Bears’ long-range shooting dooms NilesPublished 8:25am Saturday, December 15, 2012
One stat jumped out to Niles boys basketball coach Todd Pawielski after his team’s 58-50 loss to St. Joseph on Friday.
“We had St. Joseph 7-of-13 shooting threes in the first half,” said Pawielski minutes after the game inside Niles’ locker room.
Those seven 3′s helped the Bears take a 33-26 halftime lead and St. Joseph continued to build on its lead in the second half.
“We really felt that we had to guard the 3-point line tonight,” Pawielski said. “St. Joseph does such a nice job offensively of getting a 3-point shot with the right guy shooting it in the right place. I was very disappointed of how we did not close out and guard the arc in the first half. Defensively, we did some really inexcusable things tonight and that really cost us.”
St. Joseph coach Greg Blomgren said after the game that he wants his team to make 10 shots a game beyond the arc.
“We had 12 (threes) against Kalamazoo Central up there,” said Blomgren. “That’s one our of strengths. We’ve got a lot of guys that can knock them down.”
The Bears started the second half on a 13-2 run to take a 46-28 lead with 3:55 left in the third quarter. The Vikings first basket in the second half came on a rebound field goal from Alex Brown with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter. Niles missed nine of its 12 shots in the third quarter, while St. Joseph shot 50-percent (7-for-14) from the field in the third quarter. St. Joseph, which improved to 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division, led 48-34 after three quarters.
“I think St. Joseph did a nice job of recognizing what we were doing,” Pawielski said about the third quarter. “Coach Blomgren has got those guys playing very well. We gave up too many easy baskets in the paint in the second half. But, we kind of got back into the game a little bit by taking away the arc.”
The Bears made only one 3-pointer in the second half.
Niles pulled within 54-46 with 1:48 left in the game on 1-of-2 free throws from Tate Brawley, but the Vikings couldn’t get any closer as the hosts dropped to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the SMAC West Division.
“We finally had to go to some full-court stuff (on defense),” Pawielski said about the fourth quarter. “That’s not really our game, but we had no choice.
“I still think, offensively, we continue to be our own worst enemy with shot selection and ball security. Until those issues are fixed or changed we cannot be a quality basketball team like St. Joseph.”
Alex Brown scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and grabbed six rebounds for Niles. Anthony Bice added eight points and Brawley had eight.
Jared Kuntz scored 16 points and Michael Riemland added 10 to lead St. Joseph, which played without leading scorer Tyler White, who was averaging 16.5 points a game, suffered an ankle injury last week in practice.
“We knew about (White’s injury) for a couple days,” Pawielski said. “Our message to the kids before the game was any injury is disappointing, but any team can go one game without a really good player. We told our kids that we were still going to get St. Joseph’s best effort and we did.”
ST. JOSEPH 58
Austin Sheskey 7, Jared Kuntz 16, Jalen Holmes 2, Micah Schaffer 8, Michael Riemland 10, Jovon Meridy 3, James Morris 5, Aaron Gibson 7. TOTALS: 21 8-14 58
Anthony Bice 9, Alex Brown 14, Matthew Miller 0, Mitchell Dehn 7, Tate Brawley 8, Jesse Jordan 5, Jeremy Wortham 0, Cole Clemens 2, Connor Glick 4, Gevanta Nichols 1, David Haynes 0. TOTALS: 17 8-15 50
St. Joseph 17 33 48 58
Niles 14 26 34 50
3-point goals: St. Joseph 8 (Kuntz 3, Schaffer 2, Morris, Gibson, Sheskey), Niles 8 (Brown 3, Bice 2, Dehn, Brawley, Jordan). Total fouls (fouled out): St. Joseph 14 (none), Niles 19 (none). Shooting: St. Joseph 21-of-47 for 45-percent, Niles 17-of-47 for 36-percent. Rebounding: St. Joseph 27 (Riemland 8), Niles 30 (Brown 6). Turnovers: St. Joseph 10, Niles 15