Tough test for Vikings tonight in Battle Creek
By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Tonight begins a string of five straight difficult tests for the Niles varsity basketball team, with tonight's being possibly the most challenging.
The Vikings travel to the Battle Creek Central Fieldhouse today to take on Lansing Everett at 6 p.m. in the first game of the Battle Creek Central Holiday Tournament.
Everett, which is sure to be among the Top 10 in Class A when the first set of rankings come out, was picked by the Lansing State Journal as the top team in its coverage area.
A big reason the Everett Vikings are so highly respected is the presence of three possible NCAA Division 1 prospects. Goran Suton, a 6-10 senior center, has already committed to Michigan State. Senior forward Derrick Nelson and junior guard Clyde McKinney also have Division 1 possibilities.
McKinney scored 16 points in Everett's 98-53 win over Niles in last year's tournament. Suton and Nelson added nine and five points, respectively.
Niles beat Bridgeport 76-61 in its second game of last year's tournament.
The Vikings return to Battle Creek Tuesday to take on Jackson, another strong opponent, in this year's tournament.
After this week's back-to-back games in Battle Creek, Niles hosts St. Joseph on Tuesday, Jan. 6, and then travels to Benton Harbor on Friday, Jan. 9.
The Vikings then take on two teams from Indiana the next week, travelling to South Bend Washington on Tuesday and hosting Penn on Wednesday.
Niles is currently 1-1 after losing its season opener to Lakeshore and beating Battle Creek Harper Creek on the road.
The Vikings have three players averaging double figures in scoring with senior Marcus Lawshea leading the way at 13.5 points per game. Senior forward Brian Ketchum is averaging 11 points per game. Sophomore point guard Nate Parks, son of head coach Denny Parks, is averaging 10 points and seven assists in his first year on the varsity squad.
Seniors John Kessick and Karyce Pulliam are also contributing nine and 7.5 points per game, respectively.
Also competing tonight at the Battle Creek Central Holiday Tournament are the host Bearcats and Jackson in the second game, which should start at approximately 8 p.m.
Battle Creek Central will take on Lansing Everett Tuesday night in the second game.