FOUNTAIN CITY, Ind.
The score was tied at nine late in the first quarter.
Then host Northeastern got its all-court game going.
By the end, the Knights had pulled away for the team’s sixth straight win by a count of 84-43 over Seton Catholic on Saturday night in the Larry Moore Gymnasium.
It was balance throughout the lineup for NHS, as the team led at the first three stops by counts of 16-10, 40-21 and 67-31. Seven Knights scored in the third quarter alone as visiting Seton fell to 3-4 on the season.
Northeastern put four players in double figures, led by junior Grant Esposito with 25 points, while Corey Dingwerth and Alex Smith both had 13 points and Tyler Smith added 12. Unofficially, Corey Dingwerth recorded 10 rebounds, and the three Smith brothers, Alex, Tyler and Robert, combined for 31 for the Knights.
“Our team has made big improvements. The connections between all of us on the floor have improved,” said Corey Dingwerth, the 6-7 senior post player.
“We can just distribute the ball evenly, because we all can score points on any given night,” said Esposito, a junior wing player.
Coach Brent Ross spoke of his team’s defense.
“I’m real excited about the defensive end,” Ross said. “We just tried to contest every shot, and we are averaging only 41, 42 points a game. We will win a lot of games if we continue to do that.”
For Seton, playing without seniors Adam Dolesh and Brady Gray due to suspension, no player reached double figures, but sophomores Desmond Bane and Cliff Dickman each scored nine points, while Rhett Butler and Billie Webster each scored eight.
Seton head coach Josh Jurgens was pleased with the fight of his young squad, especially freshman Webster.
“Billie had a great game, what with being put into the starting lineup,” Jurgens said.
He had high praise for Northeastern.
“They have all the pieces to win the sectional and the Tri-Eastern Conference, all of their players on the floor can score, and they are athletic and physical,” Jurgens said. “We will continue to battle and move forward through our season. Our kids always play hard and did again (Saturday).”
Seton returns to action at 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when they play University High School, from Indianapolis in Bankers Life Fieldhouse right after the Indiana Pacers play a matinee game that day.
Northeastern will host an eight-team, two-day holiday tournament this Friday and Saturday, with a field including Union County and Monroe Central. The Knights play New Washington at 12:30 p.m. Friday.