Sweet victory for Vikings
Published 8:11 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2006
By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The Niles varsity basketball team ended Valentine's Day on a very good note.
The Vikes defeated visiting Sturgis, 70-63, improving their overall record to 9-8 on the season.
The Trojans took only one small lead the entire game, going ahead of Niles 9-8 in the first period.
A basket by Nick Etzcorn on the Vikings' next possession bumped them back in the lead for good.
Sturgis used a strong three-point shooting effort in the first half to stay with Niles throughout the game.
In the first period, the Trojans nailed four three-pointers, two from Jeff Kolzow and two from Bo Felt.
Niles connected on one three-pointer from sophomore Brandon Thomas, who also scored the Vikes' last bucket of the period on an assist from Nate Parks to give them a 17-12 led.
In the second period, after the Trojans trailed by only one point, 19-18, Thomas hit another three, followed by one from Ben Hansen and a bucket by Etzcorn to put Niles up by seven, 27-20, with 3:35 left in the half.
After a bucket and a pair of free throws by Sturgis' Dustin Cox, Hansen went on to score four additional points for Niles and Tom Robson added two as the Vikes entered halftime with a 33-27 advantage.
After another close period, a last second bucket by Etzcorn on an assist from Thomas gave the Vikes a 49-43 lead entering the final period of play.
The game could have gone either way in the final quarter of the evening. Sturgis stayed within striking distance through most of the fourth - that is until Robson decided enough was enough.
In the final two minutes of the game, Robson came through for Niles, making eight points, which included two three-pointers.
Parks also came through big for the Vikes in the final 30 seconds of the game.
Parks went 3-for-4 at the free throw line, then grabbing his own rebound from his missed free throw to add another two points to the score, sealing the victory for Niles.
Thomas was the leading scorer for the Vikes, racking in 25 points. Etzcorn had 16, Robson had 12 and Hansen added nine.
For the Trojans, Cox led with 22 points, Felt had 17 and Kolzow ended with 13.
Niles will host Benton Harbor on Friday night (which is Homecoming night) in hopes of grabbing a huge win over the Tigers.
Benton Harbor was defeated by St. Joseph Tuesday evening, 62-60.
Niles JV basketball team was also victorious over Sturgis Tuesday, 72-42.
The Vikes had 13 out of 15 players score on the night, with the team being led by Paul Dreher with 14 points. Zach Bloss had 12 points, Demetrius Phillips had 10 and Matt Hudson added nine for Niles.