Cougars fall in defensive battle

Chase Ketterer

SOUTH BEND — With New Prairie inching its way back, pulling within nine points of South Bend Washington with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Panthers' guard Janye Griffin made his way up the court.

He made a quick dribble to his right and fired a pass the opposite direction over to Demarcus Vaughn just past the 3-point arc on the left wing. Vaughn rose, drilled the triple and made his way back on defense.

A quick Cougars turnover ensued, and Vaughn made fast work of their defense, like he did all night in a 30-point outing. In back-to-back possessions following the 3-pointer, he hit a crossover floater and another 3-ball, this time from the left corner.

Vaughn and New Prairie point guard Chase Ketterer, who netted 17 points of his own, were the only two players to get going offensively in a low-scoring, defensive battle that went Washington's way, 50-34, in a Northern Indiana Conference game Friday night.

"(Vaughn) played really well," New Prairie coach Mike Bauer said. "But defensively, I mean, we only gave up 50 points. I'm happy with how we prepared for our first game this week and tonight's. They were two different defensive gameplans, but they excelled both nights. Unfortunately, tonight, we just couldn't get some open shots to fall."

Ketterer carried the Cougars (5-4, 1-2) all night long offensively, scoring an efficient 17 points. Typically, the offense doesn't rely on him to score; that's Braydon Flagg's job. But hectic defense played on Flagg all night forced Ketterer to take command scoring-wise.

"I usually just do what I need to help the team win," Ketterer said. "And tonight was the type of game I like. I'm a fan of teams who press and pressure the ball; it really opens the driving lanes for me."

Not only was Ketterer a force on the offensive end, he played stout defense on the Panthers' star point guard in Griffin, limiting him to just four points and one field goal made. Ketterer racked up three steals and a block as well.

"Our defense executed really well," Ketterer said. "I mean, holding them to only that may points was good for us. We just needed some better offensive possessions to help take the pressure off of our defense. That was also a good game for us to learn to just play our pace of basketball and not change up due to the other team."

Washington is 6-6 (2-2). New Prairie returns home Tuesday night for a matchup with Wheeler at 6:30.

South Bend Washington 50, New Prairie 34

Chase Ketterer had 17 points for the Cougars.

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