Conference. Kokomo leads the NCC at 6-0 with two games to play, Anderson is second at 5-0 and Richmond is third at 4-1. Anderson beat Richmond 50-45 last week.

Kokomo hosts Anderson on Feb. 16 for the Kats' league finale. Kokomo is chasing a second straight undefeated NCC run.

Kokomo is 2-0 against Richmond under coach John Peckinpaugh and the Red Devils simply had no answer for Kokomo center Flory Bidunga in either game. In 2022, the Kats beat the Red Devils 59-45 at Richmond and Bidunga had a monster triple-double of 32 points, 20 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. Last season, in the Kats' 72-62 win at Memorial Gym, Bidunga had 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Now a senior, Bidunga is a McDonald's All-American and a Mr. Basketball candidate. The 6-foot-9 Kat star is averaging 17.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 3.3 assists per game and shooting 81.7% from the floor. He surpassed 1,400 career points and 1,000 career rebounds in the Kats' victory over Cathedral.

Also for the Kats, 6-6 senior forward Karson Rogers is averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists and 5-8 junior guard Zion Bellamy provides 9.4 points and 3.4 assists.

Richmond's top scorers are 6-5 junior guard/forward Cedric Horton (18.6), 6-2 junior guard Mason Carpenter (13.1) and 6-4 senior guard/forward Ryder Cate (9.8).

Kokomo ranks No. 7 in the state in scoring offense with 70.4 points per game and the Kats hold opponents to 51.8. Richmond scores 63.6 and allows 43.2.

All-time, Kokomo owns a 55-42 lead in its series with Richmond.

On Saturday, Kokomo visits Lebanon (9-9). The Kats lead that series 38-23.

After this weekend, Kokomo closes the regular season with home games against Anderson, Tippecanoe Valley and Huntington North.

WHITKO AT NW

Northwestern has been up and down this season. The Tigers opened 2-0 before losing their next two games. Next, they rattled off four straight wins, but then lost three in a row.

Currently, the Tigers have put together four wins in a row to push their record to 10-5.

For Northwestern's home finale tonight, the Tigers face an even hotter team. Whitko (13-3) has won eight games in a row.

The Wildcats are led by 6-7 senior Kyler Krull, who scores 20.1 points per game.

The teams have not met in at least 35 years, but tonight marks the beginning of an annual series as Northwestern will join Whitko in the Three Rivers Conference next season.

—Northwestern visits Rossville (8-11) on Saturday.

TC AT TAYLOR

Taylor hosts Tri-Central tonight in a Hoosier Heartland Conference game with the Titans looking to bounce back from a 42-40 loss to Clinton Prairie on Saturday. That game was a battle for the HHC lead.

Taylor (14-5 overall) is in second in the conference at 5-1. Tri-Central (10-7) is 3-3 in the conference. After tonight, both teams have one conference game remaining, Taylor vs. Carroll (4-1), and TC vs. front-runner Clinton Prairie.

Taylor beat TC 70-55 last season.

—Both teams are in action Saturday. Taylor visits Class 2A No. 1 Tipton (18-1) for a clash of Sectional 39 teams. Tri-Central hosts Faith Christian (6-11).

ALSO TONIGHT

Also in the HHC, Carroll (12-6, 4-1) visits Sheridan (10-6, 3-3).

In the TRC, Peru and Cass have home games while Maconaquah is on the road. The Bengal Tigers (10-8, 4-2) host Class 2A No. 7 Manchester (16-2, 6-0), the Kings (6-11, 2-6) host North Miami (2-15, 1-7), and the Braves (12-4, 4-1) visit Southwood (4-12, 1-6) for Mac coach John Burrus' first trip back to his previous coaching stop.

Manchester leads the TRC with Wabash (5-1) and Maconaquah both one game back in the loss column.

ALSO ON SATURDAY

Western and Eastern are off tonight, but have road games on Saturday. Western (4-14) visits Peru, and Eastern (10-9) travels to Daleville (10-6).

Bryan Gaskins is the Tribune's sports editor. He may be reached at bryan.gaskins@kokomotribune.com or 765-454-8567.