COLUMBIA CITY — Former Whitko head coach Rob Irwin tried out his third team against Eagle head coach Chris Benedict Tuesday at Columbia City Tuesday. After taking on the Eagles with Carroll, Whitko and now Huntington North, Irwin fell just short of his first win against Benedict since 2001.
Irwin’s only two wins over Columbia City as Whitko’s play-caller came in 2008 and 2009, when Benedict was coaching at Valparaiso.
Though Irwin was hoping for the win, he holds no animosity against Benedict.
“It’s fun coaching against one of your best friends,” Irwin said. “This is the closest I’ve been to beating him for awhile.” Huntington North held as much as an eight-point lead over Columbia City. “It doesn’t matter what team he’s got, Rob is going to put his team on the floor and they’re going to play hard,” Benedict said. “It’s hard coaching games like this. Rob is a dear friend of mine. I hope he wins every game — except for this one.”
Columbia City trailed Huntington North 17-14 as the first quarter was coming to a close, but Viking Noah Reed extended the lead with a 3/4-court shot at the buzzer to extend the lead to six.
The teams played an evenly matched second period, as both scored 13 points. Columbia City’s Daniel Woll, who led the game with 31 points, scored nine in the second quarter — five from the free-throw line.
Woll finished the game shooting 15-of-17 from the charity stripe.
The Eagles faced a 33-27 deficit going into the locker room at halftime.
Columbia City looked like a completely different team after the halftime break, outscoring Huntington by 11 points and taking control of the game.
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