Niles still looking for first victoryPublished 7:42am Saturday, January 19, 2013
A quick start Friday night by the youth-laden Niles girls basketball eventually produced the same ending.
Visiting Kalamazoo Central scored 17 unanswered points over a five-minute stretch of the opening quarter and went on to hand the Lady Vikings their 11th consecutive loss in a 56-30 Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division contest.
Niles forced three early turnovers and led briefly, 6-4, following a shot by sophomore Kylee Myer, but the taller, more athletic Maroon Giants began to flex their muscles just over three minutes into the contest and never looked back.
Featuring four players in the starting lineup listed at 5-foot-10, or taller, Kalamazoo Central dominated the paint throughout the contest.
“We definitely have some size and I thought, early-on, we clearly used it to our advantage,” Kalamazoo Central coach Dan Thornton said. “Our guards did a nice job of reading the defenders and setting up our post players with catchable passes that they were able to take inside and finish. That really gave Niles a lot of fits.”
Junior Asia Robeson (6-foot-4) and senior Perianna Burnett (6-foot-2) combined for 28 points and 25 rebounds for the Maroon Giants, while 5-foot-10 junior Aneisha Carlisle knocked down two 3-point bombs en route to a game-high 18 points.
Although his team lists only one player (Myer) at 5-foot-10, or taller, Niles coach Pat Touhey was happy with the Lady Vikings’ defensive effort.
“I thought, defensively, we put good pressure up front,” he said. “Our guards did a very good job of putting some pressure on the ball and causing some turnovers.”
Offensively, Niles struggled. The Lady Vikings shot just 21.7 percent (13 of 60), but committed just 17 turnovers.
“We were much more poised in handling the traps and the pressure (Kalamazoo) was trying to put on,” Touhey added. “I told the kids they moved the ball really well and made some nice passes to get the ball to some spots that could help us get some good looks, but we just didn’t shoot very well. That’s who we are. At this point, we’re just not very good shooters.”
Thornton sees brighter days ahead for the Lady Vikings.
“It’s clear (Niles) has a lot of talent, but it’s very young talent,” Thornton said. “There is a couple of years of mental- and physical-development differences between our team and Niles, let alone that we have a lot of size. They have a bunch of kids with solid fundamentals and in about a year, to a year and a half, from now, they’re going to be pretty good.”
KALAMAZOO CENTRAL 56
Brooklyn Washington 2, Asia Robeson 14, Aneisha Carlisle 18, Perianna Burnett 14, Annie Deering 0, Teairra Vaughn 5, Taylor Washington 3, Kendasha Jackson 0, Michaella Timmons 0, Kiera Parkman 0, Breanna Chatman 0. Totals: 21 10-17 56
Khalilah Abdullah 7, Elyse Zimmerman 4, Maya Brookins 2, Kylee Myer 2, Jazmin Brann 4, Jaiden Rolan 5, Kasia Dockery 0, Libbu Moody 6, Antonia Palmer 0. Totals: 13 1-6 30
Kalamazoo Central 21 34 42 56
Niles 8 13 18 30
3-point goals: Kalamazoo Central 4 (Carlisle 2, Vaughn, T. Washington), Niles 3 (Abdullah, Rolan, Moody). Team fouls (fouled out): Kalamazoo Central 11 (none), Niles 13 (Brann). Niles record: 0-11