Vikings fall to Bears in home opener

Published 3:46 pm Friday, December 7, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – In a game marred by turnovers, the St. Joseph Bears handed the host Niles Vikings a frustrating 60-39 loss at Niles High School on Friday evening.
The Vikings turned over the ball 21 of their total 32 times in the first half. It was a scrappy defensive bout as Niles forced the Bears to turn over the ball 22 times. It seemed like both teams were runaway trains at the outset. Ball control was not in good hands from the beginning.
Jordan Parks put Niles up with a 3-pointer to get things started, but St. Joe had an answer with two threes of their own, by Ben Lubbers and Kevin O'Connell.
Matt Jewell, of St. Joseph, contributed the only other basket for the Bears, who scored a mere eight points for the quarter; but it was enough for a Bear lead, because the only other score for Niles in the quarter was a field goal from Zach Pearson.
Amazingly the score stood 8-5 after the first eight minutes. The Vikings had little success in penetrating the St. Joseph interior. Brad Guinane, the Bears' 6-foot-6 giant center, was the complete package. He led both St. Joseph's interior defense and its offense, as well, with 16 tallies.
Niles scored just three points in the second stanza, two from Michael Dodd and one on a free throw from Parks.
Meanwhile, the Bears struggling against a tough Niles perimeter defensive attack, scored only 10. David Garner, Andre Thompson, Paul Dreher, Pearson, and Parks kept up the defensive pressure for Niles, but nothing would fall when the Vikings got off an occasional good shot.
Niles managed to go toe to toe with the Bears in the third quarter, as each team scored 18 points. Parks scored another trey. Thompson had four, and Seth Jordan came off the bench to give Niles three more.
Parks fouled out mid-way through the period.
It was mostly the "Brad Guinane Show" in the second half, as he dropped nine in the third quarter and five in the fourth.
Demetrius Phillips knocked down four points on his only two shots of the quarter and Dreher contributed three, but it wasn't close, as the Bears emptied their bench and posted 24 points to Niles' 13.
"We had 32 turnovers for the game, 19 in the first half. I really thought that St. Joe got most of their points off our turnovers. After the half our defense played much better," explained Niles coach Todd Pawielski." St. Joe is a terrific team, one of the best in the state in Class B. Brad Guinane is a terrific basketball player.
"I thought our defense was great; we certainly improved a lot since Tuesday night," praised Pawielski. "We pressed very well. Defensively I'm pretty pleased today."
The Vikings are back in action next Saturday when they host Dowagiac in a non-conference contest.
The freshmen and junior varsity games will begin at 2 p.m. The freshmen will play in the auxiliary gym, while the junior varsity will play in the main gym.
The varsity contest is slated to begin at 4 p.m.
Ben Lubbers 1 0-0 3; Eric Robbins 1 0-0 2; Ethan Schweir 0 0-1 0; Robert Schuler 2 1-1 5; Matt Jewell 3 4-4 12; Bernell Granderson 1 3-4 5; Kevin O'Connell 2 0-0 5; Steven Waning 1 0-0 3; Brad Guinane 6 4-5 16; Sean Guinane 4 1-2 9; Brett Virgil 0 0-0 0
Jordan Parks 21-2 7; Michael Dodd 2 2-2 6; David Garner 1 0-0 2; Seth Jordan 1 1-1 3; Andre Thompson 1 2-2 4; Andrew Brawley 0 0-0 0; Demetrius Phillips 2 2-4 6; Paul Dreher 1 1-2 3; Terrell Farrow 0 0-0 0; Zach Pearson 3 0-0 6; Asaad Ali 1 0-0 2
St. Joseph 8 10 18 24 – 60
Niles 5 3 18 13 – 39
3-point baskets: Ben Lubbers (SJ), Matt Jewell (SJ) 2, Kevin O'Connell, Steven Waning (SJ), Jordan Parks (N) 2 Team fouls: Niles 17, St. Joseph 11. Fouled out: Jordan Parks (N)