Bear 3s thwart Vikings
By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
ST. JOSEPH -- With 36 seconds left in the second quarter, the Niles varsity basketball team was within six points of host St. Joseph Friday night.
Four minutes into the third quarter the Bears stretched their lead to 28 points and cruised the rest of the way for a 77-46 Big 16 Conference West Division victory.
The loss drops Niles to 4-14 overall and 1-7 in the West Division while St. Joseph improved to 13-5 and 5-3.
The Bears' decisive 22-0 run included five 3-pointers, less than half of their total of 11 triples on the night.
Kyle Hammond, Zachariah Krieger, Ben Knuth and Kyle Etter each hit 3-pointers in the key stretch.
Robinson led the Bears with 13 points while Krieger and Knuth each added 11.
Niles tried multiple defenses to contain the St. Joseph shooters, all to no avail.
The Vikings kept the game close in the first half by getting the ball in the hands of senior center John Kessick, who finished with 11 points, all in the first half.
The Vikings overcame an early 16-8 deficit and tied the game at 16 apiece before falling behind for good.
Nick Etzcorn came off the bench to score 10 points, all in the second half, for Niles.
The Vikings made five 3-pointers of their own. Marcus Lawshea and Karyce Pulliam each hit a pair while Jason Rutkowske made one.
St. Joseph outrebounded Niles 34-15.
The Niles junior varsity team suffered a 51-39 loss to the Bears. Tom Robson led the Vikings with nine points.
The Niles freshmen team also lost to St. Joseph, 53-32. Paul DePoy and Daniel Rodts each scored 10 for the Vikings.
Niles travels to Vicksburg Monday night for a non-conference game and then travels to Sturgis next Friday night to close the regular season with a Big 16 Conference challenge game.