The Northeastern Knights traveled to Martinsville on Saturday, March 9, to face the Parke Heritage Wolves for the regional championship.

The game was a rematch of last season’s regional won by the Wolves 58-48. The Wolves returned with their team intact while the Knights have an entirely different lineup.

Both teams are known for playing hard-nosed defense and that was apparent from the opening tip. The Wolves jumped out to a 12-3 lead five minutes into game before the Knights closed the period on a 5-0 run.

Northeastern’s Tre Vanlandingham drives against Parke Heritage’s Renn Harper. Photo by Sherry Stuart

Tre Vanlandingham hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 12-12 at the 6:28 mark of the second period. A Wes Hunt field goal with 4:48 remaining in the first half gave the Knights their first lead at 16-15. The lead changed hands two other times, and was tied at 19-19, before Kyle Harpold scored on an offensive rebound to propel the Wolves to a 21-19 halftime lead.

Vanlandingham opened the third quarter with a score to tie the game at 21-21. The Wolves responded with a 10-2 run to push their lead to 31-23 with five minutes remaining in the period.

The Knights’ shots stopped falling and the Wolves pulled away.  B. T. Luce hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Wolves a 44-31 lead after three quarters, their largest of the game.

Content with their lead, the Wolves slowed the pace of the game in the final period and the Knights could never cut their deficit below 12 points before eventually losing 51-37.

The Wolves placed four players in double figures. Luce led with a game high of 13 points. Treigh Schelsky scored 12 points, Renn Harper and Carter Crum each scored 11 points.

Landon Scarrette led Northeastern with 11 points; Sam White added 10 points.

Northeastern’s Sam White scores a rebound basket against Parke Heritage. Photo by Sherry Stuart

Northeastern head coach Brent Ross said he was proud of his team. “The third quarter we did not hit shots and they did,” Ross said. “When that happens, it can also affect our defensive rotations. They got an offensive rebound and then hit back-to-back three pointers to open a lead. We also had good looks at the same time but ours did not fall.”

Ross said the three-minute stretch made all the difference.

“Once they got a lead, they are so guard oriented and they can all handle the ball they were able to really slow the game down. What the fans saw was two good defensive teams. Nothing came easy,” Ross said. “This team has nothing to be ashamed of. When the season started few people expected us to win 18 games and be back in the regional. I am proud of my players.”

It was the final game in a Northeastern basketball uniform for seniors Nolan Drake, Michael Henry III and Wes Hunt.

Parke Heritage (23-5)   12   9   23  7   51

Max Dowd 2, Carson McCalister 0, Kyle Harpold 2, Lexton McCalister 0, Harper 11, Luce 13, Schelsky 12, Crum 11, Dayton Brown 0, Logan Mathis 0, Ethan Tidwell 0, Carter Kelley 0 – Total 51

Northeastern (18-8)      7  12  12  6   37

Kaleb Moore 0, Logan Seal 2, Tre Vanlandingham 5 Scarrette 11, Michael Henry III 3, Nolan Drake 0, Wes Hunt 6, White 10, Marshall Phillips 0, Sabhyr Foust 0, Dalton Justice 0 – Total 37


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A version of this article appeared in the March 13 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Dan Harney is a sports reporter at the Western Wayne News.