Vikes outmuscle Panthers

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
South Bend (Ind.) Washington's size and Niles' lack thereof was a concern for Vikings coach prior to Tuesday's season-opener.
The mismatch, however, turned out to be nothing for concern for Niles' Nick Etzcorn
Etzcorn had his way in the paint against the taller Panthers defenders to the tune of 25 points in a 74-66 Niles' victory over a team that spanked the Vikings by 30 points last year.
Etzcorn's career-high night came on 11-of-17 shooting, a majority of which were in the paint. While his play might have caught Washington off guard, it didn't surprise Parks.
Niles passed the ball well against the Panthers and were able to get it inside almost at will. Many of the Vikings' inside baskets came after Washington defenders rotated outside to guard Niles' shooters on the outside, leaving the lane open.
The inside game didn't get going until the Vikings got hot from outside early in the contest. Niles hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, two by Lavette' Walker, which opened up the court for Etzcorn and other forwards.
Niles hit 9-of-13 shots in the first quarter and overcame six turnovers to take a 24-13 lead into the second.
The first quarter was fast-paced, with both teams hitting their first three shots, but turning the ball over four times in the first two minutes. The Panthers took an early 7-6 lead, but it was the last time they would be ahead. Niles ended the period on a 18-4 run.
Washington pushed the Vikings in the second, as Niles went cold from the floor. The Panthers went on a 10-0 run at one point, as the Vikings struggled to get shots against Washington's high-pressure defense. The spurt pulled the Panthers to within a point.
But Etzcorn had the answer, scoring six-straight points to give Niles some breathing room.
The Panthers put together another run midway through the fourth quarter to pull within six points, but Niles hit key free throws to keep the lead and preserve the victory. Point guard Nate Parks hit 6-of-6 from the line in the final period.
Parks handled the ball well all night, avoiding Washington's press and finding open players inside.
Washington's fourth quarter run was led by junior guard Jonathan Jamerson. Jamerson led all scorers with 29 points, 16 of which came in the final period. He was filling in as point guard for Brandon Johnson who sat out the game for disciplinary reasons, Johnston said.
Parks said missing Johnson may have hurt the Panthers, but Washington's coach said they just needed production from more people.
Before the season started, Parks said he was impressed with the chemistry and smarts of his team. He said that was on display Tuesday night, but he thinks the Vikings still have much room for improvement..
Washington (66) - Josh Wilder 0-8 1-2 1, John Bella 2-3 0-0 4, Chris Newman 1-3 2-2 4, Quental Weston 4-6 1-3 9, Jonathan Jamerson 11-20 5-7 29, Dion Northern 2-4 2-4 6, Chris Townsend 1-3 2-3 4, Wayne Batteast 2-5 3-4 7, Brandon Boyd 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-52 16-24 66.
Niles (74) - Nathan Orr 0-0 0-1 0, Scott Quaye 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas Robson 3-7 3-4 9, Kelby Jemison 0-2 4-4 4, Nate Parks 1-4 6-6 8, Paul Wreggelsworth 1-3 0-0 2, Nick Etzcorn 11-17 3-8 25, Peter Brandstatter 0-1 0-0 0, Lavette' Walker 5-11 2-3 14, Andrew Foster 1-1 0-0 3, Brandon Thomas 4-5 0-0 9. Totals: 27-51 18-26 74.
3-point shooting - Washington 2 (Jamerson 2); Niles 4 (Walker 2, Thomas Foster). Rebounds - Washington 34 (Batteast 13); Niles 21 (Wreggelsworth 5). Fouls (fouled out) - Washington 22 (none); Niles 22 (none). Records - Washington 0-2; Niles 1-0.