Niles plays long ballPublished 11:52pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012
It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Niles boys basketball team was able to rebound from its first loss of the season to defeat visiting Berrien Springs Tuesday night 74-53.
The two teams combined for 56 turnovers, many of which were unforced according to both head coaches.
In the end, Niles was able to use its outside shooting to gun down the Shamrocks. The Vikings finished the night with 11 triples, including seven combined by Austin Parks and Myles Busby.
It was Parks’ four 3-pointers in the second half that helped Niles pull away from pesky Berrien Springs and earn its ninth victory of the season in 10 games.
Parks scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the final 16 minutes as the Vikings turned a 33-25 halftime advantage into a 21-points victory that spoiled the homecoming of Berrien Springs coach Mark Haase.
Haase, a 1986 Niles High School graduate, was pleased with his squad’s effort, but knew that turnovers and an inability to stop Niles from getting good looks from beyond the arc was the difference.
“I thought we competed very well tonight,” Haase said. “We were in the game. We came out and scored the first possession of the second half to get it down to six. But it seemed like every time we were get it back to eight or 10 they would hit a three or a two. For the most part we contested them early, but in the second half they did a much better job against our one-three-one.
“They are a great passing team. They share the ball well. They don’t take bad shots. Some of the shots they missed in the first half, now they drop in the second. Parks had a big second half. He hit four threes in the second half by himself. It’s easy to stop one shooter. It’s hard when you can put three or four guys on the floor that can shoot the basketball and that’s what they do.”
The play throughout was sloppy as both teams combined for 30 turnovers in the first half alone.
Niles got off to a slow start, missing its first three shots and turning it over four times. But the Vikings regrouped and ended up leading 13-4 before turnovers again came into play and the Shamrocks were able to take advantage of them.
After Alec Brown’s rebound basket made it 13-4 with just over two minutes left in the first half, Berrien Springs outscored the Vikings 7-4 the remainder of the period to cut the lead to 17-11.
Niles would again build up a double digit lead, this time 31-19 when Parks went coast-to-coast to score with 2:24 to go in the opening half.
The Shamrocks forced a few turnovers and pounded the ball inside to cut the lead down to eight points, 33-25, by halftime.
Behind the play of Parks, Niles opened up a 15-point lead with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter. Parks had eight of the Vikings’ 21 points in the quarter and Niles was able to take a 54-40 lead into the final stanza.
Niles outscored Berrien Springs (6-4) 20-13 in the final eight minutes to open up a more comfortable advantage.
The Vikings were led by Parks’ 24 points and four rebounds, while Busby finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and nine steals.
Brown had nine points and Logan Harpenau eight points off the bench. Irby had seven points and six rebounds.
“We have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” Niles coach Todd Pawielski said. “Twenty-five turnovers is a pretty horrific number for this group. We are lucky to have some senior guards to settle us down and get people where they need to be.
“Logan Harpenau gave us a spark off the bench tonight. Our bench guys did a nice job tonight.”
Niles now begins the second half of its season on the road Friday night against Benton Harbor. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m.
BERRIEN SPRINGS 53
Nick Little 2 0-0 5; Joey Zahrn 0 0-0 0; Zech Jenkins 4 0-1 8; Kory Martin 0 0-1 0; Jeffrey Gumbo 1 3-4 5; Demetrius Washington 2 0-0 5; Jonathon Williams 8 204 18; Tyler Shelton 2 0-0 5; Everrett Shembarger 0 0-0 0; Geoffrey Mfune 2 1-2 7. TOTALS: 21 6-12 53
Myles Busby 5 4-4 17; Matthew McLaughlin 1 0-0 3; Austin Parks 10 0-0 24; Logan Harpenau 3 0-1 8; Alec Brown 4 0-0 9; Aaron Pierce 0 0-0 0; Arias Williams 1 0-0 2; Anthoney Bice 0 0-0 0; Quintin Irby 1 5-5 7; Mitchell Dehn 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 27 9-10 74
Berrien 11 25 40 53
Niles 17 33 54 74
3-point baskets: Berrien Springs 5 (Little, Washington, Shelton, Mfune 2), Niles 11 (Busby 3, McLaughlin 1, Parks 4, Harpenau 2, Brown). Total fouls (fouled out): Berrien Springs 15 (none), Niles 16 (none). Varsity records: Berrien Springs 6-4, Niles 9-1