Vikes shut down St. Joe

Published 1:44 am Wednesday, September 15, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Niles varsity girls' basketball team wasn't struggling in the first half against St. Joseph, but it didn't have the double-digit lead that its been accustomed to this season.
But the familiar formula of Brandie Radde and Sarah Dreher, with a little Amber Peters mixed in, helped the Vikings go up big in the second half and coast to a 55-37 victory on the road.
St. Joseph enjoyed a one-point lead early in the first quarter before Niles took a four-point lead into the second. The Vikings pushed their lead to seven at halftime, but head coach Jim Arnold wasn't satisfied with his team's play.
At halftime, Arnold emphasized to the Vikings that they needed to apply more defensive pressure to separate themselves from the Bears.
Niles' determination showed. The Vikings held St. Joseph to 12 points on four field goals in the second half.
In the first half, the Bears' Rebecca Ziebart hit three big 3-pointers to help keep St. Joseph close. Arnold said he told his team to focus on stopping her and all the Bears' shooters in the second half, which they did.
The Vikings held Ziebart scoreless in the second half after scoring nine in the first. Niles worked to shut down most of the Bears' offense after halftime.
Offensively, Radde provided the spark for Niles as she has all year. She finished with 22 points, including three 3-pointers.
While Radde helped the Vikings on the perimeter, Dreher aided Niles on the inside. Dreher finished with 13 points and her fourth double-double of the season. She has notched a double-double in each of the Vikings' games this year.
One play late in the second quarter demonstrated what the duo of Dreher and Radde does for Niles' team.
After hitting one of her nine field goals, Radde stole the inbounds pass, then found Dreher beneath the basket on a no-look pass. Dreher was fouled, but made the bucket and the following free throw to push Niles' lead close to 20.
Amber Peters helped fuel the third quarter run, cutting to the basket and getting open looks. Peters scored seven of her nine points in the third period.
The victory keeps Niles undefeated on the season. The Vikings also ran their conference record to 3-0. All four wins this season have come by double-digits.
In the junior varsity game, Niles won 36-30 over St. Joseph. The Vikings were led by Ashley Pingel with 10 points.
Niles' freshmen also won Tuesday, beating the Bears 41-19.
Niles plays again Thursday when it takes on Paw Paw at home. The freshmen tip off at 4:30 p.m., followed immediately by the junior varsity, then the varsity teams.