BOYS BB: No. 4 Kats host Vikings in home finale; Taylor hosts Alex; Eastern visits Carroll

Feb. 23—Kokomo's red-hot boys basketball team finishes the regular season tonight with an old rival, now coached by another old rival.

The Class 4A No. 4-ranked Wildkats (21-3) host Huntington North (7-15) at Memorial Gym in the final home game for Kokomo's seniors. Former Peru coach Eric Thompson, who led the Bengal Tigers to back-to-back sectional titles the previous two winters, is in his first year with the Vikings.

The Kats are riding a 12-game winning streak and have won the last two meetings in their annual game against a former North Central Conference rival. Kokomo won 72-36 at Huntington in last year's regular-season closer.

"They're really well coached. Obviously Coach Thompson does a great job with all his teams," Peckinpaugh said. Thompson took the HN job after former coach Craig Teagle stepped down. "We know they're going to be well-prepared and tough and physical and do a really good job defensively. Offensively, they're going to be sound.

"I had a lot of respect for Coach Teagle. Then they got another guy who is very, very similar to him, very similar styles of play, both hard-nosed, I would say do things the right way. And I think they're buying into Coach [Thompson], they're playing a lot better than they were earlier in the season, so I'm looking forward to a good test for us heading into sectional."

The Wildkats are picking up steam similarly to last season, when they took a 12-game happy streak into sectional action.

"Two different styles of teams," Peckinpaugh said comparing last season's team with this team. "I think this team can score the ball a little bit better than last year's team and I think this team is getting close to where we were last year defensively. I think we were so good last year because our defense was amazing. Overall, we're not there yet but we're getting closer. We think this team has a shot, we just have to make sure we stay focused and take it one game at a time."

This Kokomo team is led by the senior frontcourt tandem of Flory Bidunga and Karson Rogers.

Mr. Basketball candidate Bidunga heads into his home finale averaging 18.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game. Rogers has had a breakout season, averaging 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. They both excel at passing and each averages 3.3 assists per game.

Junior guard Zion Bellamy leads the team at 3.5 assists and is third at 9.1 points. Guard Korbyn Hammel adds 6.4 points and 2.5 assists.

"I think guys are playing together," Peckinpaugh said. "We're doing a good job sharing the ball. Defensively we've had some really, really good games where we're dialed into our scout and defensive philosophy. I think we've had a lot of growth in leadership and maturity. It's been kind of nice this month to see guys kind of stepping into their roles."

Kokomo's guard play has been making gains.

"I think our guards are getting more comfortable with their roles and when they can take their shots and figuring out how to get everybody involved since they're the ones with the ball in their hands most of the possessions, and coming into their own as they progress through the season."

The Vikings are largely rebuilt after graduating five of the eight players in their rotation last season. Six-foot senior guard Zane Nash leads Huntington at 15.5 points and adds 5.3 rebounds and 4 assists. Six-foot junior guard Ethan Zahn adds 11.7 points and 2.8 assists, while 6-2 sophomore forward Dalton Husband is making an impact with 9.8 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds.

Between the JV and varsity games, before the senior night festivities, there will be a presentation where officials from the McDonald's All-Star Game will present Bidunga with his McDonald's All-Star Game jersey.


The Comets (11-11) and Cougars (14-8) meet in the Hoosier Heartland Conference finale. Carroll is 5-2 in league play and trying to protect itself in sole possession of second place, half a game ahead of Taylor, while Eastern is 2-5.

The Cougars rolled to a 67-39 win at Greentown last year, also the regular-season finale for both teams, for the Cougars' third straight win in the series.


Alexandria (13-9) carries a five-game winning streak into Taylor (14-8), which has lost four straight.

The Titans enter with balanced scoring as five players average 7.8 points per game or more. Javionne Harris leads, almost averaging a double-double with 12.2 points and 9.4 rebounds. Drey McClatchey adds 11.6 points and Connor Binnion 9.8.

In last year's regular-season finale, the Titans blasted Alex 74-43 for their second straight win in the series.


Peru and Maconaquah both have important Three Rivers Conference games to finish the regular season tonight.

Wabash (16-5, 7-1 TRC) plays at Peru (12-9, 5-3) and has a chance to tie Manchester atop the league if the Apaches win. The Apaches have won eight straight games since losing the league clash against Manchester.

The Braves (15-5, 6-2) are third in the league and are at Rochester (9-11, 4-4). The Braves could move into a tie for second place if they win and Wabash loses.

Another TRC squad, Cass (8-12), finishes with a non-conference game at Lafayette Central Catholic (13-8). Tri-Central (12-9) also finishes with a non-conference game, heading to Northfield (5-16).