Niles’ struggles continue at Dowagiac

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC -- Showing poise down the stretch, the Dowagiac varsity basketball team pulled within a game of .500 with a 67-59 Big 16 Conference West Division victory over arch rival Niles here Friday night.
Dowagiac (4-5, 1-3) withstood a strong second half charge by the Vikings, who trailed 28-23 at the intermission.
Niles (1-8, 0-4) got off to a quick start in the second half as John Kessick cut the Chieftains' lead to 28-25 just a half minute into the third quarter.
Niles made it a one-point game a couple of minutes later as Karyce Pulliam scored to make it 30-29.
The Vikings took their first lead of the game since the opening minute when Marcus Lawshea canned a 3-pointer with 4:55 to play in the third to give Niles a 32-30 lead. Dowagiac quickly responded when Davey Moran, who sat out most of the first half with two fouls, made a 3-pointer with three and a half minutes to play in the period to stake the Chieftains to a 33-32 advantage.
Niles grabbed the lead 21 seconds later, 34-33, when Pulliam scored again.
It would be the last lead the Vikings would have in the contest.
Freshman Chris Primley scored inside to give the lead back to the Chieftains with 2:45 remaining in the quarter. Richie Burling canned a 3-pointer 35 seconds later to extend the Chieftains' lead to 38-34.
Dowagiac got up by nine points in the final two minutes, but settled for a 47-40 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Dowagiac led by as many as 11 points in final eight minutes only to have Niles make one more charge late in the game.
Leading 56-45 following a Burling 3-pointer with 3:12 remaining, Niles turned up the defensive pressure and forced Dowagiac to turn the ball over.
Pulliam hit a 3-pointer with 2:27 to play to cut the Chieftains' lead to 58-54.
Dowagiac responded with a pair of Jeff Cooper free throws to make it a 60-54 contest with just under two minutes to play.
Up 61-56, Niles appeared to have connected on a long 3-pointer which would have cut the lead to two points with 1:39 remaining.
A foul on Kessick, his fifth, wiped out the score for the Vikings and gave the ball back to the Chieftains. Dowagiac scored again to make it 63-56 and on their ensuing inbounds play, the Vikings turned the ball back over to the Chieftains.
Dowagiac did not score off the turnovers, but was able to run precious seconds off the clock before giving the ball back to the Vikings.
Dowagiac used solid free throw shooting down the stretch and a backdoor cut by Cooper off a Dustin Shaffer screen with 26 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Dowagiac was 11-of-14 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter compared to 5-of-9 shooting for the Vikings.
Cooper led all scorers with 28 points. He also grabbed five rebounds. Dowagiac also got 14 points from Moran and 12 points from Burling.
Pullium scored 20 points to lead the Vikings, who also got 10 points from Jones. Dane Ford and Kessick each had five rebounds. Nate Parks had five assists and Pullium three steals.
The Niles freshman basketball team beat the buzzer Friday night in posting a 57-56 victory over host Dowagiac.
Niles trailed 19-17 after one period of play and 33-30 at halftime. The Vikings outscored Dowagiac 12-6 in the third quarter take a 42-39 lead into the final quarter. The Chieftains outscored Niles 17-15 in the final eight minutes, but came up a point short.
Jacob Messner led all scorers with 26 points. Daniel Rodts and Tony Horston both scored nine points.
Niles also won the junior varsity contest, defeating the Chieftains 68-29.
Niles outscored Dowagiac 24-6 in the opening quarter and never looked back. The Vikings led 43-16 at the intermission.
Nate Orr led the Vikings with 14 points. Terry Wade finished with 13 points.
Dowagiac….67
Niles…………59
Dowagiac: Jamere Bacon 0 0-0 0, Duane Davis 0 0-2 0, Davey Moran 5 2-4 14, Jeff Cooper 7 12-13 28, Ed Campbell 1 0-0 2, Richie Burling 2 6-6 12, Landon Reed 1 3-4 5, Chris Primley 3 0-0 6. Totals: 19 23-31 67
Niles: Karyce Pullium 8 3-3 20, Scott Quaye 0 2-4 2, Marcus Lawshea 2 0-0 6, Dane Ford 1 1-2 3, Ivery Cross 3 2-2 8, Nate Parks 2 1-1 5, Paul Wregelsworth 0 0-0 0, Lonnie Jones 3 4-10 10, Jason Rutkowske 0 0-0 0, Brian Ketchum 1 1-2 3, Nick Etzcorn 0 0-1 0, John Kessick 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 14-25 59
Dowagiac 13 15 19 20--67
Niles 12 11 17 19--59
3-point shooting: Dowagiac 6 (Moran 2, Cooper 2, Burling 2), Niles 3 (Lawshea 2, Pullium). Team fouls (fouled out): Dowagiac 20 (Primley), Niles 25 (Quaye, Ketchum). Team records: Dowagiac 4-5 (1-3 Big 16 West), Niles 1-8 (0-4)

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