Vikings headed to Harper Creek to face Marshall

Published 8:34 am Monday, November 22, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Niles will face its toughest test of the postseason thus far tonight when the Vikings square off against Marshall in their Classs B regional semifinal at Battle Creek Harper Creek.
The Redskins (22-1) are one of the few teams in Class B with a better record than Niles (20-2). Marshall's one loss, however, came at the hands of the Vikings.
Niles beat the Redskins 52-47 at Marshall on Oct. 21. It was a back-and-forth contest that was tied with five minutes to go until the Vikings pulled away for good. Sarah Dreher led Niles in the game with 15 points.
Marshall is led by guard Jenna Williams, an all-state candidate. Williams averages 17.7 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. In the first matchup between the two teams, Niles held Williams to 10 points.
The Vikings are led by junior forward Sarah Dreher, who is averaging just more than 18 points per game.
Since that Oct. 21 game, Marshall has won eight in a row. Niles is on a 12-game winning streak. The game begins at 6 p.m.
This is the eighth straight regional appearance for the Vikings, dating back to 1997.
In the other semifinal at Harper Creek, Otsego faces Sturgis. Otsego is the Wolverine Conference champion and is 22-1. Sturgis is 12-11 and advanced to the regional by winning the Edwardsburg district tournament Friday.
Niles earned its spot in the regional tournament by coasting past St. Joseph 58-30 Friday night.
The Vikings have not faced Otsego this year, but have played Sturgis once.
Niles got one of its easiest victories of the year when they played the Trojans at home Oct. 19. The Vikings jumped out to a 23-2 lead en rout to a 37-point victory, 76-39. The game marked the return of guard Brandie Radde from an ankle injury that sidelined her for two weeks.
If the Vikings can come out of Harper Creek as regional champs, it will be the first time since 2002 they have done so. That year, Niles lost to Byron Center in the state quarterfinals.
The Vikings also advanced to the quarterfinals in 1998, 1997 and 1990, but lost each time.
Last year, Niles won its district tournament, but lost to Richland Gull Lake in the regionals.