Benton Harbor defeats Niles 74-60 in Big 16 action Friday

Published 10:21 am Saturday, December 17, 2005

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
BENTON HARBOR - It appeared for a half that Niles' varsity basketball team may have actually walked out of Benton Harbor's gym with a victory Friday evening.
But by the end, the Tigers posted a 74-60 win in Big 16 action.
The Vikings, now 2-2 on the season, will return to action on Monday night when they travel to Penn High School. Tip-off time is set for 6:30 p.m.
Benton Harbor got the game off to a quick start, going ahead 7-0 just minutes into the game. It seemed it was going to be a typical game for the Tigers - they take a big lead and never look back - but Niles wasn't going to let that happen, not during this game anyway.
Sophomore Brandon Thomas, who racked in 25 points on the night, opened the scoring for the Vikes, making a bucket and a three-pointer to cut Benton Harbor's lead to four, 9-5.
A basket by Nick Etzcorn, who led Niles with 27 points and 10 rebounds, cut the lead to two points, 9-7 with 3:36 showing on the clock.
Benton Harbor extended the lead to 12-8, but a free throw and a bucket from Thomas and two baskets from Etzcorn put the Vikes ahead of the Tigers, 16-14 with :52 remaining in the period.
Devino Williams, who led the Tigers in scoring with 29 points, went 1-for-1 on the line with seconds remaining, to bring the first quarter score to 16-15 in favor of Niles.
In the second, Thomas put the Vikes back up by three when he went 2-for-2 at the line.
Niles held on to a one point lead for the next four posessions, but baskets from Etzcorn and Thomas gave the Vikings a 25-19 advantage.
Although Niles held onto the lead for most of the period, the advantage would slowly disappear as time wound down in the first half.
The Tigers closed the gap in the final minutes of the second. Williams nailed a three that cut the lead to one point, 32-31, and Kalyn Meeks' bucket lifted Benton Harbor past Niles, 33-32.
Two buckets from Landis Threatt gave the Tigers a 37-34 lead at halftime. Unfortunately, that's the closest the Vikings would get to the lead for the rest of the game.
Benton Harbor ended the third with a 56-48 lead before posting the final score in the fourth.
Niles only had three other players score, Nate Parks had five points, Ben Hansen had two and Tom Robson had one.
Junior Varsity game
Niles' JV basketball team also suffered a loss to Benton Harbor Friday evening, 78-52.
The Vikings went 13-of-36 on the free throw line, with most of the fouls coming in the second half.
Andre Thompson led Niles with 14 points, Bradley Thomas had 13 and Asaad Ali added 12.