Niles after title tonight
Published 8:47 am Wednesday, November 24, 2004
By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Tonight Niles will try to do what it could not last season - advance to the state quarterfinals.
For the third straight year, the Vikings have a shot at a regional championship when they take on Otsego (23-1) at Battle Creek Harper Creek at 7 p.m.
Last year, Niles made it to the regional final only to lose to Gull Lake. In 2002, the Vikings won the regional championship, but fell in the quarterfinals to Byron Cecnter.
The quarterfinals is the furthest Niles has ever advanced in the post-season, reaching the round of eight in 1990, 1997 and 1998.
Niles made it to this year's regional final by overcoming a 12-point first quarter deficit to beat Marshall Monday night. The Vikings limited the Redskins to four points in the fourth period and outscored Marshall by 23 points in the final three quarters to claim victory.
Otsego beat Sturgis easily with the help of a 10-0 run to start the game. The Bulldogs beat Sturgis 55-33, and were led by Charity Knight's 19 points.
One of the keys to victory for Niles on Monday was the shooting of Brandie Radde. She connected on 7-of-10 shots, all in the first three quarters, to lead the Vikings back from behind.
Radde's 3-pointer with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter gave Niles the lead for good. Her 19 point performance came two games after she hit for 17 in the district semifinals against Lakeshore.
Both Radde and Niles head coach Jim Arnold said it was one of her best games since coming back from an ankle injury a month ago. Radde said she's finally feeling no more pain in the left ankle and is close to completely healthy.
The Vikings had another bum leg on their hands on Monday when Sarah Dreher rolled her right ankle mid-way through the first quarter. She had to leave the game, and Arnold said he didn't know if she would return at first.
But she recovered quickly and came back to score 19 points in the final three quarters, eight in the fourth, to share leading-scorer honors with Radde.
Otsego won the Wolverine Conference championship this year.
Tonight's game will be broadcast live on the radio on WNIL 1290 AM.