Dowagiac stops Niles hex

Published 4:11 pm Monday, December 10, 2007

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES – A 27-game losing streak went by the wayside Saturday night as visiting Dowagiac edged Niles 48-41 in girls' varsity basketball.
The Chieftains (3-0) took advantage 25 turnovers and a 21-6 advantage in made free throws to pick up the victory.
"I don't know the total history of this rivalry or this mismatch which you might want to call it," Dowagiac coach Greg Blomgren, coaching his third game in as many nights, said. "They've been so dominant in this area for so long. It's something that this senior group of girls that we have really wanted to accomplish before they left and graduated."
Niles (2-2) turned the ball over 22 times over the final three quarters and was whistled for 29 fouls compared to just 10 for the Chieftains.
Veteran Niles coach Jim Arnold, who is in his final year, declined to comment on the foul count.
Instead, Arnold said it came down to making plays.
"We weren't able to handle Dowagiac's pressure," Arnold said. "They did nothing different that we weren't expecting. We handled it in practice (Friday) and we went over everything they were going to do. We just didn't execute."
The Lady Vikings got off to a quick start as Dowagiac struggled offensively for the second straight game.
Niles led 11-1 early on, but because of early foul troubles for Courtney Teske and Baysia Cox, the Chieftains were able to cut that lead down to 21-16 by halftime.
"Their size was the biggest factor that we would have to overcome," Blomgren said. "I think we got their big people in foul trouble early which kind of helped us get back into the game with the slow start."
Niles held a 26-18 lead in the second half before Dowagiac rallied once again.
The Chieftains continued to whittle away at the Niles advantage and took its first lead with 3:52 to play on a Kristy Cooper 3-pointer.
Dowagiac would never relinquish that lead as it got back-to-back baskets from Katy Stuppy to increase its advantage to 39-35 with 2:31 to play.
From there, the Chieftains would hit seven of 10 free throws to keep Niles at bay.
"We couldn't get a stop or do anything right," Arnold said of his squad's effort in the fourth quarter. "But give credit to them. We beat them 27 times in a row. The law of averages are going to catch up with you. We were outplayed and outcoached and just couldn't get the job done."
Stuppy led all scorers with 17 points, which included her going 11-of-13 from the free throw line. Dowagiac also got 13 points and seven rebounds from Britnee Allerton. Cooper and Torie Lowe finished with eight and seven points respectively.
Lindsay Craig finished with 10 points to lead the Lady Vikings. Cox and Autumn Lucero both had seven points. Teske contributed five points and nine rebounds.
Host Niles defeated the Dowagiac freshmen and junior varsity girls' basketball teams Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Vikings picked up a 45-23 victory over the Chieftains in the freshmen contest, while the Niles junior varsity posted a 55-11 win.
Freshmen Basketball
Savannah Wolknik led all scorers with 22 points. She was 16-of-23 from the free throw line for the Lady Vikings.
Niles also got 14 points and three rebounds from Whitney Ellis. Taylor Glick chipped in with seven points, while Haley PeGan had five blocks.
JV Basketball
Alexis McIntee and Rachel Smith combined for 26 points. Smith finished with 14 points and McIntee 12 points.
Lindsey Lucero and Madie Rodts scored nine and six points respectively.
Dowagiac got five points from Marcie Ennesser and three points each from Cierra Mattix and Morgan Tanzillo.
Shardatsha Fitchett 1 1-5 3, Kristy Cooper 3 1-3 8, Britnee Allerton 5 3-6 13, Torie Lowe 1 5-8 7, Katy Stuppy 3 11-13 17, Tasia Diaz 0 0-0 0, Kayleigh Hutchings 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 21-35 48
Courtney Teske 2 1-2 5, Baysia Cox 2 3-4 7, Nichole Sly 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Touhey 2 0-0 4, Lindsay Craig 4 0-0 10, Jenna Grannell 1 1-2 3, Autumn Lucero 3 1-1 7, Alyssa Pingel 2 0-0 5, Gabbie Ezell 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 6-9 41
Dowagiac 5 11 11 21 – 48
Niles 14 7 7 13 – 41
3-point baskets: Cooper (D), Craig (N) 2, Pingel (N). Total fouls: Dowagiac 10, Niles 29. Fouled out: Teske (N)