Vikings fall to Portage Central againPublished 11:18pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Portage Central delivered a high school basketball knockout of host Niles Tuesday night thanks to the 1-2 scoring punch of juniors Quae Furlow and Rodney Turner.
Furlow and Turner combined for 41 points to spearhead a dominating performance by the Mustangs at both ends of the court, en route to a 62-53 Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division victory.
The Mustangs aggressively controlled the game from start-to-finish, drawing the praise of Niles coach Todd Pawielski.
“I thought Portage Central out-toughed us tonight in just about every facet of the game,” Pawielski said. “They got to all the loose balls and they were just so physical in the paint. The game was won in the lane and Portage Central just dominated us. We kind of hung around, but I don’t think the game was ever in doubt”
Furlow and Turner teamed to score the game’s first eight points and Niles missed its first four floor shots, before catching fire.
The Vikings snapped out of their shooting funk by converting five of their final seven shots in the first quarter, with junior Tate Brawley meshing a pair of long 3-point shots to pull the Vikings to within a point, 13-12, after eight minutes.
Senior Alex Brown’s layup during the opening seconds of the second quarter staked Niles to a brief lead, before the Muistangs reeled off six straight points from close range to seize control.
Back-to-back triples by Brown and Brawley halved the Mustangs’ advantage to 28-24 during the final minute of the second quarter, but the visitors stretched their lead to seven points, 31-24, by halftime.
Niles was able to claw no close than five points throughout the second half, and trailed by as many as 18 points before both coaches emptied their respective benches.
“We just tried to put it together and play a total, team game tonight,” Portage Central coach Darryl Blasingame said. “Our focus was to share the basketball, communicate at the defensive end and help each other out. We hang our hats on being a family and working hard, and I thought we did that.”
The Mustangs made a defensive adjustment at halftime and turned up the perimter heat on Brown and Brawley in the second half. After combining for four triples during the first two quarters, neither player converted from long-range over the final two quarters.
“The team, along with my assistant coaches, made some adjustments to try to take away what we call ‘air space’ from Brawley and Brown,” Blasingame said. “They’re both very good players who can shoot it, and I thought Brown did well in the second half attacking after we took away his 3-ball.”
Brown finished with a team-high 21 points, while Brawley chipped in with 11.
Furlow, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Three Rivers, scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed six rebounds. Turner finished with 16 points and five rebounds.
“I was very impressed with Portage Central and Furlow imposed his will on us tonight,” Pawielski said.
The Vikings shot just 34 percent from the field (17 of 50). Niles committed just 11 turnovers and was outrebounded by a 33-29 margin.
PORTAGE CENTRAL 62
Rodney Turner 16, Ryan Alkhamis 2, Hunter Lassitter 9, Steffan Robinson 6, Quae Furlow 25, Matt Capasso 0, Jacob Flight 0, Jacob Allan 0, Max Ryan 4, Curtis Hinds 0, Victor Ledbetter 0, Bryce Russell 0, Payton Mills 0. Totals: 22 14-20 62
Tate Brawley 11, Cole Clemens 0, Alex Brown 21, Mitch Dehn 2, Anthony Bice 4, Gabe Stokes 2, Gevanta Nichols 2, Matt Miller 0, Jesse Jordan 0, Jeremy Wortham 7, David Haynes 3, Connor Glick 1. Totals: 17 14-19 53
Central 13 31 45 62
Niles 12 24 36 53
3-point goals: Portage Central 4 (Turner 2, Furlow, Lassitter), Niles 5 (Brawley 3, Brown, Wortham). Team fouls: Portage Central 14, Niles 14. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Portage Central 33, Niles 29. Turnovers: Portage Central 11, Niles 11. JV result: Portage Central 46, Niles 34. Records: Portage Central 9-4, 5-3 SMAC West); Niles 2-9, 2-7 SMAC West