Chieftains have all the right moves

Published 7:40 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC – First-year Niles coach Todd Pawielski summed up the difference in the game between host Dowagiac and the Vikings in just three words.
Execution and Chris Primley were the difference in the Chieftains 60-49 non-league victory over the Vikings Tuesday night.
The win was big for the Chieftains, who hadn't defeated the Vikings in two years. It was also a big win for Dowagiac because it was a nice rebound from Friday night's upset at the hands of Vicksburg.
"Primley inside was definitely a force," Pawielski said. "Dowagiac just out-executed us tonight in every sense of the word."
The Chieftains (5-3) used a junk defense to limit the opportunities for Niles' Danny Rodts. Dowagiac used a box-and-one with Andrew Cuthbert and Oscar Wilson chasing the Vikings' top scorer all over the court.
"We prepared for it for two days," Pawielski said of the special defense. "We fully expected a box on Danny. Sometimes you get what you ask for. I thought Dowagiac really did a nice job of taking Danny out of the ballgame."
The Chieftains limited Rodts to just a pair of 3-pointers and seven total points.
Dowagiac coach Greg Blomgren was pleased with his team's defensive effort.
"Rodts was the key," Blomgren said. "He was the total focus for us against them tonight. We had seen him play against a couple of other teams, so we knew at 6-foot-6 that he is one of the best shooters in the area. He's a handful, so we weren't about to give him a look. Cuthbert and Wilson were responsible for him tonight and point-wise they did a good job on him, but more importantly, I thought we didn't give him a lot of looks."
Dowagiac outscored the Vikings in every quarter, slowly pulling away to the 11-point final margin of victory.
The Chieftains grabbed a 15-11 lead after one period and increased its advantage to 25-18 by the intermission. Dowagiac outscored Niles 10-7 in the second quarter.
Niles hung with the Chieftains in the third quarter and headed into the final eight minutes of play down just 41-33.
Dowagiac quickly increased its lead to 43-33 on a bucket by Primley just 28 seconds into the final quarter.
The Vikings cut the lead to 43-35 on a basket by Damian Bryant with seven minutes remaining in the contest.
Niles would keep the lead around 10 points until Amos Clark scored two of his game-high 21 points with 3:19 to play, which gave the Chieftains a 48-36 advantage.
The Vikings got the lead back to 10 points once, 50-40, with two minutes remaining, however, a Primley 3-point play increased Dowagiac's lead to 53-40.
From there the Chieftains made 7 out of 12 free throws in the final 1:52 to seal the victory.
Dowagiac finished the night hitting 16-of-25 attempts from the charity stripe. Niles was just 4-of-10.
The Chieftains finished the night shooting 44 percent from the field, while Niles managed just 38 percent. Dowagiac also held a 30-22 advantage in rebounds, including 12 at the offensive end of the floor.
The Chieftains finished the night with 17 turnovers. Niles had 16 miscues.
Primley finished with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Chieftains. Besides his 21 points, Clark also had five assists, two steals and three rebounds.
"You can probably say that about a lot of teams," Blomgren responded when told of Pawielski's remarks about Primley. "A lot of teams have had no answer for him this year. Amos got back to playing the way he did before the break. He was aggressive to the basket, yet he was under control. We will need him to continue to play that way."
Jamie Simpson chipped in with eight points, a game-high 12 rebounds, two assists and four steals.
Taylor Williams' 12 points led Niles. No other Niles player reached double figures. Bryant finished with eight points, while Rodts and Kurt Bourbonnais each had seven points.
Niles will play the remainder of this season without Brandon Thomas, who has left the team. Pawielski said that news became official last Thursday.
"Brandon thought it was best to discontinue playing this year and we support him," Pawielski said. "We are very thankful for his contributions over the years to Niles basketball."
Pawielski concluded his comments about Thomas by saying that the junior would be welcomed back next year if he so desired to return to the program.
Niles … 49
Dowagiac … 60
NILES 49 – Jordan Parks 0 0-0 0, Damian Bryant 4 0-1 8, Josh Moffitt 2 0-0 6, Seth Jordan 0 0-0 0, Andre Thompson 2 0-0 4, Danny Rodts 2 1-4 7, Taylor William 5 2-3 12, Demetrius Phillips 1 0-0 3, Taylor Robson 0 0-0 0, Matthew Peters 1 0-0 2, Kurt Bourbonnais 3 1-2 7. Totals: 20 4-10 49
DOWAGIAC 60 – Kevin Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Andrew Cuthbert 0 3-4 3, Ronnell Grady 0 1-2 1, Jamie Simpson 2 4-5 8, Romero Reed 0 1-2 1, Oscar Wilson 2 1-2 7, Amos Clark 7 5-9 21, Chris Primley 9 1-1 19, Shaun Bruens 0 0-0 0, Glenn Hammond 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 16-25 60
Niles 11 18 33 49
Dowagiac 15 25 41 60
3-point baskets: Moffitt (N) 2, Rodts (N) 2, Phillips (N), Wilson (D) 2, Clark (D) 2. Total fouls: Niles 21, Dowagiac 11. Fouled out: None. Records Niles x-x, Dowagiac 5-3