Vikings back on track
Published 7:44 pm Saturday, February 11, 2006
By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
STEVENSVILLE - The Niles varsity basketball team broke its three game losing streak Friday night with a huge SMAC West Division win over host Lakeshore, 47-42.
The Vikes, who have been off since last Friday, broke away from a tie with just over two minutes to go to claim the victory, improving their conference record to 4-1.
Niles, which lead most of the game and went ahead of the Lancers by 19 points in the second quarter, found themselves in a nerve racking situtation late in the fourth.
With 3:13 left to play, Lakeshore took its first lead of the night when Joe Welch, who was held to only nine points in the game, made two free throws to bring the score to 41-39.
The Vikings quickly regained the lead when Danny Rodts nailed a three-pointer from the corner of the court to put Niles up 42-40.
Rodts' three at the 2:43 mark was the first basket made for Niles in the fourth period.
The Lancers then tied the game at 42 on a bucket from Shaine Tierney with 2:02 on the clock.
Senior Tom Robson, who was nominated as Player of the Game by WHME, quickly put Niles back in the lead when a made a bucket with 1:41 to play.
Nick Etzcorn and Nate Parks each had a chance to extend the Vikes' lead with under one minute to go when both were fouled and sent to the free throw line for a one and one.
Both players missed their first shots, giving Lakeshore another shot at a victory.
With 16 seconds on the clock and the ball in possession of the Lancers, Matt Schatz attempted an NBA- range three-pointer, which bounced off the rim and into the hands of Brandon Thomas.
Thomas was fouled with 1.7 seconds showing and went 1-for-2 at the line.
After missing his second free throw, Thomas grabbed his own rebound over four Lakeshore defenders and made the last basket of the night.
As the buzzer sounded, the entire Niles team and coaches gathered on the court and celebrated the win.
Although he came through for Niles in the end, Thomas was held to just nine points and, as coach Parks said after the game, he struggled most of the night.
At one point in the fourth period, Parks turned to one of his assistants with a confused look on his face and said, “What's wrong with him,” after Thomas missed several shots in the second half.
In the first period, Niles jumped to an early 12-7 lead and extended it to 30-18 at halftime.
Lakeshore head coach Sean Schroeder wasn't pleased with his team's performance in the first half, but thought they did much better in the second half.
Robson was the highest scorer of the night out of the two teams with 12 points.
Tierney had 10 points for Lakeshore, while Kolby Smith and Welch each added nine.
For the Vikes, Rodts added nine along with Thomas and Parks had seven.
Niles is back in action on Tuesday when it faces Sturgis at home at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, the Vikes will host Benton Harbor. Game time is also set for 7:30 p.m.
In junior varsity action, Niles was defeated by Lakeshore, 46-27. Leading scorers and freshmen results were unavailable at press time.