Vikings swept by LancersPublished 11:04pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Niles Vikings were swept in a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division basketball doubleheader Tuesday night against visiting Lakeshore.
Coach Pat Touhey’s girls squad opened the evening with a gritty defensive performance against the Lancers, only to fall short, 31-25. In the second game, Niles played Lakeshore to a near standoff through three quarters, before dropping a 55-45 decision.
After losing to Lakeshore by 41 points last month in Stevensville, the Lady Vikings flexed their defensive muscles from the outset Tuesday night and battled the more experienced Lancers down to the final minute of the contest.
Niles held Lakeshore to just two field goals during the first two quarters and a 3-point basket by freshman Elyse Zimmerman staked the Lady Vikings to a 15-13 lead at halftime.
The only real defensive lapse by the youth-laden Lady Vikings came early in the third quarter when the Lancers scored 10 unanswered points to seize a lead they would not relinquish.
Niles did hold Lakeshore without a point over the final five minutes of the third stanza, however, and seven straight points by the Lady Vikings — including a clutch triple by sophomore Jaiden Rolan — pulled the host squad to within a single point, 23-22, heading into the final eight minutes.
And then the roof caved in.
Niles misfired on its first nine floor shots to open the fourth quarter and Lakeshore’s run of seven straight points sealed the fate of the Lady Vikings.
“I believe that our defense tonight took Lakeshore completely out of everything that they can do,” Niles coach Pat Touhey said. “There was hard denial on the wing, hard denial on the elbow and they couldn’t reverse the basketball because we were denying that elbow pass.
“We did a great job of switching and talking. We did a great job on the help side and a great job of boxing out, getting physical and getting after the basketball.
“For a bunch of freshmen, they weren’t intimidated tonight. They wanted that win tonight and they were not going to let Lakeshore out-physical them or intimidate them. That was a big lesson and they passed with flying colors.”
Zimmerman scored a team-high seven points for Niles. Freshman Jazmin Brann added six points and a team-high nine rebounds, but the Lady Vikings (0-16) shot an ice-cold 23.3 percent from the field (10 of 43).
“We just cannot seem to put the ball in the basket,” Touhey added. “It’s who we are, but it’s unfortunate because tonight, defensively, these kids did everything they could have done to get themselves a victory. We got some good looks, but we are not very confident in our shooting and that’s hurting us.”
Lakeshore got a game-high 12 points from senior Cameron Tyler, but the Lancers shot an even chillier 18.2 percent afield (8 of 44).
In the nightcap, Lakeshore took full advantage of a decided size-advantage and dominated the paint area throughout the game.
Seniors Michael Welch (6-foot-7) and Keith Brushwyler (6-foot-6) combined for 36 of the Lancers’ 55 points, and all but three of those tallies came from close range.
“We really tried to be physical, but we thought their post guys got away with a lot of stuff that works in prison, maybe,” quipped Niles coach Todd Pawielski. “They’re very well-coached and they have a nice team. We did nice job of contesting shots, but we still gave up a lot of points from three feet. An awful lot of that has to do with Lakeshore. They’re pretty solid down there.”
Lakeshore never trailed at any point in the contest, but the Vikings kept things close until the midway point of the second quarter. At that point, the Lancers ran off 10 straight points from the inside the painted area and led, 30-19 at halftime.
A 3-point basket by junior Tate Brawley ignited a 9-2 scoring run by Niles to close out the third quarter, and the Vikins trailed, 41-35 heading into the final eight minutes.
Niles (3-11) missed its first five floor shots to open the fourth quarter and Lakeshore continued to dominate from point-blank range to escape with the victory.
“Tonight was one of those nights where we had a lot more space underneath,” Lakeshore coach Sean Schroeder said. “We wanted to go inside early.
“I thought, especially in the second half, Niles played really hard. Our kids responded. We played well in spurts, but we’re just not consistent yet.”
Pawielski was not displeased by the effort put forth by his club.
“I thought we didn’t make the extra pass tonight and that was disappointing from an offensive standpoint,” he said. “I thought we had some shooters open and we often went one dribble too far with the basketball.
“Overall, it was a real nice effort by our kids tonight. I thought we played hard and we gave ourselves a chance.”
Senior Alec Brown led Niles with 15 points, while Brawley chipped in with 13 points. The Vikings shot 30.8 percent from the field (16 of 52) and committed just 13 turnovers.
Welch led all scorers with 21 points and Burshwyler added 15 points for the Lancers. Lakeshore shot a crisp 58.8 percent afield (20 of 34).
Carley Dubbert 8, Cameron Tyler 12, Rachel Clem 2, Megan Hiler 4, McKenzie Clem 3, Madeleine Williams 0, Alexandria Miller 2. Totals: 8 12-23 31
Khalilah Abdullah 3, Elyse Zimmerman 7, Maya Brookins 0, Kylee Myer 0, Jazmin Brann 6, Jaiden Rolan 5, Libby Moody 4, Antonia Palmer 0. Totals: 10 2-7 26
Lakeshore 7 13 23 31
Niles 5 15 22 25
3-point goals: Lakeshore 2 (Tyler 2), Niles 3 (Zimmerman, Moody, Rolan). Team fouls (fouled out): Lakeshore 12 (none), Niles 22 (Zimmerman). Niles record: Niles 0-16
Harold Wiggins 15, Elliot Lemon 0, Michael Welch 21, Mitchell Meyer 2, Keith Brushwyler 15, James Gathright 2, Mikey Rivette 0, Alex Blematl 0, Cooper Jennings 0. Totals: 20 14-19 55
Tate Brawley 13, Cole Clemens 0, Alec Brown 15, Mitch Dehn 2, Anthony Bice 3, Gabe Stokes 4, Gevanta Nichols 0, Matt Miller 2, Jesse Jordan 2, David Haynes 0, Connor Glick 4. Totals: 16 13-9 45
Lakeshore 15 20 41 55
Niles 8 19 35 45
3-point goals: Lakeshore 1 (Welch), Niles 4 (Brawley 2, Brown, Bice). Team fouls (fouled out): Lakeshore 11 (None), Niles 18 (None). Rebounds: Lakeshore 27, Niles 28. Turnovers: Lakeshore 14, Niles 13. Lakeshore 15-0, Niles record: 3-11